The early years of a child’s existence are very crucial to help develop, support and nurture a child’s future. Studies have shown that our most impressive years (the year that the outside world makes the biggest mark on who we are) are between 0-5 years old. Basically, our personality, how we view the world and how we see ourselves is greatly formed in these important years. Therefore, children need to grow up where their social, emotional and educational needs are met in a loving and safe environment with boundaries and discipline. Having a safe and loving home, spending time with family playing, communicating, reading, laughing and singing are very important. Nutrition, exercise and sleep make a huge difference in the well-being of a child because it helps support all the above.
Word to the Wise:
BOTH parents are crucial for different roles and different purposes.
A father facilitates a child’s physical and social development by playing with the child. Psychology Today reports that a father’s interaction with an infant stimulates playful activity to a higher degree than does a mother. A child with an involved, caring father tends to have better educational outcomes. Such involvement extends its influence into their adolescence, with numbers studies indicating that the nurturing of a father has a close association with the child’s intellectual functioning, development of verbal skills and academic performance, notes Psychology Today.
There are a few base-line environmental factors that help children thrive across all cultures and family styles. Scientific studies found that children thrive the most when they are happy, healthy and loved with these few basic needs incorporated:
- Support health and safety
- Responding to needs and emergencies in a predictable way
- Having routines and household rules and boundaries
- Reading to your child
- Showing warmth and sensitivity
- Using appropriate discipline where the punishment matches the “crime”
Skills such as smiling, saying their first word, taking their first step, waving “bye-bye” and crawling are all childhood development that come at their own pace. However, the development milestones give a general idea of changes and what to expect, especially if intervention may be needed. If a parent ever suspects a problem, they should always speak with their pediatrician and share their concerns.