Child Psychology

Child Psychology

Course Code
Payment Options
Upfront & Payment Plans
Online & Correspondence
100 Hours

Child Psychology BPS104

Are you a parent?

Do you work with children?

Having an understanding of child psychology can give the following benefits:

  • Gain insights to help you be a better parent.
  • Learn skills to help your child grow and develop.
  • Better understand your child's thoughts, feelings, and behaviour.
  • Learn how to interact with children better.
  • Learn more about yourself - how has your childhood shaped the person you are now? 
  • Learn to identify what is "normal" and what is not.

Child psychology is concerned with the development of a person over the course of their childhood. This involves the development of a child's mental processes (ie. cognitive development) as well as emotional and social behaviour. It is important to state that development does not end at adulthood. Adults continue to experience changes in their mental, emotional and social behaviours. Some characteristics are however more easily developed and changed during childhood.

What are the key influences on children's behaviour and attitudes? 

For convenience, a distinction is made between the cognitive, emotional and social aspects of behaviour. However, this distinction is purely theoretical. It is made simply to help us learn and understand. In reality, the different aspects of behaviour interact with each other. When problems develop in any area of development they usually become rapidly evident in other areas as well. The study of child psychology is partly concerned with identifying such interrelationships.

How can parents, teachers, and child care workers provide the kind of environment that nurtures children's emotional, cognitive and moral development?

Learn how children develop psychologically as they grow, and what factors (such as learning, parenting styles, reinforcement and genetic makeup) influence their behaviour and thinking. Anyone who lives or works with children will gain valuable insights into child behaviour. Students of counselling or psychology will be better prepared to understand childhood influences on later adult behaviour.

There are 12 lessons in this course:

  1. Introduction to Child Psychology
    • Levels of development, nature or nurture, isolating hereditary characteristics, cause versus correlation, continuity versus discontinuity, cross sectional and longitudinal studies, reliability of verbal reports
  2. The Newborn Infant
    • The interactionist approach, range of reaction, niche picking, temperament stimulus seeking, emotional disturbances during pregnancy
  3. States and Senses of the Infant
    • Sensory discrimination, infant states (sleep, inactivity, waking, crying etc), why psychologists are concerned with defining and describing infant states, habituation, crying, soothing a distressed baby, sensory discrimination, depth perception, oral sensitivity
  4. Learning
    • Habituation, vicarious learning, classical conditioning, operant conditioning, reinforcement, the importance of learning control, etc
  5. Emotions and Socialisation
    • Producing and recognising emotional expression, smiling, biological explanation, perceptual recognition, mother-child attachment, Freudian approach, Bowlby's approach, Social learning approach, Harlow's approach, role of cognition in attachment formation, day care
  6. Cognitive Development
    • Developing the ability to reason
  7. Language Development
    • Is language ability learned or innate? Social learning approach, hypothesis testing approach, under extending
  8. Intelligence
    • Measuring intelligence, cultural bias, IQ, testing intelligence as a tool.
  9. Socialisation ... Part A
    • Social cognition, self awareness, awareness of others, development of empathy, taking turns, having a point of view/perspective, social scripts, pretend play
  10. Morality
    • Moral development, aggression and altruism, Freud, Piaget and Kohlberg on moral development
  11. Sexuality
    • Freud's phases (oral phase, anal phase, phallic phase, latent phase, genital phase), gender and role identity, psycho-social development
  12. Socialisation ... Part B
    • Family influence, discipline, siblings, family structures, school influence, peer influence, acceptance and rejection, modelling, reinforcement.

Each lesson culminates in an assignment which is submitted to the school, marked by the school's tutors and returned to you with any relevant suggestions, comments, and if necessary, extra reading.


  • Identify environmental and social aspects required for the ideal environment for a developing child.
  • Explain how genetic and environmental factors operate together in influencing the child's personality development.
  • Provide evidence that a particular personality characteristic may be genetically determined.
  • Explain how genetic and environmental factors operate together in influencing the child's personality development.
  • Identify the type of learning in which a stimulus which usually produces an unconditioned response is manipulated to produce a conditioned response, and give an example.
  • Discuss exactly how you would use operant conditioning to encourage a child to socialise.
  • Apply the perceptual recognition approach to explain smiling and fear in infants.
  • Evaluate how Freud’s, Harlow’s and Bowlby’s explanations of the formation of mother-child attachments differ.
  • Explain reflection-impulsivity and its significance in cognitive development.
  • Explain the strengths and weakness of social learning theory in explaining language acquisition.
  • Explain why you think that intelligence is or is not overall genetically determined.

Learning Cloud Student feedback: "It's very interesting. I am always fascinated by childrens' behaviour. Helps in my work and with my own children, to have a clear understanding of their nature/nurture. I made the right choice (in choosing) my course. The credit goes to Learning Cloud." Judy Augustine, Child Care worker, Child Psychology courseAustralia.

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