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The healthy newborn infant is really amazing. Within moments after birth, the newborn begins to adapt to the outside world that is completely different from the one experienced inside the uterus. All body systems are ready to function at birth. Motor development at this stage is reflexive. The newborn uses crying as its primary method of communication.
The wonders of infancy continue to unfold during these months. Growth continues to progress at a quick pace. The infant’s body systems are fairly well stabilized with breathing patterns, temperature and heart rate becoming more regular. The infant also begins to be wakeful for longer periods of time and interacting more with the environment.
Infants are developing a wide range of skills and a greater ability to use their bodies during these months. Infant seem to be busy every waking moment. They manipulate and mouth toys or objects that they are able to grasp. Infants at this age are both independent and sociable.
The infant is gearing up for two major developmental milestones – walking and talking. Both of these milestones begin around the time of the first birthday. Infants at this age are also becoming increasingly sociable and find ways to be the centre of attention and to win the approval and applause of family members. The ability to imitate improves and helps the child learn many new skills and behaviours that lie in the months ahead.
The ability to stand upright and toddle from place to place enables one year olds to gain new insight about their surroundings. They become talkers and doers, stopping only for meals and rest times. One year olds believe that everything and everyone exists for their own benefit. The one year old child declares that everything is mine and would rather imitate the play and actions of other children rather than joining in.
Impossible, demanding, and unreasonable is how parents describe a two year old, but the two year olds tantrums, inability to accept limits and strong determination are all part of normal development and rarely under the child’s control. The two year old faces many new challenges such as learning new skills and behaviours which can be overwhelming and causes them to become frustrated.
Three year olds are beginning to be more peaceful, relaxed and cooperative. Conflicts with adults are becoming fewer and less intense as the child continues to become more independent. Three year olds are willing to follow directions given by parents most of the time.
Endless amounts of energy, constant amounts of activity and chatter are the typical characteristics of the four year old. Short periods of stubbornness and arguments between the child and parent may be frequent. Four year olds continue to test limits and test parents' patience, however they do try very hard to be helpful.
Five year olds are beginning to be in more control of themselves and appear to be in a period of calmness. The five year old is constantly practicing and mastering skills in all areas of development, however the eagerness to do and explore interferes with the ability to foresee upcoming danger.
The six year old has many new challenges and adventures as their coordination improves and their size and strength increase. These challenges are often met with a mixture of enthusiasm and frustration. Six year olds have difficulty in making choices and are sometimes overwhelmed by unfamiliar situations.