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Thursday, August 13, 2009

Early Childhood

Early childhood is an important phase in the life of human beings. It may prove to be a troublesome time for the parents of toddlers since they have to be extremely conscious about the child’s physical care. The biological and brain development of children during the first few years of their lives depend entirely on the quality of stimulation that is evoked by their environment – at all the three levels of family, community, as well as the society.

Studies have indicated that the first three years of a child’s life are extremely crucial for both the emotional and intellectual development.

According to James J. Heckman, “Early childhood interventions of high quality have lasting effects on learning and motivation”.
Early childhood development is actually an umbrella term encompassing a child’s social, emotional, language, literacy, physical, creative, and cognitive development. All these developmental stages are inter-related. They collectively contribute to the all-round development of the child. However, children develop their milestones at their own pace.

Therefore, it is imperative for parents to give special attention to the needs of their children. Early child development is thus a lifelong determinant of well-being, health, and learning skills of the child in the future. Here are some important aspects of early childhood development that parents need to be aware of:

1. The first six years of life are extremely crucial for the growth and development in children. As a matter of fact, their mental growth is accelerated when they receive adequate attention, love and affection, mental stimulation, and encouragement. Preschool child development occupies a pivotal position in the lives of the infants. It is during this phase that parental responsibilities towards the growing child become most important. It has been proved by research studies that children tend to develop a more extensive vocabulary if their parents involve them in frequent conversations.

2. Early childhood is an exploratory age when kids begin to discover their surroundings. It is an imitative age as well. Kids start picking up the mannerisms, speech, and actions of elders around them. Parents therefore should be appropriate in their behavior in front of children. Research has identified the particularly critical areas in early childhood development: vision, logical thinking, language, music, and emotion. These are considered as "windows of opportunity", and should be considered as important aspects of their development.

3. In early childhood, behavior problems seem to be more troublesome and frequent as compared to problems related to the physical care of children. If their actions are unsupervised, they might grow up to be disobedient, obstinate, antagonistic, and stubborn. Parents should pay extra attention to the needs of their children.The social behavior of individuals at a grown up stage is determined by the way they have been nurtured by parents during their early childhood years. Therefore, it is extremely crucial to ensure that children are not only provided with proper nutrition and education, but also protected from abuse, harm, and discrimination.

The state of early childhood development, when measured with a comparable approach, results in the betterment of the child and subsequently, the entire community

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