child psychologist, family system psychotherapist, teacher of infant development
Psychological peculiarities of children from one to three years old
The period of early childhood is very troublesome for parents, as it requires their undivided attention to the child. Your child actively seeks to know the world around him, he never stops to learn. He has keen interest to examine everything, to touch, to test an object in various actions. Where does this desire to learn come from and how to develop it? What conditions need to be created for this? What cognitive mental processes in this age period are most susceptible to development?
First, let’s consider the specific system of relations of the child in the social reality in which his mental development takes place. On the one hand, the child seeks to handle objects by himself; on the other hand, the way of action with an object belongs to an adult. It is very important to demonstrate all the functionality of the object to the child. At this period, your little one takes his first steps, starts grabbing the object more confidently, performing numerous actions with it, which awakens independence in him. Try to find a balance between the child’s initiative and your readiness to give him a helping hand. Encourage, praise your baby for any discoveries, albeit trivial in your opinion. Being open and spontaneous, your baby can frankly praise himself for something. You should not scold him; share his joy, because right now the foundation for self-esteem, self-respect and self-awareness is being laid, that is, the child begins to understand who he is in the eyes of other people, especially his mom and dad. The child begins to feel proud for himself, his achievements and strides for the first time.
As for the development of cognitive mental processes, perception, thinking and speech improve most of all; and other mental processes (sensation, attention, imagination, memory) are derived from them.
In addition to the development of cognitive processes, the personal sphere of your child is actively developing, too, which largely explains his behavior, the nature of interaction with the surrounding objects. The will is just beginning to form, so, if your child’s attention is captured by a game, it will be hard for him to willingly disengage himself and come to have his meal. Observing the behavior and the way of the interaction of your baby with the surrounding objects and people, you can see the first signs of the type of temperament. You must have noticed that all the children are very, very different: someone cannot sit still for a second and finish what they have begun, others, on the contrary, will scrupulously complete the started action; some kids are reasonable, consistent, others have one thought running ahead of the other. Your observations will help harmoniously build relationships with your baby, follow his nature, accept him as he is: you certainly shouldn’t make the active child sit quietly and put up the stacking rings; remember that the type of temperament is not a whim of the child, but the specifics of his nervous system. Of course, over time, with the development of a volitional component, your baby will be able to control his behavior. During this period, traits of character are being formed, and they are completely dependent on the nature of communication with loved ones during the game activity. Raising a baby, you must remember that his desires are unstable and uncontrollable; there is no subordination of motives: for a child of this age it is extremely difficult to make a choice, for example, what toys to take for a walk today. It will also be very difficult for your baby to understand your or other people’s feelings. It means he is not yet able to put himself in the others’ shoes because of egocentrism. Due to the development of the personal sphere, the baby develops the first forms of manifestation of self-consciousness: the child recognizes himself, calls himself by name and forms a primary self-esteem. But for parents, this seemingly positive side in the development of the personality of their offspring, practically turns into a notorious “three-year-old behavior crisis.”
Showing and demonstrating this behavior, the child wants to defend his “me do”, wants his close people to recognize his independence. Dear parents, arm yourself with patience and allow your child to grow, be a person and have an opinion of his own. At this age the basis of his life style is laid, that is, the child forms his attitude to life and the ways he will build it up.