Child Psychology Notes for BA/ BASW


Chapter 1

Concept, scope and importance of child psychology.


Child psychology is the science of dealing with the mental power or interaction between the conscious and subconscious element in a child.

  • Child psychology is one of the many branches of psychology
  • This branch focus on the mind and behavior of the child from parental development through adolescence.
  • Physically, mentally, emotionally, social development study of child

Importance of child psychology (from medical perspective)

  • To understand the child better
  • To know that some problems have a psychological origin
  • To deliver mental core in the effective and meaningful manner
  • To establish effective communication between child and the parent
  • To teach parents and children the importance of primary and preventive care.
  • To have better treatment planning and interactive with other medical disciplines.

Stages of child development

  1. Prenatal period => conception to delivery
  2. Infancy => first few weeks (0-18 month)
  3. Babyhood/ Toddlerhood => up to 2 years.
  4. Childhood
  5. Early childhood => 18 months-6 years
  6. Late childhood => 6-11 years
  7. Puberty => No exact time (based upon sexual maturity)
  8. Adolescence => 13 up to 19years

There are important stages of child growth and development & their psychological accomplishment.

Prenatal Period (conception to delivery)

  • It begins of the moment for Prenatal period is 28 weeks to 266 days.
  • 70% are vary from 36 to 40 weeks (252 to 280 days)
  • the hereditary endowment is fixed.
  • favorable and unfavorable conditions will effect to both physical and psychological traits.
  • gender of the newly individual is fixed at the time of conception.
  • proportionally greater growth and development microscopically small cell to 21 inches length and 2 kgs weight–>increase eleven million times.

Infancy (0-18 days/ 2 weeks)

  • Characterized by dependency
  • Child start to elicit responses in family members.
  • Reciprocal relationship with environment is established
  • Child’s emotional & mental development is linked to the quality of care & support he/ she receives.
  • Psychological accomplishment

i) Sense of basic Trust

ii) Sense of Attachment

Early childhood (18 months to 6 years)

  • period of socialization & identification
  • rapid physical & mental maturation gross, motor skills become better coordinated. discovers & learn to achieve.
  • socialization process actively takes place. children are helped to become responsible members of society

Late Childhood (6-11 years old)

  • peers become extra sources of identification & pressure to achieve
  • children become more skillful shows greater sense of independence & motivation to achieve.

Adolescence (13-19 years)

  • Gradual independence
  • neither child nor adult

Early Adolescence (13-15 years)

  • period of rapid physical growth & sexual maturational
  • major changes in body appearance often results to insecurity, emotional trouble, self consciousness.

Late Adolescence (15-19 years)

  • move family to peer groups
  • emotionally unstable as well as more creative age.

Hazards of Prenatal Periods

There are Two types of Hazards:

i) Physical hazards

ii) Psychological hazards.



Physical hazards : There are Three major sub-divisions:

  • Period of the zygote

=> Starvation

=> Lack of uterine preparation

=> Implantation in the wrong place.

  • Period of the Embryo

=> miscarriages

=> Developmental Irregularities.

  • Period of the Fetus


=> Prematurity

=> Complications of Deliver

=> Developmental Irregularities


Conditions influencing physical Hazards:

  1. Maternal and nutrition
  2. Maternal age
  3. Certain kind of works
  4. Multiple births
  5. Pre-maturity
  6. Chromosomal abnormality.

Psychological hazards:

Traditional beliefs.

Maternal stress.

* Unfavorable attitudes on the part of significant people

  • not wanting child
  • not wanting child at this time
  • preference for a child of a particular sex.
  • dream child concept
  • not wanting children of multiple births
  • wanting to have miscarriage or an abortion
  • scorn for the child

Infancy period of new born (0-18 months)

Infancy is a rich formative period for the development for physical and social understanding


  • infancy is the shortest of all development periods
  • infancy is a time of radical adjustment
  • infancy is a plateau in development
  • infancy is a preview of later development
  • infancy is a hazardous period.

Hazards of infancy

Physical Hazards

  1. unfavorable environment
  2. difficult and complicated birth
  3. pre-maturity
  4. post maturity
  5. infant moratality
  6. multiple birth

Psychological hazards

  1. traditional beliefs about birth
  2. helplessness
  3. individuality of the infant
  4. developmental leg
  5. plateau in development
  6. lack of stimulation
  7. new parents blues
  8. unfavorable attitudes on the part of the significant people
  9. names

Babyhood/ toddlerhood

toddler-hood occupies the first two years of the life.

there is gradual develop but pronounced; decrease in helplessness.

Characteristics of toddler hoods:

  • many behavior patterns, many attitudes, and many patterns of emotional expressions are being established

Four reasons why true foundations:

  • Children don’t outgrow undesirable traits as they grow older.
  • If an undesirable pattern of behavior or unfavorable beliefs and attitudes have started to develop early foundations quickly develop into habits through repetitions, it will influence life long on a child’s personal and social adjustments.
  • Learning and experience play dominant roles in development.

Toddlerhood is an age of Rapid Growth and Change

  • Grows rapidly both physically and psychologically
  • Change not only in appearance but also in capacities
  • Baby’s ability to recognize and respond to the people and objects in the environment.

Toddlerhood is an age of Decreasing Dependency

  • Results from the rapid development of body control is to sit, stand, and walk and to manipulate objects.
  • Also able to communicate their needs to others
  • They can or believe they can do for themselves, if they are not permitted to try to be independent when they want to be, they protest
  • If protests, it takes the form of anger outburst and crying and soon develops into negativism.

Toddlerhood is the age of increased individuality

  • Develop their interest and abilities
  • Individuality is shown in appearance and in patterns of behavior
  • Even identical multiple births show individuality

Toddlerhood is the beginning of socialization

  • The egocentrism, characteristic of the very young baby, quickly gives way to a desire to become a part of the social group.
  • Trying to win the attention of others.

Toddlerhood id the beginning of sex-role typing

  • Boys are treated as boys and girls as girls.

Toddlerhood is an appealing age.

Toddlerhood is the beginning of creativity

Toddlerhood is a hazardous age.


Hazards in Toddlerhood/ Babyhood

  • Physical hazards
  • Mortality and crib death
  • Illness
  • Accidents
  • Malnutrition
  • Foundations of obesity
  • Physiological habits
  • Psychological hazards
  • Hazards in motor development
  • Speech hazards
  • Emotional hazards
  • Social hazards
  • Play hazards
  • Hazards in understanding
  • Family-Relationship hazards
  • First, separation from mother.
  • 2nd, failure to develop attachment behavior
  • 3rd, deterioration in family relationships
  • 4th, over protectiveness
  • 5th, inconsistent training
  • 6th, child abuse
  • Hazards in personality development
  • Hazards in morality

Early childhood period (2-6 years)

  • Foundation period of life covering 2-6 years.
  • Rapid physical, mental, emotional, social and language development
  • It is a period of slow growth and rapid development
  • Major developmental aspects such as development of understanding, moral values, common interests.
  • Helplessness and dependency of child is replaced by growing independence.
  • Awareness of social and physical realties.
  • It is period of mental growth


3 years old 4 years old 5 years old
  • Pre-school age
  • Age of playing
  • Can run, jump, and ride bicycles
  • Develop gross motor skills
  • Develop better gross five motor skills
  • Creative age
  • Imitating age
  • Sharper gross and fine motor skills
  • Able to know 8000 words
  • Able to use complex language and conversation



3 years old:

  • Interested in their work and themselves.
  • Unable to express their feelings.
  • Like to listen stories, music, jokes and dance
  • Bed wetting, nail biting, temper tantrum problems are common
  • It is time to plant seeds and watch them grow.
  • Careful observation is need.
  • Picture books, flash cards, and play dough are effective to teach them
  • Provide as much as stimulation.

4 years old:

  • Able to start reading & writing skills
  • Able to master colors, sizes, shapes (enjoy on painting, cutting, building blocks & puzzles)
  • Shy nature & isolation
  • No gender decimation
  • Symbolic play
  • Hypersomnia symptoms

5 years old:

  • High level of curiosity
  • Lair & fantastic conversation
  • Able to understand and recognize meaningful words.
  • Able to write their own name & rhymes words.
  • Electra complex & Oedipus complex starts.
  • Show more temper tantrum and negativism

Electra complex => female child being close with father

Oedipus complex => Male child being close with mother

6 years old:

  • Physically and mentally more matured
  • Speech is well developed
  • Stage of full electro and Oedipus complex.

Hazards in Early childhood:

  • Nail biting
  • Thumb sucking
  • Lying and stealing
  • Bed wetting
  • Fears of ghost, witches, monster
  • Night mares
  • Early schooling and academic stress
  • Sibling rivalry
  • Attention seeker

Developmental tasks up to 6 years children

  • Learning to walk independently
  • Able to take solid foods/ self-eating
  • Learning to talk and communicate fluently
  • Able to control toilet
  • Able to differentiate, gender and sexual modality
  • Able to achieve physiological stability
  • Able to form simple concepts (objects, shape, size, living and non-living things, color, distance and physical)
  • Able to learn to relate oneself emotionally to parents, siblings and other relatives.
  • Able to distinguish what is right and wrong and develop conscience.
  • Able to understand and share love and affection
  • Able to act as a given gender.

Late childhood Period (6-12 years)

  • Slow & steady development as compared to others.
  • Children are hurried more stressful & depressed


  • Quarrelsome and sloppy (lack of care, aware and careless)
  • School age, gang, & creative age
  • Happy age
  • Very critical age
  • Less egocentric
  • Want to become good boy/ girl
  • Girls are friendlier & affectionate then boys.
  • Slow in growth & development
  • Strong motor growth but athletic.
  • Body balance, jumping, running skills are highly developed
  • Interested on outdoor activities, explorative activities
  • High confidence/ self esteem
  • Naughtiness & sloppy
  • Aggressive & temper tantrum
  • Negative and carefree age
  • Wide range of intelligence development
  • Physically ready to do their work
  • Shows socially accepted behavior, more cultured & follow rules.


further updating……….

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