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The Development of Infants and Young Children

Infants and young children are already gaining knowledge at birth, and they keep developing and learning at a fast rate in their formative years. The process offers a vital basis for lifetime progression, and grownups, both parents and other members of the family, who support the nurturance of infants and young children, in addition to early childhood education hold great accountability for their well-being, learning, and overall development.

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Parents, family members, teachers, and other practitioners who are engaged in the care and education of infants and young children have a crucial role to play not only in their development but also in securing their future success (Gibbs, Forste, & Lybbert, 2018). The development of infants and young children is at its best when they have secure and positive affiliation with adults who have adequate knowledge of the support, nurturance, and education they need, over and above being receptive to their progress.

The Effect of Families

Out of all the aspects that influence the development of infants and young children, families have the greatest impact. Members of the family are the people whom infants and young children first come into contact with and have a regular connection. With the continued development of the patterns, interrelations, and engagements in the family unit, there is an increase in infants’ and children’s understanding of themselves, other people, and the surrounding world. Loving, fostering families provide chances for effective bonding, knowledge, and growth where the development of young children thrives. Families influence emotional development from infancy to the continued growth of children (Bernstein, Timmons, & Lieberman, 2019).

The relationship between infants and their primary caregivers promotes a scope of emotions that encompass confidence, comfort, trust, and compassion. As young children grow and their engagement with members of the family heightens, they understand how to create friendships, manage sentiments, and healthily communicate emotions, in addition to overcoming challenges and obstructions that keep arising. Doing things together as a family enhances cohesion hence promoting emotional development in children and decreasing their risks of suffering distress.

The social development of infants begins with their earliest connections, relationships, and interrelations with members of the family. Infants and young children perceive and discover communication, partnership, and cooperation through watching their siblings and parents interrelating with one another, or engaging directly with family members. In families where members treat one another with love and respect, there is the promotion of a positive illustration of quality social interaction for infants and young children. Moreover, spending quality time together as a family encourages healthy socialization and development of social skills (Leung, Lo, Tsang, Chan, & Kung, 2016).

Diet and exercise patterns in families have a critical influence on infants and young children’s nutrition and health, which is directly associated with their physical development. Families influence the cognitive development of infants and young children by affecting the manner in which they perceive themselves and the world around them.

Parenting Styles

Parenting styles have a major impact on numerous aspects of an infant and a young child’s development. Parenting skills influence young children’s sense of worth, academic performance, behavior, and cognitive development. Researchers characteristically categorize parenting styles into four classes that include authoritarian style, typified by extreme degrees of control and low rate of responsiveness and indulgent permissive parenting, which has a reduced extent of control and a high scale of receptiveness (Berger, 2011). Other styles are the authoritative approach that has increased levels of both responsiveness and control and neglectful parenting that shows minimal existence of control and receptiveness.

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Despite both indulgent permissive and authoritarian styles representing opposite segments of the parenting spectrum, none of them has been associated with positive results, probably because they offer minimal chances for children to learn how to manage stress (Checa & Abundis-Gutierrez, 2018). Extreme levels of command and control restrict infants and young children’s opportunities to make a decision or articulate their needs, while inadequate control may leave them without sufficient guidance and direction that is required for them to develop suitable morals and objectives.

Most Effective Style

Research has shown that authoritative parenting is the most effective style since parents balance control and responsiveness with high social competency in infants and young children. Children of authoritative parents have enhanced competence in peer interactions, improved emotional well-being in their adulthood, and rarely engage in drug abuse in their adolescence. The authoritative parenting style merges warmth, compassion, and the setting of boundaries. It enables parents to employ both positive reinforcement and reckoning to support their children while as much as possible avoiding resorting to the use of punishments and threats (Checa & Abundis-Gutierrez, 2018).

The authoritative style has been linked to positive children outcomes across the globe. Infants and young children nurtured by authoritative parents have a high probability of self-control, becoming self-reliant, socially accepted, academically thriving, and well-mannered. Such children have a low likelihood of experiencing anxiety and depression or being involved in antisocial conduct such as juvenile delinquency and drug abuse.

Unlike the authoritarian approach, the authoritative style embarks on a moderate approach that promotes setting of boundaries, being supportive and receptive, having respect for infants and young children as rational beings, and ensuring high moral standards. While the authoritarian parent gets his way through coercion, punishment, and threats, the authoritative parent seeks to instill cooperation by promoting positive sentiments and making young children understand the reasoning behind the set rules (Checa & Abundis-Gutierrez, 2018). Authoritative parenting avoids arbitrary and harsh punishment and parents are not likely to coerce their children by withdrawing love.

Influence on Cognitive Development

Early childhood education promotes cognitive development by expanding children’s knowledge of issues that influence their welfare, that of other people, and the world at large. Young children from underprivileged communities who attend preschool demonstrate higher cognitive skills than their counterparts who lack early childhood education. Researchers have established that at the age of eight years, prematurely born children who had at least 400 days of preschool at two and three years of age have a higher IQ test score than their counterparts who went to preschool less frequently. Nevertheless, the mere attendance of preschool is not sufficient.

Children’s development has much to do with the conduciveness of the learning environment and quality of early childhood education (Vezzani, 2019). Over and above having higher performance, children who attend first-rate community-based educational centers behave better than their peers in lesser-quality early childhood learning institutions.


Effective development of infants and young children requires a secure and positive relationship with receptive adults who have adequate knowledge of the support, nurturance, and learning they need. Socialization in families enhances emotional development in children and reduces their possibility of suffering distress. Authoritative parenting is the most successful style since it balances control and receptiveness with high social proficiency in infants and young children. Early childhood education supports cognitive development by enlarging children’s knowledge of matters that influence their well-being, that of others, and the surrounding environment.

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Berger, K. S. (2011). The developing person through the life span (8th ed.). New York, NY: Worth Publishers.

Bernstein, R. E., Timmons, A. C., & Lieberman, A. F. (2019). Interpersonal violence, maternal perception of infant emotion, and child-parent psychotherapy. Journal of Family Violence, 34(4), 309-320.

Checa, P., & Abundis-Gutierrez, A. (2018). Parenting styles, academic achievement and the influence of culture. Psychology and Psychotherapy: Research Study, 1(4), 1-3. Web.

Gibbs, B. G., Forste, R., & Lybbert, E. (2018). Breastfeeding, parenting, and infant attachment behaviors. Maternal and Child Health Journal, 22(4), 579-588. Web.

Leung, C., Lo, S. K., Tsang, S., Chan, R., & Kung, E. (2016). The relationship between family dining practices, parenting style and family functioning and child learning. International Journal on Disability and Human Development, 15(3), 267-276.

Vezzani, A. (2019). Conversation and learning in early childhood education: What works best for children’s cognitive development and how to improve pupil engagement? European Early Childhood Education Research Journal, 27(4), 534-550. Web.

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