Basic early childhood care influences a baby’s neurological development
Did you know that the first two years and a half in the life of a child are very important for its future?
According to experts, the way parents take care of their babies may interfere with their capacity to perform some functions, such as motor coordination, recognition of objects, voices and sounds, interpretation and reading, among other skills.
Thus, being concerned from a very early age – including during pregnancy – with children’s diet, family ties and activities that stimulate affection, creativity and the senses is very important in order to enhance a child’s neurocognitive performance.
Pediatrician and Advisor to the Presidency of the Pediatrics Society of the State of Rio Grande do Sul, Rita de Cássia Ferreira da Silva, explained that such stimuli, both from the genes and from the environment, already start in the mother’s tummy.
“Care and the pattern of a pregnancy are fundamental. In addition to that, factors such as quality breastfeeding, mutual ties, family structure at the socio-economic level, and the time a mother or main caregiver spend with a child make a difference for its future,” she stressed.
It is expected that at each stage a baby learns a new skill. But it is only after it has fully mastered a skill it will move on to the next one. For example, firstly a baby needs to steady its head and then learn to seat on its own, and after that crawl in order to finally walk.
This is an ongoing learning process and depends on the individuality of each child and on the stimuli it receives, and involves memory, language, sight, motor coordination, thinking, interaction with other people and objects, and recognition of voices and sounds. That’s why each baby develops itself at its own pace.
Playing with a baby, talking to it, stimulating it with toys and objects adequate for each age group, making it listen to music, allowing it to explore the surrounding environment, colors, lights and sounds are activities that arouse curiosity and the wish to learn in a child.
One of the most important aspects during that time is encouraging a child to read. Even if a child cannot understand the words, parents should invest time on that. Studies have shown that this practice prepares small children for schooling and creates a connection between learning and reading.
If you already do all of that, do not forget also to invest in love and care. “During the first year it is all about affection, building ties and attachment. A child conveys signs of what it wants and a family has to know how to recognize those signs and understand them. As for the problem-solving and sociability skills, they are only perceived during the second year of life,” Rita complemented.