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Overall Summary of the First Two Years after Birth

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The first two years of life are very important in the overall growth and development of the children. These two years have a great impact on the later physical, emotional and social growth of the child.  The first two years of life have been described as critical period of developed since there is a lot of growth which takes place.  Childhood experience in the first two years of life is therefore very crucial in the growth and development to the children.

The first two years of life

There are different theories explaining the growth and development of child in the first two years of life.  The three most influential works on growth and development was done by Freud, Erickson and Piaget. According to Freud, growth and development is    expressed through biological drives. Freud came up with the id, ego, and superego as the main drives that determine our growth and development, such that an infant grows from being controlled by id and as they grow up ego and superego plays a role in their growth (Cole, 2005).   According to Freud stages of growth, the firs two years include the oral and anal stage.

On the other hand Piaget carried out an extensive study on the cognitive development of ht e child. According to Piaget, the growth and development of the child can be explained in term of sensiromotor growth in the first two years where the child makes milestone in sensorimotor development (Fischer, 1980).  As the child grows from sensorimotor stage they move to preoccupation, concrete operation and later to formal operation. Therefore the first two years cognitive growth comprise of sensorimotor growth. (Cole, 2005)

Erikson came up with the psychosocial growth and development in which he explained different stages that a child undergoes in formation of social attachments.  The first two years of infancy growth according to Erickson are made up of basic trust and development of autonomy against shame. Erikson therefore reviews the stages of growth and development in terms of the emerging personality of the   child.

Physical growth and development is the most remarkable visible change in the child.  In physical growth and development, the first year of life is most remarkable in that a normal baby growth   by more than 10 inches and at the same time gains 15 pounds.  By the child reaches 4 months the children doubles in birth weight and the end of one year the child triples in weight.  Increase in weight and height is used clinically to asses the growth of the child.  In the first two years, there is rapid increase in both weight and height which is also experienced after the child attains adolescence (Cole, 2005).  During the first two years also the child has a head which is relatively bigger than their heads.   There is also physical development that takes place during the first two years in the nervous system where the   brain of the child reaches a bout three quarters of its expected adult brain size.   By the time the child attains 18 moths the child can push and claps their hand, craw, stand alone, and sit down easily. The child can also roll a ball and may hold spoon although they have difficulty in getting the spoon to the mouth

Cognitive growth consists of the sensonrimotor growth. This main involve motor development which assist the child to develop from involuntary to voluntary movements. During the first two year the brain undergoes through a period of critical development leading to different changes in motor development.  In the first two years, the child cognitive development.  The first tow years can be described as sensorimotor growth according to Piaget theory in which the child learn about himself and the environment through motor actions (Fischer, 1980).  Thought are derived from sensation and movement.  They come to develop an important toy in their life. At two years, the child show advanced mental development. They can use 2 to 3 words to construct a sentence or hum a song.  The child can also repeat words and shown recognition of body parts like ear, nose, muth and others (Piaget, 1995).

According to Erickson psychosocial growth, there are eight basic stage of development. The first two years constitute the stage of trust vs. mistrust.   During the first year of growth, the child is dependant but toward the e the two years the child become more independent and develops trust (Cole, 2005).  The child become more attached to the caregiver especially the mother and will cry when separated from their mother. By the end of two years the child can play alongside other children.  The child acts shy when in presence of strangers and is easily frustrated.  The child makes small make-believes like talking on phone. The child is also very possessive especially with toys. The child may offer toys to other children but will immediately want them back. By the end of the two years, the child has developed affection with those closes like the family members (Fischer, 1980).


The first two years are very important for the physical, cognitive and the social life of the child. In physical development, the child increase in weigh and height and can craw. Cognitive development involves motor growth. The first two years constitute of sensorimotor growth in which the child become aware of themselves and the environment. In social growth, the child forms attachment with their caregiver and those who are close to them. This period involves building trust with those who are close to the child.


Cole, M. (2005). The Development of Children. New York: Worth Publishers.

Fischer, K. (1980). A theory of cognitive development: The control and construction of hierarchical skills. Psychological Review, Vol. 87(2), 477-531

Piaget, J. (1995). Sociological Studies. London: Routledge.

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