Out of all the things I have lost, I miss my mind the most. - Mark Twain

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What Is Child Psychology?

Child psychology is the study of subconscious and conscious childhood development. Child psychologists observe how a child interacts with their parents, themselves, and the world, to understand their mental development.

Why Is Child Psychology Important?

Child Psychologists can help detect the root of common behavioural issues such as learning issues, social and communication issues as well as help children work through childhood stress. They can also help to prevent, evaluate, and diagnose mental health and learning problems, developmental delays or conditions such as autism. Child Psychology looks at the interaction of a few main areas of development:

Physical Development

Physical development in children is typically a predictable sequence of events. Your child holds their head up, rolls over, crawls, walks, and runs, in that order. Your Child Psychologist can aid your paediatrician in observing your child’s physical development, and if there are any abnormalities that could indicate developmental irregularities. Child Psychologists will observe your child’s progression toward the milestones of development to ensure that your child is physically developing normally. Major delays in physical development may reveal other underlying developmental issues that can then be addressed early on.

Cognitive Development

Cognitive development refers to the intellectual learning and thought processes of a child. It includes the observation and understanding of the world around them, language learning, memory, decision-making, problem-solving, how the child uses their imagination, and how the child uses basic reasoning.

Emotional (Social) Development

Emotional and social development are deeply intertwined. Emotional development refers to how the child feels, understands, and expresses their emotions. Emotional development also includes a child’s ability to feel and understand the emotions of other people through empathy. A Child Psychologist can help your child understand and express their emotions in a healthy, positive way.

Physical Health Issues

Child Psychology also helps in the psychological management of chronic diseases such as paediatric diabetes, asthma or allergies, chronic pain as well as childhood obesity, endocrinological and growth-related disorders.

How do I prepare my child before the first visit?

Kids experience less anxiety when they know what to expect from their first appointment. You could say something like: “We’re going to talk to a doctor about how you’re feeling, thinking and behaving to make life better for you. This doctor is going to help us. They might ask us both some questions about how we’re doing.” If your child is having learning issues, you might say that the clinician will help determine how they learn best. Of course, what you say will depend on your child’s age, maturity and temperament.

What do I expect from the first session?

The first session is typically spent by the Psychologist in building rapport with the child and family while gathering information about the child’s strengths, interests and life situations.” The Psychologist will also likely cover any relevant history like asking about any family history, developmental, academic and behavioural milestones. It will help the Psychologist devise a plan for therapy and treatment that will be most effective for your child.

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Last update date: 24-05-2024

Ms. Sneha John is a Child Psychologist in the Department of Psychology at the Medcare Medical Centre, Jumeirah. She completed her Bachelor's Degree in Psychology, with Counselling and a Master's Degree in Clinical Psychology from the University of London and obtained a P.G Diploma in Child & Adolescent Mental Health from the UK.

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