Do infants between 0 and 3 years old have mental activities? In the eyes of many people, babies and toddlers are ignorant babies, let alone a psychological world. In fact, the infant stage is the period with the fastest development of human psychology. They seem to be innocent and young, and gradually develop rich psychological activities.
The more you move, the better you think
Physiologically, the brain is an important foundation for all mental activities. The brain cells of infants and young children gradually mature after birth. At the age of 2 children, the relative size and proportions of their brains are similar to those of adults. At the age of 3, his brain weight is close to that of an adult. The sensory organs of infants and young children mature rapidly. Infants and young children a few months old already have basic sense of touch, taste, sight, hearing, smell and other sensory abilities, and can perceive the size, shape, and direction of objects. Due to the maturity of the brain, they have even begun to learn and memorize, their language ability is gradually improved, and a high-level cognitive system is initially established.
The origin of human psychology is closely related to action, and action plays a key role in the process of psychological internalization. During the period of 0 to 3 years old, infants and young children are curious about their surroundings and are willing to actively explore. Through the interaction with the environment, they gradually trained more delicate body movements and developed physical abilities.
For example, from simply touching the object at first to grasping the object accurately. They also learned to walk independently, and started the initial game activities, which can promote their psychological development.
Baby personality, natural
According to Piaget’s cognitive development theory, infants and children before the age of 2 are in the stage of perception movement, and they gain experience mainly by exploring the relationship between perception and movement. During this period, they will form object permanence, even if they are separated from the perception of the object, they still believe that the object exists. Infants and young children like to play “peekaboo” games very much. When parents play “peekaboo” with their babies, they often find that even if they hide themselves, they will still use their eyes to search everywhere.
After 2 years old, infants and young children develop to the stage of pre-calculation thinking. Compared with the first stage, they started to use symbols, vocabulary, language, etc., and their thinking has improved significantly. However, their thinking is still relatively rigid, self-centered, unable to look at problems from the perspective of others, and difficult to understand the perspectives of others.
Different infants and young children have different temperament characteristics. Some infants and young children are of easy type, they are easy to adapt to the new environment, and their emotions are often positive and pleasant. Some are difficult types, they are slow to accept the new environment and cry easily. Others are slow, they always behave very quietly, depressed and negative.
For babies with the latter two temperaments, parents need to understand and tolerate, and be patient and caring in the parenting process.
Every smile is full of meaning
Babies and young children are born with basic emotional reactions. Soon after birth, they can become interested in certain things and express it by waving their hands and kicking their legs. Moreover, they have basic emotions such as smiling, crying, anxiety, etc., so they can communicate with adults to a certain extent. Before 1 year old, they will form more complex high-level emotions such as shame and guilt.
In fact, infants and young children have rich emotional development. In addition to the above emotional reactions, the most important thing is the development of emotional socialization.
Take smile as an example. At first, infants and young children will show a spontaneous smile, which is related to nerve impulses in the nervous system. After that, through observation and learning, infants and young children begin to learn to smile socially. In the early days, the social smile of infants and young children is indistinguishable. They like all people and smile when they see their faces or hear their voices. Until about 4 months old, infants and young children smile differently when they see different people, and smile more frequently at familiar people. This is the real social smile.
At the same time, infants and young children will form an attachment to the main caregiver. Infant caregivers (usually mothers) after 6 months will pay special attention. They like to be with their mothers very much and form a special emotional connection. With the establishment of parent-child attachment, infants and young children will have separation anxiety. Once separated from their mother, they will be sad, cry, pain, and refuse to be separated.
According to Ainsworth’s attachment relationship research, about 65% of infants and young children are secure attachments. They feel safe enough when their mother is there, so they don’t need to always snuggle next to their mother. When their mothers left and returned, they were easily soothed and calmed down. Approximately 20% of infants and young children are avoidant attachments. They are not nervous when their mothers leave, and they will ignore them when they come back. About 15% of infants and young children have ambivalent attachments. They tend to be upset and resist when their mothers leave, but they will be angry and refuse when their mothers return. There are also infants and young children who have disordered attachments, and they have the strongest sense of insecurity. When reuniting with their parents, there will be a series of chaotic and contradictory behaviors.
Self-concept, at 2 years old
Finally, let us understand a question: Can infants and young children recognize “self”? It can be said that people’s exploration of “self” starts very early. Studies have found that infants and young children will show self-pointing behavior in front of the mirror. They will smile at themselves in the mirror and make voices, which shows that they can recognize their physical characteristics. Infants around 1 year old can have a preliminary self-concept. At 2 years old, they can already use words to identify themselves and others, such as using words such as “you” and “I” to clearly develop self-concept.
Only by respecting the laws and characteristics of the psychological development of infants and young children can they develop naturally and harmoniously in a richer and more suitable environment.