Characteristics of babyhood: (From 2 weeks to 2 years)
i) Babyhood is the true foundation age. At this time, many behavior patterns, attitudes and emotional expressions are established. It is a critical period in setting the pattern for personal and emotional adjustments.
ii) Babyhood is an age of rapid growth and development. Babies grow rapidly both physically and psychologically. Changes are rapid in appearance (height and weight) and capacities. The limbs develop in better proportion to the large head. Intellectual growth and change are parallel to physical growth and change.
iii) Ability grows to recognize and respond to people and objects in the environment. The baby is able to understand many things and communicate its needs and wants.
iv) The babyhood is an age of decreasing dependency. The baby begins to do things to itself. With decrease of dependency, a rebellion against being treated as baby. A protest takes protest comes in the form of angry outbursts and crying when independence is denied.
v) It is an age of high individuality which can be realized in appearance and in patterns of behavior.
vi) Babyhood is the beginning of Creativity, sex role and socialization for adjustment in future life.
vii) Babyhood is a hazardous period. The physical hazards are illness, accidents, disabilities and death. Psychological hazards are disinterests and negative attitudes
Emotional behavior in babyhood:
i) At birth, the emotions appear in simple and undifferentiated forms. In babyhood, the emotions are differentiated and they are aroused by a number of stimuli. There are two distinct types of emotions.
ii) There is much difference with the behavior of adolescents and adults and often from those of older children.
iii) Emotions are more easily conditioned during babyhood than at latter stage. This is due to the reason that the intellectual abilities of babies are limited. They respond easily and quickly to stimuli. Anyhow there is hesitation to respond in some cases.
Development in socialization:
Early social experiences play a dominant role in determining the baby’s future social relationships and patterns of behavior towards others. Since the baby’s life is centered around home, it is here that the foundations for later behavior and attitudes are laid. There is no evidence that people are social or antisocial by inheritance but on their social experience gained during babyhood. Also, making a change in the pattern of behavior that has become habitual is never easy. Nor is there any guaranty that the change will be complete. That is why good social foundations are so important during the babyhood years.
At birth, infants are not gregarious in nature in the sense that there is no difference to them who attend to their physical needs. During the first year of the babyhood, babies are in a state of equilibrium which makes them friendly, easy to handle and pleasant to be with. Around the middle of second year, the equilibrium is tilted making the baby fussy, non cooperative, and difficult to handle. However, equilibrium is restored so that the babies begin to exhibit again pleasant and social behavior.