Tuesday, 2 November 2010

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Milestones in Child Conscience Development

Babies 8 - 12 months:

• Parents can start calling attention to a right response as soon as their baby begins to show signs of mobility. Parallel to mobility is mental aptitude for understanding basic instructions. Not only does a child understand, he is capable of learning how to respond appropriately. Don’t underestimate how early the skill of understanding basic instructions are developed.For example, as soon as J begins to crawl, call him, then walk to him, pick him up, take him where you want him to go and then verbally encourage him to say “Good J, you are learning to obey mommy.” This helps your child to become accustomed to your command voice and your praise voice that accompanies the right response.

• As your child becomes more mobile, and you sense he grasp the concept of coming, then require obedience. This is accompanied by encouragement such as “Good boy J, you are obeying mommy”.

Pre-toddler 12-18 months old:

• That turning point happens when your child becomes capable of knowing when she's doing something she's not supposed to, often around her first birthday. "When she looks at you with that glint in her eye and then drops the peas, you know it's time to do something." says expert Madelyn Swift. What you do, says Swift, is start teaching the concept of taking responsibility for her actions.

• 12 month old can understand basic restrictive instructions such as stop, no, do not touch, do not move. To bring meaning to these words, “stop” must mean stop, “no” must mean no, etc.

• When a pre-toddler is old enough to walk, he has the corresponding capacity to discriminate between what he can and cannot touch.

• Pre-toddlers have the capacity for some limited self-governance. When faced with the temptation of playing with Dad’s car magazines or redirecting his hands, redirecting can win out. But how do you get your pre-toddler to that point? Instead of rearranging your home, train your pre-toddler in what he can or cannot touch.

Toddler 1-2 years old:

• Toddler between 1-2 years old – most misbehavior flows is non-malicious, non-rebellious, accidental in nature, thus most of what you will be dealing with at these ages is classified as childishness and not open willful defiance.

• A child under 2 years old is acting out of his nature and not a moral sense of right and wrong. For the 1 or 1.5 year old who takes a toy from another child is simply acting his nature. However, while the child may not understand the moral weight of his wrong behavior, parents do and thus are responsible for correction. You are the child’s moral sensibility until he gains it for himself. The responsible parent will seize the toy and give it back while instructing J “You do not take Anna’s toy, that is unkind”. In this way, parents are establishing the habit of the heart by establishing the moral boundaries of his behavior through restrictions.

Pre-schooler 2-3 years old:

• Around 2 years old – willful defiance shows up in full force.

• At 3 years old, a child’s higher conscience begins to develop and is ready to receive moral explanations.

References:
Toddlerwise, Chapter 6

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