What is child psychology?
How are children’s lives changing and what role do child psychologists have in supporting children? Child psychology is a broad area, covering how people change as they grow up from birth through to adolescence and trying to explain how these important changes occur – are 3-year-olds, 7-year-olds and teenagers different just because of their experiences of the world, or because of biological changes within the individual?
Because child psychology is so vast and tries to answer so many questions, researchers and practitioners often separate development into specific areas. Broadly, these tend to map onto children’s physical, cognitive and social/emotional development. Child psychologists attempt to make sense of every aspect of child development, including how children learn, think, interact and respond emotionally to those around them, make friends, understand emotions and their own developing personalities, temperaments and skills.
Children typically reach developmental milestones. These milestones reflect abilities, such as walking and talking, that are achieved by most children at similar ages. Among other things, we are interested in trying to explain how children reach these milestones and how individual, social and cultural factors may influence how we develop.