The first 5 years of a child’s life, they tend to rely on their parents for guidance as well as emotional, social and intellectual development. It is up to the parents to make sure they are healthy as well. Babies also look to their parents to protect them and take care of all their needs. It is very difficult to try and narrow down which factors of development are most important here especially since there are so many aspects to the development of a child. Hence, a lot of the supporting factors mentioned below may rely on each other or overlap.
- Nurturing: Nurturing is very important as far as the development of a child is concerned. A nurturing parent will provide affection, warmth, protection and food for a baby. Without nurturing parents, healthy development is all but impossible and a baby is not going to be able to thrive. Children should feel safe, especially since they can be very vulnerable and rely quite a bit on adults. Parents need to protect their children from physical harm as well as emotional harm. That’s why it is so important to introduce safety rules into their development before any other rules.
- Emotions: Babies are usually in tune with the emotions of their parents. They are sponges for any emotions that are being expressed around them. In the early years of a child, parents need to maintain a positive mood around them and respond using nothing but happiness, love and affection. Babies respond to smiling parents with joy and should be able to easily model these emotions. They will also be able to sense stressed parents who are unhappy. Happiness certainly won’t rule out negative emotions altogether, but a child that is feeling happiness will probably be able to manage feelings like fear, frustration and anger better on their own. Some parents may often disregard the emotions of their babies and this may start creating barriers. Surrounding them with negativity, fighting, being frustrated, etc. around them will certainly be detrimental to their development. Just because they don’t understand what you’re saying doesn’t mean they do not understand the tone or reactions.
- Play: As a parent, taking out time to read and play with your children will help their intellectual growth too. It is very important for the development of their language. It helps with their creativity and social development as well. It prepares them to enter school and other social learning environments. The use of age appropriate toys and games will surely help enhance the healthy development of a baby too.
- Discipline: Discipline is very important for helping a child get through life. But there are certain methods of inculcating discipline which may harm their wellbeing. Being understanding and patient will go a very long way with a child. Staying calm and avoid harsh disciplining is highly effective when it comes to the early development of a child. Communication should be open and there should be regular discussions on the appropriate behavior in various situations along with rewards for positive behavior. Boundaries should be created and also reinforced, but logically.
It is quite amazing how important the first couple of years of a child’s life are. The impact on them during this time is unbelievable. Acknowledging a child’s uniqueness and respecting them, loving them, caring for them and supporting them is very important.