Every parent wants to understand their child’s different developmental stages, such as motor skills, language, socialization, and emotional development. How much do we know, and how should we influence our children in the early years?
The Yale University Child Development Institute tracked the growth of thousands of children to help parents set realistic expectations of their child’s development. The findings offer guidance for parents in how to train and educate their children in those first eight golden years so they grow up healthy in body and mind.
Parents should pay attention to the following issues during these vital years:
One year old: develop a feeling of security
In the first year of life, a child experiences setbacks and difficulties every day. The best thing for parents to do is to play and to be generous with their time and patience. Thus, children know that they are loved and are most precious to their parents. They will learn that everything in the world is beautiful, and they will cultivate a sense of trust and happiness in their lives.
Two years old: develop a sense of humor
The age of two is the best time to cultivate a child’s sense of humor. A sense of humor is an essential part of being charismatic and attractive to others. Humor helps the individual to move beyond the circle of self and connect with others. When others laugh, the child laughs.
At this age, parents should pay attention to expanding the child’s interests, add humorous situations, and cultivate their own sense of humor, which can also be a useful tool to eliminate tension and distress.
Three years old: foster creativity
Children’s creativity germinates when they are 3 years old. Their creativity grows out of their natural curiosity and liveliness. Their maximum potential will be realized as long as there is an appropriate environment and ample opportunity for creative play.
Allow 3-year-olds to make up stories, draw pictures, and play in the mud. Giving them plenty of encouragement is a good way to cultivate creativity. Gardening, looking after pets, and taking 3-year-olds on regular outings are all good ways of inspiring their creativity.
Four years old : rapid growth in expressive language
Four-year-olds suddenly become very talkative. Parents shouldn’t laugh when children use incorrect words; otherwise, they may develop anxiety, a stutter, or even refuse to speak.
Four years old is also the age of questioning. These children have a thousand “why’s,” partly out of the desire to learn, partly for fun, and it can also be an expression of resistance. Of course, the most important part of this is to seek knowledge, so it’s best if parents can try to satisfy their curiosity.
Five years old: the most intimate harmonious parent-child relationship
A 5-year-old child can control his own behavior and create harmonious relationships with others. At this stage, children are particularly loving toward their mothers; their favorite thing is to make mother happy. A mother’s words and attitude are the golden rule at this age; praise and recognition from mother are very important.
Six years old: the most prominent inner conflicts
Six years old may be the year of the most conflicts with their parents. At five years old, mother is the center of the world; at six years old, the child becomes the center of the world. While a child is searching for their own center point, they gradually become more mature and independent. They want to break the old balance and establish an independent kingdom of their own.
On the one hand, they love and need their mother, but on the other hand, they are eager to become independent, so they often push their mothers away.
Dad can play an important role by providing a sense of balance—this can sate a lot of stress and tension.
Seven years old: began to develop abstract thinking
Seven-year-olds tend to think of themselves as the center of the whole world, and that anything that moves is alive.
With the development of abstract thinking, a child can see both the similarities and the differences between objects. They can understand that changing the shape of the container does not change the amount it can hold; they also begin to understand the significance of numbers.
Eight years old: thinking with an active and keen mind
Eight-year-olds can start to resolve problems. They can use simple logic to reach conclusions, and perform simple deductive reasoning.
An 8-year-old increasingly recognizes the objective force of nature, and can display very keen thinking. A typical 8-year-old child is very talkative, and is capable of distinguishing fantasy from reality, another important milestone in cognitive development.
Finally, we need to remind parents and friends: children grow and develop at their own pace; their abilities will develop at the correct time, and not according to anyone’s expectations. All children grow up at their own individual pace. Every child develops differently, so there are no “will” or “should” situations. Parents should teach and guide their children accordingly, and that is what is most important.
Translated research by Mona Song and Kathy McWilliams