Infants grow at a very rapid rate during the first one and a half years of life. Developing not only physically, but mentally, emotionally, and socially as well, this development has been evident in providing a strong background for further development in life.
Physical development refers to a baby’s increasing skill at utilizing various body parts. During development, there are three basic developmental rules:
“Rule one states, that baby’s develop in the head region first, followed by the upper body, followed by the trunk portion, and lastly the legs and feet. For example, a baby can hold up their heads first before they can grab an object with their hand.
Second rule refers to motor skills. Motor skills are the child’s ability to control movement. The two basic classifications in motor skills are large motor skills and fine motor skills. Large motor skills deal with all the large muscles, whereas fine motor skills deal with smaller muscles in the body.
The 3rd developmental rule is Brain development. As the brain develops a child responds more and more to sight and sound, which prepares them for further development (www.
At birth an infant’s vision is limited by the immaturity of the brain, beyond 7-12 inches an infant’s world is a total blur. Infant’s eyes unlike ours do not contain a fovea. A fovea is the area of the retina in which the images are focused. Their eye movements are very slow and are jerky at times.
They are able to see color but prefer the sharper contrast of black and white. Although babies can’t see small objects that are far away, infants can see large objects that are close up. “An adult’s perfect vision is estimated to be 20/20 and infant’s vision is estimated to be around 20/600” (psychology, pg 387). By the end of the first year a baby’s vision nearly matches that of a grown adult (psychology, pg 387).
Newborns actively use their senses from the time that they are born. When they are little their attention span is very limited.
In the first two months, they can only focus on an edge of an object, however by the end of the 2nd month they can scan a whole object. This is important because it shows that a baby’s attention span is very limited and they are not able to focus on an object for a long period of time (www.drkoop.com).
At the time of birth newborns can hear soft voices as well as loud voices and can also notice differences between different sounds that are made. Infants are not able to listen or hear selectively.
When babies hear speech they tend to open their eyes wider and look for the speaker. Infants love the sounds of children since their voices are higher in pitch. This is why they like to hear “baby talk” which is used by most adults all over the world (www.drkoop.com).
In the first 2 weeks after birth, infants have developed some reflexes.
Babies begin to explore their grasping reflex where they can hold tightly to an object. Many of these behaviors evolved because they are important for a child’s survival, without these a child would not be able to physically develop. The absence of reflexes in a newborn are signals of possible problems in brain development (psychology, pg 388).
Newborns are brought into this world having some sort of reflexes in order for them to adapt to their surroundings. One of the most basic reflexes is the rooting reflex. This reflex helps an infant turn its head to any object the stimulates a cheek, such as a baby bottle for feeding.
A newborn also will have a very strong grasping reflex. If you place your finger in a baby’s finger, generally anywheres from one-week old and on a baby will have a very strong grip. Motor skills also allow a baby to sit, crawl, stand, and walk. Some motor skills such as sitting up come a lot earlier than walking.
Cognitive development relates to the reasoning and logic of an infant. Jean Piaget among all researchers dedicated his life to a search for the ideas behind cognitive development.
“He was the first person to chart the journey from the simple reflexes .