Psychological Child Development Theories

Subject: Psychology
Pages: 9
Words: 2337
Reading time:
8 min
Study level: College

The value of child development theories as they relate to child development in children ages 4 to 5

Psychosocial development theory is necessary for child development during the age of 4 to 5 years because it describes how children acquire a certain personality based on the resolution of psychosocial crises. At the age of 4 to 5 years, children are trying to resolve the psychosocial crisis of initiative versus guilt. At this stage of development, children are particularly active because they initiate various activities such as games and playing with others.

During this stage, parental control is essential so that children can perform activities that do not endanger their lives. Since children are grappling with the resolution of initiative versus guilt, the theory advises parents to encourage children to take initiatives and cautions them against instilling a sense of guilt. If parents give their children freedom and encouragement, they develop a sense of initiative, which empowers them to think, ask questions, and act appropriately, thus making them creative as they grow and develop.

On the other hand, if parents suppress the initiative abilities of children, they force them to develop a sense of guilt, which inhibits children from exploring and expanding their various initiatives. Thus, psychosocial development theory argues that parental control determines how children resolve psychosocial crises between initiative and guilt, and achievement of purpose as a virtue, which is critical in the development of appropriate personality.

Cognitive development theory is of immense value because it elucidates how children acquire knowledge and intelligence during their development. The theory asserts that cognitive development occurs due to the combination of innate characteristics and nurturing experiences that children undergo. At the ages of 4 to 5 years, children are at the preoperational stage of cognitive development where they perceive their environment best-using symbols and images because they like fantasizing.

Given that children at the ages of 4 to 5 like fantasizing and reconstructing their environment in a way that they perceive, cognitive development theory informs teachers and parents to use images and symbols for effective teaching. Moreover, children at this stage of development have primitive reasoning that requires parents and teachers to employ effective teaching styles that are in tandem with their cognitive development.

Hence, empirical studies are essential for children to shape their perceptions and cognitive capacity so that they can reason in an abstract manner. Since teaching styles and learning environments shape cognitive development among children, it means that parents and teachers need to consider employing effective teaching styles and creating a learner-friendly environment to enhance learning in children. Thus, cognitive development theory is relevant, for it elucidates how children of ages of 4 to 5 years can develop their cognitive abilities and learn best through effective teaching styles.

The psychosexual theory of development in children states that sexual drives, characterized by different erogenous zones, are factors that determine sexual development in children. At the ages of 4 to 5 years, according to psychosexual theory, children are at the phallic stage in which their genitals are erogenous zones. At the phallic stage, children begin to understand their sexuality and gender because they can differentiate boys from girls through the physical appearance of their genitals.

Since their sexual drive is in genitals, they satisfy their sexual appetite by undressing and exploring their bodies. According to psychosexual theory, boys and girls experience a different crisis at this stage. When boys realize that they are sexually similar to their fathers, they develop castration anxiety. Castration anxiety emerges when boys perceive their fathers as a threat to relationships between them and their mothers, thus forming the Oedipus complex.

Likewise, girls perceive that they are sexually similar to their mothers; hence, their mothers threaten their relationships with their fathers because they envy the penis. Thus, the Electra complex explains why girls between the ages of 4 to 5 years are more attracted to their fathers than to their mothers. Hence, psychosexual theory illustrates that boys and girls develop differently due to the difference in resolution of sexual crisis and sexual drives orientation.

The theory of moral development is beneficial as it elucidates how children acquire their morality as they grow and develop. At the ages of 4 to 5 years, children are at the pre-conventional stage of moral reasoning, according to Lawrence Kohlberg. At the pre-conventional stage, children perceive morality based on societal norms and traditions that define what is wrong and right. Through experiences of punishment and reward, children who are the ages of 4 to 5 years learn morality by obeying their parents, teachers, and elders. Thus, children obey societal norms and traditions so that they can avoid punishment and achieve certain rewards.

Punishment instills discipline to children as it makes them responsible for actions that they do and behaviors that they portray. Moreover, punishment enables children to make an appropriate decision in view of the consequences that their actions and behaviors cause. In contrast, rewarding encourages children to develop appropriate behaviors and achieve appropriate morality in society. According to moral development theory, poor punishment and rewarding strategies hamper the development of appropriate moral behavior among children. Thus, parents and teachers need to develop effective strategies of punishing and rewarding children so that they can develop their morality optimally.

The three main areas of preschool development

Physical and motor development

Children who are at the ages of preschooling have increased body weight since they grow and consume an increasing amount of calories with time, which reaches approximately 1800 calories per day at the age of 5 years. Since children at these ages are extremely active, they have strong muscles that are able to support their bodies while performing various activities such as jumping, hopping, climbing, running, and cycling.

Compared with children of 2 to 3 years, children with ages of 4 to 5 years have stronger muscles and develop bones that give them the stamina to perform various activities. Besides muscle development, children at these ages develop their head size to be approximately the same as that of adults. Thus, it means that, by the age of 5 years, the brain capacity of children reaches its maximum size. At these ages, children start to lose their deciduous teeth and obtain permanent teeth. Hence, at the ages of preschooling, increased stamina of muscles, growth of bones, expansion of head capacity, and loss of deciduous teeth are physical developments that children experience.

During preschooling ages, children progressively develop their motor and muscles that enable them to wander widely, hence require the attention of caregivers to watch them carefully. Children at this stage can walk confidently without staggering, climb stairs, seats, beds, and even trees. Moreover, children at this stage are highly active and playful, for they play varied kinds of games with their peers or even when alone.

Their ability to perform various actions such as climbing, walking, playing, and running shoes that they can coordinate their motor and muscles that support their bodies. Unlike children who are at the ages of 2 to 3 years, the children at ages of 4 to 5 years can jump over objects using their two feet, play hopping games, learn how to pedal a bicycle and can swing alone. Due to their physical strength and developed motor skills, they can dress well and go to the toilet on their own. Since their motor and muscles are developing, they need a terrific deal of exercises that enhance coordination of their activities.

Social and emotional development

Children at the ages of 4 to 5 years are adventurous for they like meeting and socializing with new friends. They perceive the world as a complex environment; thus, their peers attract them. Their relationships emanate from games that they play together, for they do not have any form of introduction that makes them understand each other. Games provide an interactive environment where children socialize as they share their different social interests.

Effective interaction is observable in instances where children share toys, take turns to play and organize themselves to play certain games. Organization of games depicts the extent of socialization that children of ages 4 to 5 years have with their peers. Unlike children with 3 years who spend most of their time with caregivers, children with 4 to 5 years spend most of their time interacting and playing with their peers because socialization is particularly relevant to them. Being with their peers, children have the freedom to fantasize and formulate games of their own such as acting as their mummies and daddies.

Besides social development, children at the ages of preschooling experience emotional development since their moods change intermittently. To fulfill their emotional satisfaction, children usually socialize with people so that they can achieve certain rewards. They depict emotional attraction towards their peers or other people by appreciation, while they abuse their peers or other people when they want to exclude them from their socializing groups.

At the ages of 4 to 5 years, children begin to gain their independence and choose friends based on emotional attraction or satisfaction that they derive from games that they play. They can offer gifts to their friends as a way of comforting them when they cry or helping them to learn how to play certain games. By the age of five years, children know how to control their emotions and comfort others.

Cognitive, language, and literacy development

At the ages of 4 to 5 years, children develop their cognitive abilities well because they can differentiate various shapes, sizes, colors, and objects. Since they are remarkably inquisitive, they name virtually everything in their environment ranging from inanimate to animate objects. Their imaginative ability makes them like listening to stories and narrating what they see happening in the social and physical environments.

When given instructions, they can follow the first few stages of a process and forget the rest because they have limited memory. They also get bored when they perform repetitive actions for they like adventuring and performing new activities that appeal to their interests. Moreover, they fully understand routine activities such as waking up, taking breakfast, going to school, and playing games.

Regarding language and literacy development, children at preschooling ages show progressive development according to ages. At the age of two years, children know about 300 vocabularies that progressively increase to about 1500 vocabularies at the age of 5 years. At the age of 3 years, children cannot construct a sentence, but as they grow and develop, they can construct a sentence of about seven words at the age of seven years.

Illegibility of their speech increases with age in that, at the age of 5 years, children know how to communicate effectively using common words, both in present and in the past tense. Although they may not be in a position to read and write a wide range of vocabulary, they can pronounce certain sounds correctly. They can also state name of their parents, friends, neighbors and various prominent cities.

The role of early childhood professional in enhancing development in children of all ages and all areas

Early childhood professional plays a significant role in ensuring that children develop optimally by employing effective teaching styles, and providing appropriate learning environment that is friendly. Since children have innate abilities that determine learning, early childhood professional usually identifies these innate abilities and nurture them appropriately through teaching so that children can develop them optimally.

Children start learning from their infancy, for they rely on their parents or caregivers when achieving knowledge and skills that are essential for their development. Given that families significantly influence how children grow and develop, early childhood professional further enhances growth and development of children by creating a learning environment that is friendly, secure, and safe. Hence, for children to learn effectively, they must be in a friendly, secure and safe environment, which guarantees both physical and emotional stability to children and thus promote learning.

In addition to creating a learning environment, early childhood professional builds strong relationships with children, thus enhance their interaction and confidence during learning. Since children learn best through social interaction, good relationships with teachers do not only promote learning but also mentorship. Under friendly learning environment, children interact effectively with teachers, who act as mentors and nurture children throughout their period of development.

Good relationships among children promote learning since harmonious interactions are helpful for they promote emotional and social welfare that is necessary for effective learning. Thus, early childhood professional creates strong relationships that have a lifelong impact on social and learning processes in children.

As children grow up, early childhood professionals identify unique attributes and abilities that children have and customize teaching styles to suit the different learning needs. Since early childhood professionals have knowledge and skills that are essential in teaching children, they utilize them appropriately in designing learning curriculum that fits different stages of development. Early childhood professional has relevant skills and knowledge, which are critical in the formulation of comprehensive learning curriculum that is inclusive as it promotes learning among all children who have diverse learning requirements.

Educational curriculum must be in tandem with changing needs of children in society due to transformation of family structure and culture in modern society. Thus, early childhood professional grapples with a challenge of handling children from single, divorced, extended, homosexual, and nuclear families under same learning environment but with different family backgrounds. Hence, early childhood professional has a considerable role of formulating educational curriculum that suits diverse needs of students and promote learning.

Moreover, early childhood professional has fundamental knowledge and skills regarding various human development theories that elucidate childhood development. With the knowledge and skills of human development theories such as social learning theory, cognitive development theory, psychosexual development theory, moral development theory, and psychosocial development theory, early childhood professionals are in a position to formulate effective teaching strategies that promote learning in a given circumstance. Thus, early childhood professionals apply human development theories when teaching children to enhance their development at all ages.