Naturalistic Observation of Children’s Behavior

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Naturalistic observation provides a researcher with the possibility to observe people and the particular features of their appearance and behavior within the natural environment without controlling and regulating the situation. To receive more evidences related to the behavior of children, it is important to observe the definite age groups in the situation and surroundings which are typical and familiar for them. Toddlers and pre-school children were selected for observing the particular features of their appearance and behavior in the situation of playing at the playground. The purpose of the observation was to collect the remarks about the children’s appearance and behavior and compare them with the theoretical findings on which the researcher’s expectations are based.

Group 1: Toddlers (2-3 years)

Physical Status and Appearance

According to Erickson, toddlers are inclined to express their will and desire for autonomy, but have the strong connections with parents (Quinn, 2010). The observed toddlers were led to the playground by their parents. It is typical for children of this age to run and jump much while playing. Children looked their age, and their physical activities were also correlated with their age years in relation to the level of fatigue after running and jumping much.


Toddlers communicated much with their parents, expressing a wide range of emotions. However, the non-verbal communication with the help of gestures and movements was more active than the verbal one. The predominant tone of voice can be characterized as requesting.


It is necessary to provide toddlers with the opportunity to spend much time outdoors to stimulate their physical activity and contribute to their natural phylaxis (Hockenberry & Wilson, 2010).

Group 2: Pre-school children (3-5 years)

Physical Status and Appearance

Pre-school children often come to the playground with their parents, but the level of control is different. Some children look older than they are, and these children demonstrate the physical dominance while playing with the other children. The children play with each other actively, choosing games in which it is necessary to run much.


Erickson states that pre-school children often express initiative in their activities (Quinn, 2010). Thus, the children of this age group are inclined to communicate with the other children of their age. The verbal communication is oriented to demonstrating children’s emotions and desires. Crying, children demonstrate their disagreement and draw the parents and the other children’s attention. The non-verbal language is used actively to make the other child do something.


It is important to provide children with the possibility to play active games where their physical activities are high, but it is necessary to regulate the children’s aggression directed toward each other in the active games (Staempfli, 2009).

Personal Reflections

The observation helped find the correlations between the theoretical approach to the children’s development and the analysis of the actual situations in which children look and behave in relation to their age. It is significant to pay much attention to developing children’s communication skills and to the level of children’s possible aggression.

The results of the naturalistic observation are useful for accentuating the important role of the physical activities in the form of outdoor games for toddlers and pre-school children’s physical and emotional development. Moreover, while interacting with the other children during the play, children have the opportunity to develop and improve their social skills and communication.


Hockenberry, M. J., & Wilson, D. (2010). Wong’s nursing care of infants and children. USA: Mosby.

Quinn, G. (2010). Behavioral science. USA: McGraw-Hill.

Staempfli, M. B. (2009). Reintroducing adventure into children’s outdoor play environments. Environment and Behavior, 41(3), 268-280.

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PsychologyWriting. (2022) 'Naturalistic Observation of Children's Behavior'. 19 April.


PsychologyWriting. 2022. "Naturalistic Observation of Children's Behavior." April 19, 2022.

1. PsychologyWriting. "Naturalistic Observation of Children's Behavior." April 19, 2022.


PsychologyWriting. "Naturalistic Observation of Children's Behavior." April 19, 2022.