The term Early Childhood Development refers to a child’s overall development between birth and nine years of age. Areas of development include physical, cognitive, social and language abilities. When children are young, the bonds they form with their parents and their first learning experiences form the foundation for their development later on.
The best investment we can make as a society is to optimise the early years of our children’s success. Children who are supported in the early years achieve more success in school. As adults they have better employment and earn more money. They are also healthier, less dependent on government welfare programmes and less likely to be involved in crime.
Cognitive development – or brain development – describes how a child’s intellect grows. It includes thinking, learning and problem-solving skills. And these skills will affect all other areas of development.
Early childhood development plays a key role here. The first three years of a child’s life are critical for learning. Not only is it a period of great potential, but also a period of vulnerability. With the correct stimulation and nurturance, you can ensure the best outcomes for their children.
Here are ideas to encourage brain development:
Babies can feel stress. And Early Childhood Development is hampered when your child’s brain is constantly in this heightened state. Hold, cuddle and comfort your baby. This lets her know that you are there to help whenever she is upset. Studies show that responsive, loving and supportive care helps babies handle stress better than if care is inconsistent.
Early childhood development goals are easily achieved when learning is paired with enjoyment. And what better way to do this than through play? Engage your baby’s brain though games, talking and singing. Play “Peek-a-boo” or hold toys out that grab her attention. Talk to your baby about what you are doing while you complete everyday household tasks. Toddlers love songs like “Old McDonald” and “Twinkle, twinkle little star”. Encourage pretend play, colouring, drawing and painting or build with blocks and other construction toys. These all help to foster imagination, creativity and problem solving skills.
One of the best ways to promote early childhood development is through reading. Long before your baby can recognize letters or words, reading kick starts language development and communication skills. Storybooks help your child’s brain to connect words and pictures. Rereading the same book might seem a little boring to you, right? But it helps your child learn new words. You might not think that “giraffe” is a difficult word, but to a brand new brain it’s quite unfamiliar. Hearing the same story several times also helps your baby focus on different aspects of the book.
When we provide young children with opportunities to learn and develop in healthy, interesting environments where they feel loved and secure, we set them up for success – both in the short term as well as the long-term.
For more information about the importance of childhood development, or to book a consultation, contact Anel Annandale at 083 711 5267 or via email at email@example.com.