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Toddlers Pose More Problems and offer More Rewards Than Infants to Parents

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Toddlers pose more problems and offer more rewards than infants to parents.

Growth slows down during early childhood. The average child grows 2.5 inches in height and gains 5-7 pounds during this period. Heredity and environment both influence growth patterns, which vary individually.

The brain and nervous system continue to develop during early childhood. The brain reaches 75% of its adult size by the time a child is 3 years old, and 90% of its adult size by age five.

Some evidence exists that hand preference may be seen in infants reaching for objects. Left-handed children are as competent in motor skills and intellect as right-handed children. There are both environmental and genetic explanations for handedness.

Adequate nutrition is necessary for growth, and an average preschool child should receive 1,700 calories per day in a diet that includes protein, carbohydrates, fats, vitamins, and minerals. Eating problems often carryover from the toddler years. Parents should maintain a separation between the child's eating and discipline.

One of every three deaths in the world is that of a child under 5. Causes of children's death throughout the world include diarrhea, infection, acute respiratory infections, undernutrition, and poor hygiene. Immunizations protect children from serious illnesses such as diphtheria and polio. The disorders most likely to be fatal during early childhood are birth defects, cancer, and heart disease.

During the ages of 2 to 7 years, stable concepts are formed, mental reasoning emerges, magical belief systems are constructed, and egocentrism is perceptually based.

During the first substage of this period (the preoperational period - 2 to 4 years) the child gains the ability to develop mental representations of objects and events. Drawing, language, and symbolic play appear. Thinking is egocentric, the child is unable to distinguish between his or her own perspective and the perspective of another. Animism also characterizes thought during this period. Children incorrectly attribute human qualities to inanimate objects.

The second substage (the intuitive thought substage - 4 to 7 years) children begin to reason about matters and have opinions, but they cannot explain how they know what they know. The child at this age can neither correctly classify objects into groups that belong together nor correctly reason about an object belonging simultaneously to two different classes. Thought is characterized by centration, in which attention focuses on one dimension only. In addition, children fail to understand conservation problems. Children ask many questions.

Attention span increases with age. Short-term memory retains information for about 20 to 30 seconds. Memory span increases from two digits in 2- to 3-year-old children to about five digits in 7-year-old children.

Language capacity



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