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growing body

two years after birth, the average child in the United States weighs 25 to 30 pounds and is close to 36 inches tall; 6 years old, they weigh, on average, about 46 pounds and stand 46 inches tall

height and weight

affected by global economics; differences in height and weight reflect economic factors within the United States as well; children in families whose incomes are below the poverty level are more likely to be unusually shorter than children raised in more affluent homes;

changes in body shape and structure

by the time children reach 6 years of age, their proportions are quite similar to those of adults; children grow stronger as their muscle size increases and their bones become studier;

growing brain

the brain grows at a faster rate than does any other part of the body; two-year-old who have received proper nutrients have brains that are about three-fourths the size and weight of an adult brain; by age 5, children's brains are 90% the weight of an average adult brain;

myelin

the protective insulation that surrounds parts of neurons; speeds the transmission of electrical impulses along brain cells but also adds to brain weight; increases with age

corpus callosum

a bundle of nerve fivers that connect the two hemispheres of the brain, becomes considerably thicker, developing as many as 800 million individual fibers that help coordinate brain functioning between the two hemispheres, undergoes particular significant growth

lateralization

the process in which certain functions are located more in one hemisphere than in the other, becomes more pronounced during the preschool years; although there is some specialization of the hemispheres, in most respects the two hemispheres act in tandem

left hemisphere

for mos people, the left hemisphere concentrates on tasks that necessitate verbal competence, such as speaking, reading, thinking, and reasoning;

right hemisphere

the right hemisphere develops its own strengths, especially in nonverbal areas such as comprehension of spatial relationships, recognition of patterns and drawings, music, and emotional expression

brain growth and cognitive development

it appears that there are periods during childhood in which the brain shows unusual growth spurts, and these periods are linked to advances in cognitive abilities; unusual spurts at between 1 1/2 and 2 years; others spurts occurred around other ages when cognitive advances are particularly intense;

myelin and cognitive development

increases of myelin may be related to preschooler's growing cognitive capabilities; myelination of the reticular formation, an area of the brain associated with attention and concentration, is completed by the time children are about 5 years old; this may be associated with children's growing attention spans as they approach school age; completed in the hippocampus, an area associated with memory;

sensory development

brain maturation leads to better control of eye movements and focusing; preschool-age children also begin a gradual shift in the way they view objects made up of multiple parts; until the age of 3 or , preschoolers devote most of their looking to the insides of two-dimensional objects they are scanning, concentration on the internal details and largely ignoring the perimeter of the figure; 4 and 5-year-olds begins to look more at the surrounding boundaries of the figure, and at 6 and 7 years of age they look at the outside systematically, with far less scanning of the inside

sleep

no matter how tired they may be, some active preschoolers find it difficult to make the transition from the excitement of the day to settling down for a night's rest; as many as 20% to 30% of preschoolers may take more than an hour to fall asleep;

nightmares

vivid bad dreams, usually occurring toward morning; between 10% and 50% of children ages 3 to 5 experience nightmares, with the frequency higher in boys than in girls;

night terrors

nightmares that produce intense physiological arousal and cause a child to wake up in an intense state of panic; night terrors are much less frequent than nightmares, occurring in just 1% to 5% of children;

obesity

preschoolers need less food to maintain their growth; over feeding will lead to body weight more than 20% above the average weight for a person of a given age and height;

minor illnesses of preschoolers

the average preschooler has 7 to 10 minor colds and other minor respiratory illnesses in each of the years from age 3 to 5; colds actually help to build and strengthen immune systems

major illnesses

the most frequent major illness to strike preschoolers is cancer, particularly in the form of leukimia; more than 70% of victims of childhood leukimia survive; one childhood disease that presents a more discouraging picture is childhood AIDS, or acquired immune deficiency syndrome;

injuries

the greatest risk that preschoolers face comes from neither illness nor nutritional problems but from accidents: Before the age of 10, children have twice the likelihood of dying from an injury than from an illness; it is preschooler's physical activity, in combination with the curiosity and lack of judgement that also characterize this age group, which makes them so accident-prone;

child abuse

the physical and psychological maltreatment or neglect of children; the abuse takes several forms, ranging from actual physical abuse to psychological reinstatement ;

physical abuse

most frequent in families living in stressful environments; stepfathers are more likely to commit abuse against stepchildren than genetic fathers are against their own offspring; child abuse is also more likely when there is a history of violence between spouses;

cycle of violence hypothesis

the abuse and neglect that children suffer predispose them as adults to abuse and neglect their own children; being abused as a child does not inevitably lead to abuse of one's own children; statistics show that only about one-third of adults who were abused or neglected as children abuse their own children; the remaining two-thirds do not turn out to be child abusers;

psychological maltreatment

occurs when parents or other caregivers harm children's behavioral, cognitive, emotional, or physical functioning; abusive parents may frighten, belittle, or humiliate their children, thereby intimidating and harassing them; children may be made to feel like disappointments or failures, or they may be constantly reminded that they are a burden to their parents;

child neglect

parents ignore their children or are emotionally unresponsive to them;

result of psychological matlreatment

low self-esteem, lying, misbehavior, and under-achievement in school; in extreme cases, it can produce criminal behavior, aggression, and murder; can lead to depression and suicide;

resilience

the ability to overcome circumstances that place a child at high risk of psychological or physical damage, such as extremes of poverty, prenatal stress, or homes that are racked with violence or other forms of social disorder;

According to developmental psychologist Emmy Werner

resilient children tend to have temperaments that evoke positive responses from a wide variety of caregivers; they tend to be affectionate, easygoing, and good-natured;

activity level

the advances in gross motor skills are related to brain development and myelination of neurons in areas of the brain related to balance and coordination

gender differences in gross motor skills

gender increasingly determines the sorts of activities that are seen by society as appropriate for girls and appropriate for boys; boys have higher gross motor skills than girls due to societies view for boys being more active; girls are not as reinforced as boys in their gross motor skills; regardless of their gender, however, children typically show significant improvement in their gross motor skills during preschool years;

fine motor skills

movements involving these skill require a good deal of practice

Pediatrician T. Berry Brazelton and toilet training

suggests a flexible approach to toilet training, advocating that it be put off until the child shows signs of readiness;

Psychologist John Rosemond and toilet training

argues for a more rigid approach, saying that toilet training should be done early and quickly

American Academy of Pediatrics and toilet training

support Brazelton's position; suggest that there is no single time to begin toilet training and that training should begin only when children show that they are ready; children have no bladder or bowel control until the age of 12 months and only slightly control fro 6 months after that;

handedness

a clear preference for the use of one hand over the other; by the age of 7 months, some infants seem to favor one hand over grabbing more with it than the other; many children, however, show no preference until the end of the preschool years; by the age of 5, most children display a clear tendency to use one hand over the other, with 90% being right-handed and 10% left-handed; more boys than girls are left-handed

art and development

according to developmental psychologist Howard Gardner, the rough, unformed art of preschoolers represents the equivalent of linguistic babbling in infants; her argues that the random marks that young preschoolers make contain all the building blocks of more sophisticated creations that will be produced later;

scribbling stage

the end product of a child's art appears to be random scrawls across a paper

shape stage

reached around the age of 3; is marked by the appearance of shapes such as squares and circles;

design stage

characterized by the ability to combine more than one simple shape into a more complex one

pictorial stage

starts between the age of 4 and 5; at this point, drawings begin to approximate recognizable objects

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