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Category: Medical

Topic: Life Span Development

Level: Paramedic

14 minute read


For toddlers, the normal weight range is between 18 lbs and 32 lbs.

For preschoolers, the normal weight range is between 32 lbs and 41 lbs.

Cardiovascular System: the cardiovascular system in toddlers and preschool-age children is markedly different from that of the cardiovascular system of adults.

  • Heart rate recovery is much faster in children.
  • During submaximal steady-state exercise, heart rate and total peripheral resistance are higher, while stroke volume and cardiac output are lower at a given rate of work.
  • During maximal exercise intensities, the heart rate of children is higher while stroke volume and cardiac output are lower at a given rate of work.

The cardiovascular system in toddlers and preschoolers is able to compensate without much change in vital signs, but when decompensation occurs, it occurs rapidly.

Renal System: the renal system in toddlers and preschool-age children continues to develop until age 2. Until that time, the kidneys and urinary bladder are still growing.

Dental System: the primary teeth are still erupting into the mouth at this age, with the toddler and preschool-age child beginning to eat more solid foods and starting to incorporate a dental hygiene regimen.

Sensory: learning is built upon sensory and motor interaction with the world. Children of this age group are learning to interact with their surroundings based on sight, touch, taste, smell, sound, and pain.

All sensory functions are developed, but the coordination of these sensory functions is still being honed, especially in the brain where the sensory perception areas are maturing in their association with the sensory association areas. (Perception is the mere reception of signals; the association is the interpretation of those signals into a meaningful perspective.)

Psychological Aspects of Toddler and Pre-school Age Development

Sibling Relationships: almost 80% of children grow up with a sibling and these are often the longest-lasting relationships in one's lifetime.

The four major characteristics of sibling relationships are:

  1. emotionally charged,
  2. deep knowledge or intimacy of one another,
  3. large individual differences in the quality of children’s relations with one another, and
  4. power, control, rivalry, and jealousy as sources of contention.

Peer Group Functions:

In the infant stage, children have strictly ego-centered concepts of self, regardless of peers, whereas, at approximately 2-3 years of age, reciprocal peer interactions begin, generally in a childcare setting outside of the home.

Peer groups are a significant source of socialization in children, as they tend to spend more time within peer groups than around adults or other family members. Participation in peer groups teaches children the transactional process of give-and-take among peers, which is generally not possible in relationships with adults. Through this setting, children learn friendship, companionship, attention sharing, and acceptance. Peer groups teach children how to follow rules and assume expected roles within society.

Parenting Styles and their effect on children:

There are four main types of parenting styles, labeled as

  1. authoritarian parenting,
  2. authoritative parenting,
  3. permissive-indifferent parenting, and
  4. permissive-indulgent parenting.
  • Authoritarian parenting is characterized by high demands and low responsiveness. These parents have very high expectations of their children, yet provide very little in the way of feedback and nurturance. Mistakes are punished harshly, and when feedback does occur, it is often negative.

  • Authoritative parenting is a child-centered parenting style characterized by close interaction of the parent with the child while maintaining high expectations for behavior and performance, as well as a firm adherence to schedules and discipline.

  • Permissive-indifferent parenting is characterized by parents that set few limits, provide little monitoring, and are generally detached and uninvolved. Their children have poor self-control, are demanding, minimally compliant, and have poor interpersonal skills.

  • Permissive-indulgent parenting is characterized by parents that are loving and emotionally available, yet set few limits, demands or controls. Their children tend to be impulsive, immature, and out of control. This style is also termed impulsive and leads to children who are termed impulsive-aggressive.

Divorce and Children:

Toddler and preschool-age children already require much attention, care, love and confirmation from their parents. Thus children at this age group are affected by divorce in that they have lingering feelings of uncertainty and often blame themselves for the situation. These children may become even more dependent on their parents in desperate attempts to reaffirm their relationship with them.

Seeming to backtrack, children of this age group may start wetting the bed again after they have already made it through this stage and also will not or do not want to do simple tasks that they were able to do before. It takes upwards of two years for children to adjust after a divorce.


Most toddlers and preschool-age children are exposed to television either by directly watching or having one on in the background from anywhere between two and four hours a day. This has been linked to delayed language development and kindergarten readiness skills.

Normal perception of visual situations of varying time durations are a part of maturation, but when the speeds of televised scene changes, film editing, or commercial images (purposely constructed to grab attention) exceed a child's temporal processing, they can contribute to attention disorders, sleep problems, behavior problems and effects on social development, classroom engagement, and academic achievement later in life.