The First Year
This is the stage of Trust versus Mistrust, according to Erikson. Children need consistent and frequent contact with a primary caregiver. Having their needs met helps establish a sense of trust, which contributes to overall development.
- Infants have a preference for faces
- Gross motor skills are developing - infants are able to hold their head erect, sit, then roll, crawl, and begin to stand and possibly walk alone
- Infants begin to understand and imitate words and sounds
- Infants respond to people and objects
- By the end of the first year, infants are exploring and experimenting with their environment
- Non-verbal means of connection and interaction predominate - smiling, grasping, sucking, and visual tracking are observed
- Parents/caregivers are the infant's primary relationship and the infant will seek to engage them in some play
- Crying is an expression of distress and an indicator that something is needed; when the needs are consistently met, trust begins to be established and attachments form
- Early on, infants are unable to distinguish themselves as distinct/separate from their parents/caregivers; by about 12 months, there is movement from a sense of oneness to separateness
Next time -- Years One to Three: Autonomy versus Shame/Doubt.
Source: Growth and Developmental Tasks (author unknown)