THE IMPORTANCE OF EARLY CHILDHOOD DEVELOPMENT

by Andrew H. Jones, Community Relations Coordinator, Sun Life Family Health Center

Children are constantly learning, and parents are a defining factor for the child’s developmental milestones. According to the Encyclopedia on Early Childhood Development, “The emotional, social and physical development of young children has a direct effect on their overall development and on the adult they will become, thus understanding the need to invest in very young children is so important, so as to maximize their future well-being”. A positive, happy home, full of love and emotion is the best environment for a child to thrive. Parents can help to achieve a stable learning environment by developing a routine for the child to include healthy eating habits, play-time learning, personal hygiene care and simple tasks relative to the child’s age and competency level. Below is a list of benefits that effect early childhood development and have a lifelong impact:

  • Good nutrition, health and exercise are critical.
  • Children are born ready to learn.
  • The best learning happens in nurturing relationships.
  • The brain develops through use.
  • Children’s well-being is critical to brain development and learning.
  • Children learn through being engaged and doing.
  • Children learn from watching and copying.
  • Children learn language by listening to it and using it.

Children are stimulated with various opportunities that can be incorporated into everyday activities. The parent should make the daily routine a positive learning experience to explore new (and exciting) ways for the child to expand his or her developmental goals. Allow and empower the child to do for themselves what he or she is capable of doing. For example, teaching children, as opposed to taking over and doing even the smallest task for the child, is a huge example of how developmental milestones can be met. Reading to your child will also build communication, language and literacy skills. Describing shapes, textures and colors for the child will allow him or her to begin to know the world around them, increase their general knowledge and stimulate their thinking abilities.

While these activities address some of the overall development for the child, there are factors that will greatly determine your child’s ability to learn. Genetics can determine the child’s prognosis of learning and retaining information. If there is a learning difference in the bloodline, chances are the child will inherit the difference as well. Therefore the parent will then need to take measures to understand how the child learns conducive to his or her ability.

Want to see where your child stands on their developmental landmark? Please follow up with your Sun Life Family Health Center pediatrician to discuss your concerns with a provider.

Tip of the Month: Educational Activities

Visit your local library for fun educational activities that will stimulate your child’s development.

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Sun Life Family Health Center in Maricopa presents: Meet the Expert 

Sun Life Family Health Center is partnering with the Maricopa Public Library to promote early learning literacy and educational programs within the community. Please join Dr. Stella Raposas, MD, FAAP and Dana Rodriguez, PHD, APNP-BC the first Wednesday and third Thursday of every month from 9:15 a.m. – 10:15 a.m. at the Maricopa Public Library. This event will provide story time for the children and an opportunity for parents and adult family members to meet with local healthcare providers. Our goal is to help and provide information to parents about non-medical wellness, development and health behaviors. This is a great opportunity to meet our pediatric providers and ask non-medical questions relating to the day-to-day physical and emotional health of your children.