· Gender Identity: whether a child identifies as being a male or female; most children identify with their biological sex but a small percentage do not or gender identity is not clear to them.

Gender-Role Development

Similar to mannerisms, religious beliefs, and racism that stem from the home environment, attitudes that drive gender role are learned at home also. They are reinforced by peers, school, and the media. Children as young as two have been known to have a fairly well-developed understanding of gender roles.






Biological Influences on Gender Role Development





Sex differences in play and personality have been discussed and viewed in cultures across the world. Studies of mammals show that males tend to have higher amounts of physical aggression, females tend to be more emotionally sensitive, and at young ages, children prefer same-sex playmates.

Environmental Influences on Gender Role Development

Noticeable gender-typed behavior arises from ages two to thirteen with the sharpest increase in young preschoolers. Experiences at home build on genetic influences, leading to stronger gender typing in early childhood. From birth, children have different experiences based on their gender.


· For example, parents create a different environment by their choice of the color of the room, toys, clothes and how they interact which continues throughout childhood. Boys tend to get toys that involve action and/or competition.

Lesson Overview

The study of child development began in the 20th century, and many of the original theories and ideas of the 20th century continue to influence the study of child development today. Nature via genetics shapes many aspects of children’s lives and development, such as appearance, physical health, personality, intelligence and more. Nurture, or environmental factors, also plays a key role in the intellectual, emotional and physical development of children. The first two to three years of life are a time of rapid growth and development for children emotionally, physically, and cognitively. These years provide the basis for future learning. Physical or emotional harm during this time can cause lifelong issues with cognition, emotional control, impulse control, and motor skills. Both heredity and environment impact the cognitive ability of growing children.

Emotional and social development begins at birth and continues through infancy and toddlerhood. Basic emotions such as happiness and fear are found early in infancy. These are related to survival. Complex or higher-order emotions like shame and pride emerge once the child has a sense of self. Between birth and three years of age, children grow and develop rapidly. Growth is driven by genetic, hormonal, and environmental factors. In order for children’s language skill, development, and acquisition to grow, they must be exposed to opportunities to communicate with themselves, other children, and adults that use rich vocabulary. Based on research, there are several different stages (ages) at which we can expect children to start participating in make-believe play, understanding metacognition, communicating with others, and understanding grammar. Exposure to these practices will improve language skills and practices.

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