The early years of a child’s life can drastically impact their behaviour and way of living. From the bonds they form to their experiences with playtime and learning, each aspect of a child’s life can strongly affect their development. Early childhood development is concerned with the period of intellectual and emotional development usually from ages 0-8, a period that is crucially important in cognitive, emotional and physical development through to adulthood.
How can we contribute to early childhood development?
Early childhood development revolves around the understanding that a caring, nurture filled environment is crucial for a child’s growing up. Children who experience a lack of nurture can endure difficulties in their social skills and be more challenged at school, limiting their growth in adulthood as a result. Caring for young people’s mental wellness is just as important as looking after their body and physical health. Here, we talk you through why three simple methods can help nurture children and enhance their early development.
Being a bookworm when working with children is the best thing you could be. It’s never too soon to read aloud to babies (and we don’t mean Shakespearean novels), reading simple picture books together will be a comforting experience and slowly build up a love for stories. Hearing words and matching them with pictures kickstarts their communication skills by joining the dots and connects the two. This will be useful for when a child starts to learn how to speak and communicate for themselves and building up their own individual personality.
Creativity and imagination are more important traits than you may think. Letting children have an imagination allows them to problem solve and think for themselves, leading to more confidence as they grow and distinguishing who they are as a person. Vital skills are learned when children begin to play and social skills are enhanced when they play together, not to mention traits like empathy and kindness when interacting with playmates. A good amount of playtime when growing up can have such a positive impact on a person’s adulthood, with the ability to learn new skills and think creatively being more prominent in those that did.
Saying no to TV!
We’re not saying that turning on the TV can be a sin when caring for a child, but it certainly shouldn’t be their main source of learning and entertainment. TV can never truly engage children the way that real life interaction can. Entertainment with carers provides communication between the child and the subject matter, with questions that can be answered in real time and can be personalised to that child’s personality or interest. Real life interaction is key for a child to use all senses and hear the voices of the bonds they will form when growing up.
TV isn’t just a simple trick to get children distracted so you can put dinner on the table, it can be seriously damaging. Staring at screens, wether that be TV, tablets or phones, contributes to sleep, attention span and even short-term memory loss when growing up.
According to a neuroscientific study regarding cognitive development, a baby’s brain forms new connections at a rate of more than one million per second; the fastest in a person’s life. With this knowledge, we should treat young children with the nurture and respect they need to enhance their learning and thus, their future.
Our Early Childhood Development & Learning degree is available at CU Coventry, CU London and CU Scarborough campuses. The course has been designed to develop careers in the early years sector, working with children to create a rewarding career or contributing to important research.