Asper the assignment requirement to observe a 2-10 year old in anatural setting for 30 minutes to 1 hour, I observed my nephew overone weekend when I was babysitting him. As an unmarried uncle to mysix year old nephew, I have always had such moments of observation ina natural setting. Therefore, for one evening when I was babysittingmy nephew at his home, I made critical observations on his cognitivepsychological development in a non-obtrusive way. The observationcentered on his cognitive development specifically on attention span,language use, memory, perception, problem solving, creativity, andthinking.
Physically,my nephew was on time. He measures up well with his fellow six yearsboth at school and in the neighborhoods in terms of height andphysical build. His weight is on the higher average though he couldnot be termed as overweight. He was also very active with a springygait in his step. His appearance and bright face also suggested ahealthy child with no form of physical disabilities or difficulties.
Languagewas the most intriguing observation about the kid. My nephew is fullof stories about his school life. He will talk about his classmatesand even describe his friend’s toys such as the color of theirbikes and dolls. He is always amazed that I do not know his schoolmates a critical issue that captures his egocentrism as per Piaget’stheory. His description of his friends allowed him to memorize names,colors and shapes (Charlesworth 2013). The boy has also been rantingabout what he will be doing to his pet dog once he gets it only afterbeing a good boy as promised. He kept telling stories of how theywill be playing in the front yard.
Anotherkey observation is that that he was eager to prove his competence inpoetry. He requested to say a poem to for me which I obliged. I alsoobserved him sing and narrated poems out loudly as he played with histoys. As he narrated one poem he kept forgetting one line. To provehis competence in line with Erikson’s theory, he kept apologizingand restarting all over again just to get it right (Martin &Fabes 2008). In other times I have also observed that my nephew onlynarrates the poem to people he is close with as he is very shy withadult strangers.
Cognitivecharacteristics were evident in the observation. This was through ourdiscussion pertaining to his favorite subject in school. He indicatedthat his best subject in school is science. To prove this, he fetchedsome of his books just to teach me a thing or two in science. In oneof his books, there were large colored pictures of animals withblanks to fill the names. In one photo there was a hippopotamus whichI insisted was a cow just to test his knowledge. He insisted it wasnot a cow but could not validate or tell clearly in words thedifference between a cow and a hippopotamus.
Moralcharacteristics were also evident in the observation. At one pointduring the observation, my nephew insisted that I should not place myfeet on the coffee table as I watched TV. He explained that hismother did not allow such kind of behavior which is rude anddisrespectful. At this juncture I chose to pose a moral dilemma byasking him if he would allow to me place my feet on the table if Icould allow him to stay up late and watch TV (Martin & Fabes2008). This seemed to be very confusing to him as all he could do wasto smile at me and give an unsure look. When I insisted for hisresponse, he just shrugged his shoulders while shyly facing down.
Theobservation achieved its purposes by demonstrating the various stagesin cognitive and psychological development as supported by thevarious theories learned in class. The activity was also fun andbreak from monotony.
Charlesworth,R. (2013). UnderstandingChild Development. NewYork: Cengage Learning.
Martin,C. & Fabes, R. (2008). Discoveringchild development.New York: Cengage Learning.