In the first three years of your child’s life, his or her brain is producing more than a million neural connections each second. These connections are what allow your little one to to acquire the skills necessary to interact with the world around her, and take her from a dependent baby to an independent and exploratory toddler in the blink of an eye. Healthy development is necessary to ensure your child’s mental, emotional, and physical well-being as she grows up.
How your child develops in the first three years
There are five core areas of development to pay attention to as your child matures:
Your baby communicates with you the best that he can; as he grows, he develops both nonverbal and verbal communication skills. At first, he may cry and maintain eye contact, then learn to smile. Eventually, his coos will turn into words and then into sentences.
Fine Motor Skills
These skills relate to your child’s ability to manipulate small muscles. This begins with tracking movement with her eyes to wiggling her fingers and grasping at objects. Eventually, fine motor skills are what enable your child to feed and clothe herself. Any small, focused movement is the result of the development of fine motor skills.
Gross Motor Skills
This is your child’s ability to move and control large muscle groups. The first sign of development in this area is your child holding up his head. Then, he will start to control and manipulate his limbs. As these skills develop, so too will your little one’s ability to move and explore the world around him. He will learn to sit up, crawl, stand, walk, etc, all because of his gross motor skills.
Your child is learning from infancy to grasp concepts and develop thinking skills. Facial recognition, memory, and attention are all skills she develops early on. As she grows, she will learn things like cause and effect, spatial relationships, imitation, organization, and classification.
Social and Emotional
Babies and toddlers are constantly developing the ability to create relationships and interact with others. Your child’s social and emotional development also includes the understanding and expression of self and how those are related to other people, as well.
What impacts your child’s development
The day-to-day aspects of your child’s life determine his or her development. Children need healthy, nurturing relationships that allow them to grow and explore. An environment should encourage a child to develop his own internal motivation to explore and master the world around him. The best way any parent can support their child’s development is to be a caregiver who protects, encourages, and offers opportunities to explore.
Basic steps to encourage healthy development
As a parent, there are several small things you can do to create a healthy developmental environment for your child:
--Show warmth and sensitivity
--Build a trusting relationship
--Use a variety of methods of communication, like hand gestures, words, facial expressions, etc.
--Model and demonstrate ways of accomplishing tasks
--Provide opportunities for both independent and interactive exploration
--And, most importantly, show your little one that he or she is loved
Recognize your child’s uniqueness
Creating a healthy and stable environment for your child to grow and explore is important, but equally as important is the knowledge that development is an ongoing, individualized process. Your little one may advance very quickly in one area, but take his or her time in another. You know your child best, and comparing his or her development to someone else’s kid isn’t necessarily the best benchmarker. If you do have concerns about your child’s development, speak to your pediatrician.
The first three years of your child’s life are about setting a strong foundation for the years to come. Pooka Box was founded to deliver the best in childhood toys, books, and activities to families to ensure their child(ren)’s healthy development. Help your child establish a love for learning and exploration by purchasing a quarterly subscription to one of our fun, engaging boxes!