The period from 12 to 24 months is a continuation of the final two stages of the sensorimotor phase
Further differentiates self from objects
Casual relationship between events is apparent
Preconception phase of the preoperational phase (2 yrs to 7 yrs)
“Why” and “how” increases
Problem solving is based on what they see and hear rather than what they recall
Memory is associated with specific events- fears develop
It is important to teach parents to prepare children for new experiences
Characteristics of preoperational thought
Egocentrism: Inability to envision situations from perspectives other than one’s own
Example: If a person is positioned between the toddler and another child, the toddler, who is facing the person, will explain that both children can see the middle person’s face. The young child is unable to realize that the other person views the middle person from a different perspective, the back.
Implication: Avoid moralizing about “why” something is wrong if it requires an understanding of someone else’s feelings or opinion. Telling a child to stop hitting because hitting hurts the other person is often ineffective because to the aggressor it feels good to hit someone else. Instead emphasize that hitting is not allowed.
Transductive reasoning: Reasoning from the particular to the particular
Example: Child refuses to eat a food because something previously eaten did not taste good.
Implication: Accept child’s reasoning; offer refused food at a different time.
Global organization: Reasoning that changing any one part of the whole changes the entire whole
Example: Child refuses to sleep in room because location of bed is changed.
Implication: Accept child’s reasoning; use same bed position or introduce change slowly.
Centration: Focusing on one aspect rather than considering all possible alternatives
Example: Child refuses to eat a food because of its color, even though its taste and smell are acceptable.
Implication: Accept child’s reasoning.
Animism: Attributing lifelike qualities to inanimate objects
Example: Child scolds stairs for making child fall down.
Implication: Join child in the “scolding.” Keep frightening objects out of view.
Irreversibility: Inability to undo or reverse actions initiated physically
Example: When told to stop doing something such as talking, child is unable to think of positive activity.
Implication: State requests or instructions positively (e.g., “Be quiet.”)
Magical thinking: Believing that thoughts are all-powerful and can cause events
Examples: Child wishes someone died; then if the person dies, child feels at fault because of the “bad” thought that made the death happen.
Calling children “bad” because they did something wrong makes them feel as if they are bad.
Implications: Clarify that thoughts do not make things happen and that the child is not responsible.
Use “I” rather than “you” messages to communicate thoughts, feelings, expectations, or beliefs without imposing blame or criticism. Emphasize that the act is bad, not the child.
Inability to conserve: Inability to understand the idea that a mass can be changed in size, shape, volume, or length without losing or adding to the original mass (instead children judge what they see by the immediate perceptual clues given to them)
Example: If two lines of equal length are presented in such a way that one appears longer than the other, child will state that one line is longer even if child measures both lines with a ruler or yardstick and finds that each has the same length.
Implications: Change the most obvious perceptual clue to reorient child’s view of what is seen. For example, give medicine in a small medicine cup rather than a large cup because child will imagine that the large vessel contains more liquid. If child refuses the medicine in the small cup, pour it into a large cup, because the liquid will appear to be less in a tall, wide container.
Give a large, flat cookie rather than a thick, small one, or do the reverse with meat or cheese; child will usually eat larger size of favorite food and smaller size of less favorite food.
Body image in the toddler
Toddlers start to learn body parts
By 2 years of age they recognize gender differences
By 3 years of age their gender identity is developed
Recognize words used to describe appearance, “Pretty”, “handsome”, “big boy”
Intrusive experiences are threatening- they are unclear of body boundaries
Sexual exploration: toddlers often engage in masturbation and body exploration
Moral development is closely associated with cognitive development
Egocentric: Toddlers are unable to see things from the perspectives of others; they can only view things from their personal points of view
Punishment and obedience orientation begin with a sense that good behavior is rewarded and bad behavior is punished
Bilingual children can have early linguistic milestones in each language at the same time
At 1 year of age- children use one word sentences- “up”
At 2 years of age- children use multiword sentences by stringing 2 or 3 words together- “mama go bye-bye”, “all gone”
By 3 years of age, children put words together in simple sentences, begin to master grammatical rules