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Child Development 101: The Infant Stage
Presented by: Dr. Dawn-Elise Snipes
Executive Director, AllCEUs

Continuing Education (CE) credits can be earned for this presentation at

~    Explore the developmental tasks and needs of the infant stage (0-2 years old)
~    Maslow (Biological and safety needs)
~    Erickson (Trust vs. Mistrust)
~    Bowlby (Attachment)
~    Piaget (Cognition/schema formation)
~    Discuss how failure to get these needs met can result in later mental health issues
~    Discuss how failure to resolve the trust vs. mistrust crisis results in later mental health issues
~    Discuss how infant’s primitive cognitive abilities develop dysfunctional schemas for later in life

Maslow‚ÄĒWhat Infants Need
~    Biological Needs
~    Food when hungry
~    Shelter/Physical comfort
~    Protection from overstimulation
~    Sleep when sleepy
~    Contact
~    Safety
~    Consistent presence vs. Abandonment (no object permanence)
~    Startle / loud noises / pain

Erickson's Stages Psychosocial Development: Trust Needs Will Be Met
~    Ability to interpret, trust and act on own feelings (self-confidence)
~    Belief that others will help fulfil needs (hope)
~    Self reliance
~    Comfortable with attention
~¬†¬† ¬†Ability to be ‚Äúalone‚ÄĚ
~    Contentment

~    Inability to trust own instincts/urges/feelings
~    Reliance on others to tell them what they need
~    Inability to trust others will be supportive
~    Discomfort with and craving of attention (Abandonment fears)
~    Irritability/anxiety

Piaget‚Äď Cognitive Development
~    Piaget (Cognition/schema formation)
~    Sensorimotor:
~    Children do not yet have object permanence
~    Children do not yet have much of a frame of reference so they rely on parental feedback
~    Schemas formed during this time rely heavily on
~    Were needs adequately met (empowered vs. powerless)
~    Parental reaction (stress-level/attentiveness/consistency)

John Bowlby–Attachment
~    Securely-Attached Infants
~    Easily soothed by the attachment figure when upset.
~    Caregiver is sensitive to their signals, and responds appropriately to their needs.
~    Insecure-Avoidant Infants
~    Very independent of the attachment figure both physically and emotionally
~    Do not seek contact with the attachment figure when distressed.
~    These caregivers are insensitive and rejecting of their needs and are often unavailable during times of emotional distress.

John Bowlby–Attachment
~    Insecure-Ambivalent children
~    Exhibit clingy and dependent behavior, but are rejecting of the attachment figure when they engage in interaction.
~    The child fails to develop any feelings of security from the attachment figure.
~    Exhibit difficulty moving away from the attachment figure to explore novel surroundings.
~    When distressed they are difficult to soothe and are not comforted by interaction with the attachment figure.
~    This behavior results from an inconsistent level of response to their needs from the primary caregiver.

Mindful Parenting
~    Be attentive to the baby’s cries and cues before they become hysterical
~    Accept the baby’s needs as they are/Validating environment
~    Be consistent
~    Calm yourself
~    Stressed parent  stressed baby
~    Calm parent  calm-able baby
~    Keep a routine to help set baby’s circadian rhythms
~    Feeding
~    Sleeping
~    View the world from baby’s eyes

Mindful Re-Parenting
~    Be attentive to your emotional and physical cues before you become over or under-whelmed
~    Be mindful in your approach to self-response to learn to trust your feelings/intuition/urges
~    Identify how you feel
~    Identify what is causing those feelings
~    Address the issue
~    Evaluate the outcome
~    Learn self-soothing skills
~    Identify supportive others

Mindful Re-parenting
~    Identify those things/situations you perceive as anxiety provoking and evaluate them through your adult lens
~    What am I afraid of in this situation
~    What is the probability that something bad will happen
~    How have I (or others)successfully handled things like this before
~    Keep a routine to help set your circadian rhythms
~    Feeding
~    Sleeping

~    Infants have very little frame of reference and no object permanence
~    Every experience is filed as an initial schema
~    Infants are learning how to get their basic biological and safety needs met.
~    Failure of the caregiver to consistently respond may cause the child to:
~    Not trust self
~    Not trust others
~    Be unable to identify own needs
~    Feel hopeless and anxious in an unpredictable world

~    Consistent, mindful parenting can be disrupted by
~    Addiction
~    Anxiety/stress
~    Depression (including post-partum)
~    Skill deficits
~    If something drastic changes in a person’s life, he or she may revisit the trust/mistrust task
~    Normal development involves small changes that build on prior learning (graduation/moving out)
~    Adults have the ability to learn to identify, interpret and meet their own needs increasing self-esteem, independence, self-efficacy and hopefulness

Recommended Readings
Interpreting Baby’s Cries