Kimberley has over 20 years of experience as a classroom aide. She has taken college-level courses in education and child development.
Children are so interesting that it's easy to get distracted. Asking the right questions before you begin an observation will help you stay focused on what is really important. The following sample study that I completed for my child development class will cover everything that you need to complete this task.
Sample Observation of a 12-Month-Old Boy
The Child's Environment
Ryon is 12 months old. He has blue eyes and has fine, short blonde hair. He has almond-shaped eyes and a very light complexion. He is sitting on the floor in his living room which is sparsely furnished with two couches and a television. The room is very comfortable, and it appears it was furnished with his comfort and safety in mind.
Is there any adult interaction with the newborn? What behavioral states affect the infant-caregiver relationship?
Ryon is sitting on the floor with his toys around him. His mother sits on the floor next to him, and he begins to hand his mother a series of toys. He is interested in the reaction of his mother as he hands her his blocks, one by one. Ryon leans forward, grabs a block, and gives it to his mother. He watches her face and sort of drops his mouth open as he waits for her reaction. She then tells him the letter and color on the block. He nods his head forward, reaches his arm out, and proceeds to pick up another block. After picking up five blocks and handing them to his mother, he then crawls across the floor to a toy car and pushes it for a moment. He looks up at his mother to see what she is doing and pushes the car toward her. He smiles at her, and she smiles back and says, “Is that your car?” He smiles again and nods his head forward. Ryon is very interested in his mother’s reaction to him. She continues to watch him even when he is interested in a toy or moving away from her. He does check to see if she is paying attention to him as he plays. His mother starts picking up toys and organizing the room, and he periodically goes over to her and becomes interested in what she is doing. Ryon seems very dependent on his mother's mood. He smiles when she smiles, and if she is distracted, he wants to obtain her attention and appears to gauge and react to her facial expressions. It seems that their relationship is positive, and his mother is very attentive.
Motors Skills Development—Movement
Describe the infant sitting, crawling, and/or standing. Discuss your observations in relation to the infant’s age.
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Ryon sits up with ease. He seems very balanced and sure of himself. His legs are spread apart, and his feet point outward. He can lean forward with his stomach to the floor and sit back up with some effort. Ryon crawls across the floor with his hands flat on the ground and fingers spread wide. His feet are pointed away from him. When he goes from crawling to a sitting position, he raises his right leg up and puts his right foot flat on the ground and then leans back on his bottom. When Ryon goes from crawling to a standing position, he crawls to the couch and puts one hand up on the couch while leaning his head backward and plants his right leg on the ground to steady himself. Then he puts his other hand on the couch and pulls himself up. This takes some effort. Ryon seems to be very tall and heavy for his age and is not walking yet. He does walk along the edge of the couch. He may have trouble walking on his own because of his size. Ryon seems healthy and strong, and his coordination seems typical for his age.
Motor Skills Development—Manipulating Objects
Is the infant able to carry, push, or pull objects? Describe and discuss this in relation to the infant’s age.
Ryon can carry, push, and pull objects. I observed him pushing a toy car across the carpet in a back and forth motion. Ryon crawled to the toy car and came up alongside it. He put his right hand on the top of the car and placed his fingers through the opening of its front window. At first, he pushed the car over to where his mother was sitting while crawling. Then he paused and stopped pushing the car until he had moved it to his intended position. He then sat down and pushed the car back and forth making noises as he did. At one point he began to drool, and his mother wiped his mouth. Ryon is displaying typical behavior for his age. He seems to have good motor skills—both fine and gross—for his age. He is able to grab items that can fit in his hand while crawling, sitting, and standing.
Describe the nonverbal communication between the infant and other individuals. How do they respond to each other?
Ryon is very interested in facial expressions. He reacts accordingly. When his mother smiles, he smiles back at her. When he is smiling, he opens and closes his hands and, at times, wiggles his toes at the same time. If his mother is not smiling or paying attention to him, he will bring her a toy after watching her for a moment. I think he is gauging her emotions and likes the comfort of her stare. Ryon watched me also. He wanted to know what I was feeling as well. I wanted to stay separate from him during my observation but always reacted when he paid attention to me. If I was looking down and taking notes, he would sometimes crawl over to me, sit near my legs with a toy, and periodically look up at me. I would smile or talk to him about his toy, and that seemed to satisfy him enough to resume his play. Ryon’s behavior is typical for his age, I think. He is very social and enjoys interacting with others as well as playing independently for short periods of time.
What do you think?
6hotfingers3 on December 17, 2011:
This is an interesting hub. I would never have thought to record easy steps to developing communication between a young child and its caregiver. It helps people understand the power and influence they have over the little ones that depend so very much on their caregivers. Thank you!