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Paper Topic:

Toddler Observation

Observing Toddlers

Introduction

There are a number of places where toddlers could be observed unobtrusively - at the park , the playground , the mall , and the daycare center . For the purpose of this study , however , I chose to go to the park and observe parents and their toddlers play together . This way , I could easily observe unobtrusively as people would think I was simply there to write or to write down my thoughts

Another benefit that the park has to offer is the lack of formal structures and relationships such as those found

at daycare centers . At the park , parents and toddlers could interact easily and in a relax manner . That way , the true nature of the relationship between the parents and the toddlers will be easily observed and analyzed and the understanding of the interactions between parents and children will be better understood . This then seeks to look at such a relationship by presenting direct observations from families and toddlers that visit the park in our community . I had a small notebook with me and it is where I wrote down my observations , as well as the communication that went on between the parents and the children

The toddlers that I observed were approximately between 16 to 30 months old and appeared to be pampered by care by their parents . One the toddlers belong to an Asian-American racial stock while the other one to an American family . Although the parents brought strollers with them the toddlers were walking and occasionally carried by their parents

Both of the families of the toddlers seem to belong to the middle class Notably , the second toddler belongs to a mother without a father Although the author could not exactly know whether she is a single parent or not , at least based on the observation at the park , the mother does not have any other company in visiting the park

Both toddlers appear to be enamored with their surroundings . They do notice the colors in the park and usually exclaim in delight when they see a butterfly or a bird . Apparently , they are already starting to recognize some of the features of the environment and their understanding of what they are is already being formed in the minds of the young kids

Toddler 1

The first toddler I observed is male . He displayed curiosity in his surroundings . While they were walking in the park , to the way where the family will sit down for an afternoon snack , the toddler was picking up sticks and leaves on the ground . He raised them to his eyes and offered them to his parents . The mother accepted the offer from the toddler and said that it was a leaf . She explained further that the leaf grows on the branch , which the toddler dutifully picked up and offered to her mother again . When the mother pronounced leaf ' and branch , the toddler also spoke up and attempted to pronounce the same words

A child is very much curious and interested in his surroundings . As part of his cognitive development , he notices the shapes , colors , and different sensations and wonders he encounter in his world . Even at such a young age , he is also being initiated into the process of socialization where he learns the views of his parents and of the larger society where he is located (Turner , 1991 . The child , according to Piaget 's theory actively uses his senses to explore his environment and learn about them . Through the use of his senses , he is able to discern relationships among the actions he take and the behavior of the objects that he is viewing (Turner , 1991

Both the component of nature and nurture are at work in this seemingly simple process that the child is going through . He uses his eyes , his ears , his nose , and his whole body to discover the world and learn how it works . His efforts , because they are yet insufficient , are supplemented by his parents , more particularly by his mother , who tells him the names of objects and how they are being referred to in the world

Through the explanation of the mother about the nature of the relationship between leaves and branches , the child is then able to look at the relationship of different objects in his environment albeit in an incomplete fashion . The explanation of the mother regarding the relationship of leaves and branches may not be sufficient for the child to understand the relationship because most of the knowledge of a child advances through his actions and his interpretation about the consequences of the actions he make (Franz White , 1985

Notably , the toddler was now engaging in eye-to-eye contact with his parents and occasionally asks them for what he wants . His father brought out a ball that the toddler apparently loved playing with . The father and the child started playing with the ball - they played catch , and sometimes they would race together to get the ball first . The toddler was delighted with such play with his father . Although this is the case the child would also look at his mother and he asked her to come and join them . This is consistent with the theory of Erikson , which holds that the child 's relationship with his mother is perhaps the most important one during this stage of development (Franz White , 1985

The child continued to play with the ball and when he saw other children in the park , he also went to them and offered to play the ball with them . Apparently , toddler one has good socialization skills to the point that he can mingle with other kids even when his parents are around This points to the good relationship that the child is enjoying with his parents . Both his parents encouraged him to play with other children and watched him with other kids . True enough , when the child has strong relationships with his parents , he tends to be more socially responsive and socially amiable . In accordance with Psychosocial theorists , the child is displaying good emotional and social skills because his own relationship with his parents are also good and secure . Otherwise , he might become a recluse and refuse the company of people (Charlesworth 2003

When Toddler one was playing ball with another child , there was an instance in which the other child managed to grab the ball more quickly than toddler one , so what he did was to forcibly claim the ball from his playmate and withheld it from the latter . Through this , the other child looked as if he was about to cry . It is at this moment that the mother of Toddler one intervened . The mother reasoned out firmly with the toddler in regards to sharing toys so that others would also learn how to share . The tone of the mother appeared to be negotiating instead of imposing . This display of authority on the part of the mother is remarkable and shows the secure connection between her and the child (Charlesworth , 2003

Toddler Two

When I felt that I have sufficiently observed toddler one , I decided to turn my attention to another toddler playing with a dog not very far from the first toddler . The only companion of the toddler in the park is his mother and their Labrador . I had the impression , although this is difficult to verify , that the mother was a single parent

The mother was silently looking after her child who was playing with the Labrador . Apart from the toy truck and the Frisbee that the child had there were no other toys that the mother had for the child . The mother appeared to be preoccupied with her own thoughts

When toddler was not busy with his toy truck , he would play with the Frisbee and the dogs with the strength and the capability that he has The dog seems to act as a guard to the toddler . He does not socialize with other kids very much and he appears content to play by himself . The toddler , it seems is spending most of the time by himself . Although at first glance , this may seem to be a display of autonomy , yet in closer examination of the child , he does not enjoy the benefits that interaction with other kids and with his parent brings . These circumstances will therefore bring forth negative consequences in the development of the social skills of the child and he might find it difficult to relate with other people when he grows up (Keenan , 2002

When the child attempts to play farther from his mother , the latter would come after him and tell him not to move around too much . The mother actually uses her authority over the child to forbid him from going somewhere else . Apparently , the mother wants to keep the child in her sight most of the time . This kind of attitude might breed negative feelings in the child and will contribute to the insecurity of their relationship . Since the relationship of the child with his mother is of utmost importance (Charlesworth , 2003 , then his cognitive , emotional and social development will suffer as a consequence . The child also develops a kind of mistrust in the outside world and he will not view the outside world as a safe place . Instead , he might develop the attitude that he always needs his mother to look after him . Erikson warned against this over-protectiveness of parents as it prohibits children to explore and become curious of their environment . Hence instead of developing self-confidence and self-esteem , toddler two will instead feel shame and doubt (Franz White , 1985

Toddler two cried when his mother forbade him to wander into the park When the child cried , the mother responded by being firmer and she almost shouted to toddler two to stop . Instead of stopping , however toddler cried even louder and displayed tantrums . At this time , the mother punished toddler two by spanking him three times . After several minutes , toddler two stopped crying and remained where he was instead This display of authority may become inimical to the overall development of the child over the long run as the initiative and the natural curiosity of the child will be dampened and what he will remember most will be the fear associated with the parent 's discipline (Charlesworth 2003

Toddler two recovered from the spanking after several minutes by turning his attention to the dog and his Frisbee . By distracting himself , he forgot about the incident and started to enjoy himself again . His mother , however , still issued a warning for him not to move out of her sight ' According to Erikson , if the urge of the child to explore is removed , then the result would be a lower level of self-esteem on the part of the child (Franz White , 1985

Toddler two is very much to her mother , however , he is not sufficiently developing autonomy . Through the reprimands and the stern warnings of his mother , he becomes dependent on his mother and unable to explore his environment and his surroundings . Over the course of time as he discovers the world further , he may not have sufficient curiosity and initiative to move away from the familiar and instead , he would keep in sight of whoever is looking after him

Conclusion

Observing the two toddlers was a good experience for me . It was as if the concepts and theories discussed by Piaget and Erikson were coming to life . Indeed the role of the parents is very crucial in ensuring that a child receives the appropriate socialization and training even while he is young . The strength of the attachment of a child with his parents is very important for him to develop the necessary skills for socialization and in relating with others in his environment

If the relationship of a child with his parents is good as demonstrated by the first toddler I observed , then the child will greatly benefit from it . If , however , the nature of the relationship bs on the dysfunctional , then the socialization skills of the child will be negatively affected . As he grows up , he will have struggles in relating with different kinds of people in his environment

By observing toddlers , numerous lessons can be gleaned and the nature of the relationship between child and parents will be assessed Accordingly , intervention strategies could be arrived at so that the child will not suffer needlessly . Furthermore , parents , and everyone dealing with children , should be sensitive to the different levels of development of the child as demonstrated by Piaget and Erikson . By doing so , perhaps the manner of bringing up of children will be better and over the long run , the society will become a better one because of the good rearing of the children

Reference

Charlesworth , R (2003 . Understanding Child Development : For Adults Who Work With Young Children . New York : Thomson Delmar Learning

Franz , C . E White , K . M (1985 . Individuation and attachment in personality development : Extending Erikson 's theory . Journal of Personality , 53 (2 , 224-256

Keenan , T (2002 . An Introduction to Child Development . London : Sage Publications

Turner ,

. J (1991 . Relations between Attachment , Gender , and Behavior with Peers in Preschool . Child Development , 62 (6 , 1475-1488

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