Introduction to child psychology
Introduction to child psychology

This free course is available to start right now. Review the full course description and key learning outcomes and create an account and enrol if you want a free statement of participation.

Free course

Introduction to child psychology

How do children shape their own development?

A lot of research focuses on the external influences that shape children’s development and treats them as relatively powerless. But of course children have a role in their own development and in selecting the sorts of environmental influences they are exposed to. Even newborns select what to pay attention to by where they look and how they orient themselves (usually towards the smell of milk!). Infants will often try to elicit certain behaviours from adults by giving them cues, such as covering their eyes to play peek-a-boo. Indeed, infants’ sensitivity to very subtle communicative cues and their role in social interaction is surprisingly sophisticated. Aspects specific to the child such as their temperament can also greatly influence how adults and other children interact with them. Once children begin to speak they often drive conversations – expecting responses from adults or asking questions. And when children begin to engage in imaginary play from around 2 years of age they often take on new personas and roles that help them make sense of different aspects of their world or deal with things that they are frightened of (Howes and Matheson, 1992), for instance by pretending to be a superhero fighting off monsters. By the time children reach school age they have begun to make many decisions about their environment, such as who to be friends with and what interests to pursue.

E102_1

Take your learning further

Making the decision to study can be a big step, which is why you'll want a trusted University. The Open University has over 40 years’ experience delivering flexible learning and 170,000 students are studying with us right now. Take a look at all Open University courses.

If you are new to university level study, find out more about the types of qualifications we offer, including our entry level Access courses and Certificates.

Not ready for University study then browse over 900 free courses on OpenLearn and sign up to our newsletter to hear about new free courses as they are released.

Every year, thousands of students decide to study with The Open University. With over 120 qualifications, we’ve got the right course for you.

Request an Open University prospectus