Child Observation Theories


By applying Piaget’s theory of cognitive-developmental stages, one can say that A. has reached the pre-occupational stage. At this level, an individual should be able to use simple logic, take the viewpoints of other people, and classify various objects. A child aged between 2 and 5 should also have well-developed fine and gross motor skills (“Baker, 2013”). For instance, he should manipulate objects such as utensils or toys.

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It is possible to say that A. reaches the developmental standards that are set for this particular age group, but there are specific skills that should be elaborated. Judging from my observations, I can say that he is able to use utensils such as spoons or forks properly. This child can easily turn the pages of books while reading. In most cases, he can dress almost without the assistance of adults.

However, Arron does not know how to button up his jacket. Furthermore, it is often difficult for him to tie his shoes. Piaget’s theory implies that this child should be encouraged to play with various toys. Arron is also willing to socialize with his peers and often asks them various questions, for example, about food, games, and toys. To some degree, this behavior indicates that Arron wants to consider the opinions of others.

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It is also possible to apply Erikson’s model of developmental stages. At this age, the child should be able to take initiative without the prompts of other people. In turn, A. always washes his hands before and after eating, even though he is not reminded about the need to do it. Apart from that, at this developmental level, a child is able to assume more control of his/her immediate environment (Cramer, 1997).

It should be noted that A. does not spill a drink, and he is usually accurate with food. Apart from that, his clothing is almost never tarnished with food stains. This is one of the main points that should be considered because it indicates that the child conforms to the standards which are set for this age group. Additionally, Erikson’s model implies that a child seeks validation of his/her behavior (Davis and Clifton 1995).

In this way, a person tries to determine whether his/her actions are correct. As a rule, parents and teachers are regarded as role models. This behavior is prevalent because at the age of four because children lack knowledge about the surrounding world. Similarly, A. often asks the teacher if his/her actions are proper. This issue is particularly relevant if one speaks about his relations with his peers. Nonetheless, it is vital to remember during this developmental stage, children try to take initiative. In turn, A. often initiates contact with peers without being prompted by others. Thus, current development seems to be quite normal.

There are no deviations from the milestones which are identified by psychologists. It should be noted that in the future, A. may display pride for his accomplishments. So, teachers and parents should anticipate these changes. In this way, they can foster the intellectual and social development of this boy. These are the main details that should be considered.

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A.’s behavior can also be analyzed from the perspective of Lawrence Kohlberg’s moral development theory. The application of this framework indicates that A. is at the first or pre-conventional level of moral development. This stage can last until the age of 10. It should be noted that at this particular level, people focus mostly on the consequences of their actions (Krebs and Denton, 2005, p. 631). In most cases, they want to derive the benefits from behaving properly (Krebs and Denton, 2005, 631); however, they do not have a clear conception of right and wrong; as a rule, they do not have internal moral principles they always adhere to.

To a great extent, this description is relevant to A. For instance, this boy often reminds a teacher that he has washed his hands or helped another student. To a great extent, A. expects to receive praise. These are some of the details that can be distinguished. One should keep in mind that at the pre-conventional level, the behavior of a child is not necessarily driven by the attempts to avoid punishment. At this level, a child becomes more aware of his/her own needs and interests (Krebs and Denton, 2005, p. 631). Moreover, he/she can take part in various forms of exchange. In turn, A. often exchanges toys with his playmates.

This behavior cannot be regarded as a form of social relations because at this level, a child does not think about social conventions. His/her main intention is to receive benefits such as the opportunity to play with interesting toys. This is the main cause that underlies his cooperation with peers. These are some of the details that should be considered. Overall, the theories developed by Piaget, Erikson, and Kohlberg are the most influential models which enable psychologists to describe the main milestones of a child’s development. Admittedly, one can also mention Freud’s model of psychosexual stages.

However, this approach is often criticized for the lack of falsifiability (Flanagan, 2008, p. 154). and it is not often applied by researchers who examine the behavior of children. These are some of the points that can be made.

It is possible to compare A. to a three-year-old girl, named A. Much attention should be paid to fine and gross motor skills. It should be noted that the second child cannot use utensils properly, and her food often falls out of plates. While manipulating forks or spoons, the second child relies on gross motor skills, rather than fine motor skills. This is one of the differences that can be singled out. Moreover, unlike the boy, she is not able to dress.

Therefore, one can say that this child cannot effectively manipulate objects, and this skill is important for three-year-old children. At this age, they should be able to draw various objects and even manipulate scissors. So, one can say that A’s fine motor skills are more advanced. Apart from that, the girl tends to copy the movements made by her peers. This behavior can be partly explained by the uncertainty that this girl struggles with.

This is one of the things that distinguished this girl from the first child. Furthermore, she is less willing to socialize with peers or teachers. In many cases, she is simply afraid of talking to other people. This is one of the traits that differ her from A. who does not have this communication problem. Additionally, the boy does not struggle with anxiety and lack of confidence. As it has been said before, the girl is more like to emulate the behavior of peers. For example, she does not have clear food preferences; as a rule, she prefers the meals that her peers choose.

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There are several methods of supporting the development of A. For instance, he should be encouraged to play with his peers because this experience is important for emotional development, especially empathy. Additionally, he should have an opportunity to play with toy vehicles or puzzles (“Caring for Your Baby and Young Child Birth to Age 5”). This activity can help this child improve his/her motor skills and understand various causal relations. In this way, parents can promote Arron’s cognitive development.

It is important to anticipate the changes in A’s behavior and enable him to meet his developmental needs. First of all, during the next two years, A. may want to master more complex skills such as drawing. This is why parents and educators should make sure that he has access to pens, pencils, and crayons. Secondly, the child will be willing to understand the relations between cause and effect. Parents should not dismiss the questions that this child may ask. These people should also remember that he will experiment with various material objects, and they should prevent him from hurting himself. More importantly, A. may soon display a talent for a particular activity, while parents and teachers should recognize this talent and promote its development.


Overall, it is possible to argue that the development of a child must be monitored by parents and educators. They need to understand how the cognitive, social, or motor skills of the child usually evolve. Moreover, they should clearly identify his current and future needs. The boy, who I have observed, does not have any developmental problems. Nevertheless, teachers and parents should promote their socialization and intellectual development.

Works Cited

Baker, Matt. “Piaget’s Stages of Cognitive Development”. UsefulCharts. 2013. Web.

Cramer, Craig. “Erik Erikson’s 8 Stages of Psychosocial Development” 1997. Web.

Davis, Doug, and Clifton, Alan. “Psychosocial Theory: 1995. Web.

Flanagan, Cara. As Psychology Study Guide. New York: Letts and Lonsdale, 2008. Print.

Krebs, Dennis and Cathy Denton. “Toward a More Pragmatic Approach to Morality: A Critical Evaluation of Kohlberg’s Model.” Psychological Review,112. 3. (2005): 629-649. Web.

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