Children who are raised by caring and attentive adults in safe and nurturing environments are better learners than children who are raised in less stimulating settings. Furthermore, a well-functioning family during the infant’s first few years offers an essential building block for healthy development and growth.
How can parents or caregivers stimulate their young child’s development? “The Starting Points’” report on children and healthy development makes the following suggestions:
- Sensitive and nurturing parents provide children with a sense of basic trust that allows them to feel confident in exploring the world and establishing good relations with other children and adults around them.
- Touching, holding and rocking your baby and stimulating him or her through talking and reading provide the building blocks for intellectual skills and language comprehension.
- When you establish consistent routines, teach positive behaviors, help your child control dis-ruptive behaviors and follow healthy habits, your child is more likely to behave in socially ac-ceptable ways.
During their first years of life, young children learn to get along with others, to resolve disputes in a peaceful way, to be self-confident and to explore their world with no fear. Your child can develop those tasks as long as he or she is around mature and self-controlled adults who under-stand the importance of human development. Be a role model for your child.
Be sure to spend quality time with your child every day. That way, you can build trust and a healthy bond, which might contribute to his or her healthy development.
Starting Points: Meeting the Needs of Our Youngest Children (Carnegie Corporation of New York, 1994).
Source: Angelica S. Reina, Senior Extension Specialist for Child Development and Parent-ing Education, University of Kentucky; College of Agriculture, Food and Environment
Rachel Hance is the Logan County Extension Agent for Family & Consumer Sciences.