The human brain develops most rapidly during the stage of early childhood – at least 1,000 neural connections are made per second. This could be one of the most important stages of growth when interventions are highly effective, and this is the reason UNICEF has prioritized Early Childhood Development in its overall planning.
Development is the term used to describe the changes in your child’s physical growth, as well as her ability to learn the social, emotional, behaviour, thinking and communication skills she needs for life. All of these areas are linked, and each depends on and influences the others.
In the first five years of life, your child’s brain develops more and faster than at any other time in his life. Your child’s early experiences – his relationships and the things he sees, hears, touches, smells and tastes – stimulate his brain, creating millions of connections. This is when the foundations for learning, health and behaviour throughout life are laid down.
Mother and Child Relationship:-
Mothers and their children are connected even before birth. All those months spent together mark the beginning of a sometimes challenging, yet rewarding, relationship. Moms have an important role in their child’s mental health because they provide basic necessities (i.e. food, water, shelter, and sleep) and form a secure attachment with their young child. Attachment is the emotional bond that develops between an infant and caregiver. Children who have healthy attachments with their caregivers are more likely to form stable relationships later in life.
Bonding is the attachment mothers rapidly form with their infants after birth. It is a positive emotional attachment that stimulates desire for rewarding interaction, initiates lactation, and changes the psychological state of a mother.
Babies do not come into the world with a blank mind as people believed in the 1940s, says Sarah Blaffer Hrdy, professor emeritus of anthropology at the University of California and author of Mother Nature: A History of Mothers, Infants, and Natural Selection (Pantheon Books, 1999). Hrdy says infants are, in fact, programmed to reach out for warmth and closeness.
It is widely accepted that human infants enter the world with a need for a primary attachment to a human figure, most notably the mother. The German psychologist John Bowlby introduced the concept of Environment and Evolutionary Adaptation. His ideas help explain why infants became attached to mothers—notably physical contact with their mother’s skin, stomach, heartbeat, body heat, smell, and movement. By flailing their arms and crying looking for comfort, infants could achieve what Bowlby called “the set-goal of proximity to mother.” This proximity then made them feel sufficiently secure.
A structure that helps your child learn to behave has routines and rules that are consistent, predictable, and have follow through. There is a basic routine you follow and rules you live by on most days of the week. You set appropriate expectations and limits for your child’s behaviors. Your child learns how you are going to respond to behaviors that are okay or not okay.
Structure helps parents and their kids. Kids feel safe and secure because they know what to expect. Parents feel confident because they know how to respond, and they respond the same way each time. Routines and rules help structure the home and make life more predictable.
The early years are critical, because this is the period in life when the brain develops most rapidly and has a high capacity for change, and the foundation is laid for health and wellbeing throughout life. Nurturing care – defined as care that is provided in a stable environment, that is sensitive to children’s health and nutritional needs, with protection from threats, opportunities for early learning, and interactions that are responsive, emotionally supportive and developmentally stimulating – is at the heart of children’s potential to develop
It’s normal for young children to test the limits. That’s how they learn what is right and wrong. But, it can be frustrating and really test our patience as parents! One way to keep control and help children learn is to create structure. Structure is created by consistent routines and rules. Rules teach children what behaviors are okay and not okay. Routines teach children what to expect throughout the day.
The most information learned occurs between birth and the age of three, during this time humans develop more quickly and rapidly than they would at any other point in their life. Love, affection, encouragement and mental stimulation from the parents or guardians of these young children aid in development. At this time in life, the brain is growing rapidly and it is easier for information to be absorbed; parts of the brain can nearly double in a year. During this stage, children need vital nutrients and personal interaction for their brain to grow properly. Children’s brains will expand and become more developed in these early years. Although adults play a huge part in early childhood development, the most important way children develop is interaction with other children. Children develop close relationships with the children they spend a large period of time with. Close relationships with peers develop strong social connections that can be transferred later in life, even children at an early age have a preference of whom they want to interact with or form friendships with. Howes (1983) research suggested that there are distinctive characteristics of friendships, for infants, toddler and pre-school aged children.