Throughout lives, it is known that human undergo several changes from birth to death. For example, an infants physical body is entirely different from the physical body at the time of death 90 years later. During development, there are visible social, mental, biological, physical, cognitive and emotional changes and several theories have attempted to explain the understanding of how human beings change and grow over time (Cherry, 2016). While certain changes cuts across all people are owing to the DNA, some changes have been found to be unique to individuals. Aspects of parenting style and the environment have been known to play a significant role in influencing individuals development. To understand more about these developments, it is sometimes better to learn from parents experience with their children. A mother was interviewed on various aspects of the daughter from the time of birth to the present moment. In this case, the parent had three children aged 16, 19, and 23. For the purpose of this interview, the mother was requested to answer interview questions specifically addressed to her 19-year-old daughter. To be systematic, the questions were intentionally subdivided to apply to certain periods of the girls growth. This was to avoid in mixing up of the answers. The purpose of the subdivision was also to help learn about the girls growth and development from infancy to adolescence.
At birth, the parent describes the infant as helpless and could not do anything on her own. The child could only move a little and cry. Upon breastfeeding on the first day, the girl knew to suckle. Because there was a need to make her used to the breast, the mother had to repeatedly put it inside the babys mouth. From then on she always starts sucking the breast as soon as it was inserted in her lips. She could also suck a finger if it were inserted into her lips. It was very surprising how the baby learned in a very short time to suck the breast, yet it was something she had never done before. This showed that she was beginning to develop a mental picture of a breast as her source of food. One of the most noticeable changes in the first few months was rapid physical changes. According to the mother, the babys weight increased rapidly within the first six months rising from around 3kg to around 6kg. Not only was her weight changing but also the overall increase in body size. For example, at the age of 6 months, the babys clothes at birth had to be changed because she had grown bigger and the clothes were not fitting well. During this period, the child did not eat any food from the outside. All her food was entirely comprised breast milk. Previous studies suggest that breastfed infants grow more rapidly than those who have been fed on formula within the first 2 to 3 months of life (Bonyata, 2016). The mother used to eat and drink well to produce large quantities of milk. The mother also pointed out that the baby was giving to suckle frequently even at night. Besides contribution to faster growth, it has been found that breastfeeding also reduces morbidity as well as mortality arising from infectious diseases in childhood (WHO, 2013). One of the other changes was also babys ability to recognize changes in the environment. Just at birth, the mother pointed out that the baby had could not respond to smiles or even sound. However, before the end of the six months, the baby was able to answer to the smiles. When the mother smiled at her, the baby could smile back. Additionally, the also exhibited many other physical changes. Her eyes could follow up objects unlike the case when she was born. She could also open and close hands, grip objects, and raise her head when she was placed to lie on her tummy.
Within the six months, the mother also pointed out that the infant improved in many aspects. For example, the child began to be curious about the surrounding. Some of her first movements include rolling. When placed on the bed, the infant could roll from one side on the bed. It was also around five months after birth when the child began making sounds. However, the sounds were not words, but they sounded close to words. Still, this did not distract the mother from talking to the baby or responding to what the child said even if it was incomprehensible. At six months, the baby could support herself and sit on her own. Occasionally, the infant could laugh when someone laughed at her. This prompted the mother always to smile at the baby, tickle her to laugh, and laugh back when the baby laughs. Research on parental attitudes shows that parental warmth alongside reasonable levels of control works together to produce positive child outcomes (Grusec & Danyliuk, 2014). At the age of 3 months, the baby was bought some toys. However, the most she could do was just to grip for some time and release. It was not until the age of five months when she began manipulating the toys and any object given to her including keys. Buying toys for the kid further helped the baby to discover the world. By manipulating the toys, the child could learn many things. The decision to buy her toys helped a lot in contributing towards the cognitive development of the child.
After six months, the baby continued to exhibit different physical and social changes. Before, the child hardly recognized faces. However, after six months, the baby began to recognize faces of the immediate family members including her elder brother, father, mother and caregiver. This was proven when a new person visits the family. When the baby was handed over to a new stranger, the child could realize that she was being handled by a stranger. Her immediate response was to keep looking at the closest member of the family who she has recognized his/her face. At times, she could cry for help, and the stranger had to hand over her back to the immediate family member. As soon as she was handed back, she stopped crying. This was one of the most obvious indicator that the infant had learned her environment. This was also the moment when the baby could copy what other adults were doing. When she saw someone clapping, she could also clap her hers too. When someone, mentions her name, she could respond. Furthermore, she could sit well without support. Towards the last parts of the first year, the baby began to crawl. She crawled at the age of 10 months. Besides crawling, she could also communicate. When she was satisfied, she pushed food away. The baby could also say simple words like mama. To encourage learn more words, the mother repeatedly said many words like dada, kaka, and Baba. After some time, the baby could say these words. The mothers influence was positive, and it contributed towards the childs development. By the end of 12 months, the child was attempting to stand up. Because the mother was eager to see the baby walk, she assisted her to learn to walk. For example, she could hold her standing while training to move the legs a step at a time. This was repeated several times until the baby gained confidence and started standing. However, in the first few weeks, she could fall when she tried to walk. The mother kept on encouraging and training on how to move the legs until the baby eventually began to walk on her own unassisted. Although the child could have learned to walk on her own in the end, her mothers intervention contributed a lot in helping her to walk.
After one year, the mother pointed out that the baby tried to gain a lot of independence. Between one and three years, the child could walk and run. She could climb stairs with help. The child could play with various objects. Because the child was more active and interested in things better than the toys, the mother said she bought her things like balls, kit, and bigger toys like dolls. According to Guyton (2011), toys can be used to support learning and development among infants and toddlers. After two years, the child had learned how to kick a ball. During that period, some items were bought to help in keeping her busy and active. The mothers decision to buy her more items for the play was one way of helping the child to develop her cognitive skills. At this stage also, the child had identified her preferences well: food, clothes, and many other items. Further, the child could carry object when moving. When the mother goes shopping, she could give her wallet to carry. At some point, the mother noticed that the girl had used her marker pen to scribble some marks on the wall. Following this, she started pestering the mother to give her pens to scribble on the wall. The girl had begun using anything she gets to scribble on the wall. This prompted the mother to buy her crayons and plain papers and taught her how to scribble on the paper. While playing, the mother observed that the baby had learned to arrange objects. That was the moment she started to buy her blocks which she could arrange. I saw my child arranging objects like coins and cards in the house. Every time I gave her coins, she would start organizing them by piling one on top of another. That is why I decided to buy her blocks, the mother said during the interview. This action helped the baby in her cognitive development. This stage is consistent with the description of Piagets Pre-operation stage (Huitt, & Hummel, 2003).
At four years of age, the child had shown she could follow simple instructions. Consequently, she was taken to a preschool. That was when she could jump, skip, somersault, and engage in various plays with her fellow children in school. During that time, the mother observes that the baby could draw human and animal shapes, writes letters of the alphabet, and draw simple geometrical shapes. Upon realizing this, he mother bought her charts with letters of the alphabet, common household items, and so forth. She also bought crayons for sketching. Drawing has an impact on promoting childs communication (Ani, 2012; Ring, 2001). Therefore, the mother helped in improving the childs communication. This act not only helped on the development of motor skills but also on the cognitive skills. At grade schools, she had developed interests in various sports and music. I remember a time she requested me to buy her piano for practice, and I had to buy her, said the mother. The mothers decision was one way of contributing to the childs gross motor skills. At this time, the child had changed and relied on the mother for emotional and social needs. She could make requests, and she could also get happy or angry depending on how she was treated. The mother tried as much as possible to be supportive of her in both her emotional and social needs. Moges (2014) and Saarni (2011) pointed out that parents have a significant influence on the emotional development of their children and they suggested that parents ought to be present enough to offer the necessary emotional and social support. The child had begun being taught mathematics, science, and language in schools and the mother bought her materials which could help her learn better. This included games and videos which helped boost development of cognitive and motor skills.
One of the greatest changes occurred when the child was over ten years. Unlike her preteen years, the child began to act more like an adult. She could reason and do things on her own. Further, her physical changes started. At this stage, the mother prepared her by talking about individual variations in the body, especially menstruation. This helped the child to avoid the shocks that come with adolescence. Unlike previous times where relationships were focused on family members, the child began developing an interest in establishing relationships outside the family.
Ani, J.O. (2012). The role of drawing in promoting the childrens communication in Early Ch...
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