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Creating early emotional bonding with young children and stimulating their development
The early years, especially the first three years of life, are very important for building a baby’s brain. Everything she or he sees, touches, tastes, smells or hears helps to shape the brain for thinking, feeling, moving and learning.
A child’s brain develops rapidly during the first five years of life, especially the first three years. It is a time of rapid cognitive, linguistic, social, emotional and motor development. The child’s brain grows as she or he sees, feels, tastes, smells and hears.
Each time the child uses one of the senses, a neural connection is made in the child’s brain. New experiences repeated many times help make new connections, which shape the way the child thinks, feels, behaves and learns now and in the future.
A close relationship between the child and caregivers is the best way to nourish the child’s growing brain. When a caregiver plays with and sings, speaks, reads or tells a story to the child and nurtures her or him with healthy food, love and affection, the child’s brain grows.
Being healthy, interacting with caregivers and living in a safe and clean environment can make a big difference in the child’s growth, development and future potential.
Babies need lots of care and affection in the early years. Holding, cuddling and talking to the child stimulates brain growth and promotes emotional development.
Boys and girls have the same physical, mental, emotional and social needs. Both have the same capacity for learning. Both have the same need for affection, attention and approval.
Key facts each family should know about early bonding and child development:
- Babies learn rapidly from the moment of birth. They grow and learn best when responsive and caring parents and other caregivers give them affection, attention and stimulation in addition to good nutrition, proper health care and protection;
- Encouraging children to play and explore helps them learn and develop socially, emotionally, physically and intellectually. This helps children get ready for school;
- Children learn how to behave (socially and emotionally) by imitating the behaviour of those closest to them – be a good role model for a child;
- Entering primary school on time is critical to ensure the continuity of a child’s development. Support from parents, other caregivers, teachers and the community is very important;
- All children grow and develop in similar patterns, but each child develops at her or his own pace. Every child has her or his own interests, temperament, style of social interaction and approach to learning.