Development psychology refers to a scientific approach of dealing with the various psychosomatic changes one goes through from pre-birth to death (Overby, 2012). It also seeks to explain the causes and impacts of these changes to a person’s. These changes are commonly split into four categories namely; physical, social, intellectual or cognitive and emotional. Physical development deals with how one’s body anatomy develops through various stages of life, including ways in which these changes influence one’s actions and way of thinking both socially and/or emotionally. Cognitive development focuses more on language, way of thinking, perception, memory and attention. Social development deals with how humans grow as social beings. Emotional development and o social development are closely linked and deal with attachments humans form with others, identity, personality and aggression (Lam, O’Donnell & Gillibrand, 2011). This paper seeks to show how development psychology can be used to guess the approximate age of infants and young children. Human beings grow in stages and each stage exhibit a distinct set of characteristics. For this reason, observing aspects such as size, behavior, communication, relationships as well as activities that a young child engage in can tell the approximate age of the young child.
The researcher observed a random group of young children in a park for about five minutes for each child and tried to determine their ages based on factors such as physical size and development, behavior, language, how they related with their parents/care givers and other people among others. Finally, the researcher approached the parents or caregivers of these young children and tried to confirm their ages.
Determining Children’s Ages
The researcher sat on a bench in a park and observed a particular child who was held in the arms of his mother. After about five minutes, I realized that the baby could not sit but only considerably raise his head. He was held with the upper body raised to about 30degrees.In addition; the baby was smiling and laughing. This baby once in a while tried to reach out for objects such as the phone in his mother’s hands and followed its movements with his eyes. There was a group of children who looked between the ages of 3- 5 who were playing nearby and the baby seemed to be interested in what they were doing. Whenever he wanted attention from his mother, he would make some sounds and the mother would pay attention to him. Towards the end of this observation, a woman came to say hi baby’s mother. When the baby saw this woman, he became excited, smiled and started making some sounds as if he was trying to communicate with her. After observing all that and the physical size of the baby, the researcher concluded that the baby was about four months. The bay’s mother was approached and asked what her son’s age was to which she replied that he was four months old.
The researcher moved to another section of the park to identify another child and attempt to determine his/her age. The researcher came across young lady about 20 playing with a little girl. The researcher observed that child could not only stand but also walk. She liked to point at objects she was fascinated with using her index finger. For example, she would point at fellow children, the trees and so on. The child kept on uttering some words which the researcher could not get clearly but the caregiver seemed to understand what she was saying as she responded by handing her a doll. After about three minutes, she got bored of playing with her doll and started walking away towards a fellow kid she had noticed some steps away. However, the caregiver called her back and she stood for a while, looked at her and then came back. This child at some point hugged her care giver. The researcher concluded that the young child was about 14 months old; however, the caregiver confirmed that the child was 13 months old.
The researcher moved close to group of mothers who were playing with their children and selected one child for observation. This child was lively and I noticed that she balanced on one foot a couple of times. She asked her mother questions which the mother answered. These mothers appeared to be friends and they would find themselves chatting. I noticed that this little girl paid attention to their stories and once in a while, she would interject with a story of her own. It was as if she wanted to be included in the conversation. When the grownups didn’t seem to pay attention to her, she would turn to her fellow kids whom she could call by name. After 5 minutes, the researcher concluded that the child was about 3 years old and proceeded to confirm the child’s age from her mother who said that her child was 3 years 2 months.
Through observing the behaviors, physical size and abilities of these children, it is possible to make a close guess of a young child’s age. As seen above, the researcher was able to make a close guesses that were sufficiently close to the children’s real ages. However, there are always some disparities in how people grow; children of the same age cannot exhibit exactly similar behaviors and cannot look exactly the same. This is caused by difference in genetic composition of each individual as well as the environment in which each is brought up in. However, the research shows show that development psychology is important and people go through different stages of development and if one knows these stages, one can easily determine people’s ages.
Overby, J. (2012). Development psychology. Delhi: English Press.
Lam, D. V., O’Donnell, D. V. L., & Gillibrand, Rachel. (2011). Development Psychology. Prentice Hall.