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Physiological Function of babyhood
Babyhood is the time when the fundamental physiological patterns of eating, sleeping and elimination should be established, even though the habit formation may not be completed when babyhood ends.
Speech development - Both aspects of communication - comprehension of what others are trying to communicate and the ability to communicate is improved. One's thought and feelings to others in terms they can understand - are difficult and not mastered quickly. Foundation for both are laid during babyhood years. The speaker's facial expression, tone of voice & gesture help babies to understand what is being said to them. Babbling is the most important because real speech eventually develops from it. Crying is one of the first ways in which a baby is able to communicate to others.
Emotional behaviour - Babyhood emotions differ from those of other age groups. They are brief in duration, though intense while they last. They appear frequently but give way to other emotions when baby's attention is distracted. Emotions are more easily conditioned during babyhood than at later age. This is because their intellectual abilities are limited.
There are certain emotional patterns that are common. But since they are susceptible to conditioning, there are variations in these patterns as well as common emotional patterns in babyhood are anger, fear, curiosity, joy, affection etc.
Development in socialization - The social experiences play a dominant role in developing the baby's future social relationships and patterns of behaviour towards others. Foundation for later social behaviour is laid in the home. During the first year of babyhood babies are in a state of equilibrium which makes them friendly, easy to handle and pleasant to be with. This changes soon and they become fussy, noncooperative and difficult to handle.
Throughout babyhood, play is often solitary than social. They derive a lot enjoyment through play and it aids in overall development of the child.
Beginning of sex-role typing - This starts literally at birth. Babies are identified as male or female by the colours of their dress and other things used including toys. The foundation for sex-appropriate behaviour is laid at home by parents and others and this continues as they move to day care centers or nursery schools.
Personality development - The potentials for personality development are present at birth. Since no two individuals have the same physical or mental endowment or the same environmental experiences, no two persons will ever develop identical personality patterns. Babyhood is often referred to as a 'critical period' in the development of personality because at this time the foundations are laid upon which the adult personality structure will be built. Factors like constant companion to the child (mother quite often), unfavourable occurrence in the environment (over protection), sex differences, will influence the personality development.
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