Why Start Early?
Perspective from a new mom:
“A brand-new baby and they were going to send me home? Alone! I had no family, no friends, no money, no life. Then one day that call came. I wish it could have been sooner. I was so scared, so confused, so lonely and so tired. She was kind, compassionate, understanding and talkative. She instantly became my lifeline.”
New parents are excited to learn about their babies and want to do the best job they can.
Research shows that the first 2 years of life are critical for the formation of connections between brain cells. These “maps” in the brain allow learning to take place and are the foundation of school readiness. Brain research also shows parent’s brains are the most malleable in the first several months of their first parenting experience.
A child must be cared for in a home that allows them to develop feelings of trust, worthiness and security. To encourage the development of attachment in relationships (connecting with important people in their lives), children must be noticed and responded to when they are hurt, ill, upset, frightened, lonely, joyful or proud. They need to know that the people in their world are predictable, positive and stable.
Brain development in young children is heavily influenced by environmental conditions. By providing movement, emotion, language and music in an infant or toddler’s experience, important pathways in the brain are developed. This decreases the likelihood of future difficulties in many areas of functioning.
We have the greatest chance for success when we can help new parents get off to a good start by establishing good patterns.
- Dr. Bruce Perry articles. More information can be found at www.ChildTrauma.org.
- Perry, B.D. Childhood Experience and the Expression of Genetic Potential: What Childhood Neglect Tells Us About Nature and Nurture Brain and Mind. Infant Mental Health Journal 3: 79-100, 2002.
- Landy, Sarah. Pathways to Competence. Paul H. Brookes Publishing Co., 2002
- The First Years Last Forever. The New Brain Research and Your Child’s Healthy Development, printed by Canadian Institute of Child Health. Access at https://cichprofile.ca/wp-content/uploads/2018/11/I-am-Your-Child_2014-English.pdf.