September 9, 2014
First 3 Years
In the past, it was a debatable topic on just how vital the first few years were to an infant and toddler. People were quite doubtful on how influential such early experiences were and how they carried over to later years with them. Thanks to modern day research, we now know that the experiences that take place and occur during the early years of a child’s life will have a “long-lasting effect on who that person is and will become” (Wittmer & Petersen, 9).
A child’s brain develops quickly within the first few years of life; the first 3 being the most crucial. Within those first 3 years, the child develops cognitive, emotional, social, linguistic and motor development. Parents and caregivers play active roles in children’s brain development. When they take care of a child, they are doing a lot more than just feeding, playing and cleaning up all day long. These people are what shape the importance of social and emotional relations in child development starting at such a very young age. They’re helping the child’s brain to mature by shaping his/her character and teaching that child about the world on a daily basis. These early experiences are what lay down the outline for all future development in his/her life.
Our textbook states that, “The array and quality of children’s relationships exist within and throughout a web of interconnected circles, with each relationship influencing the other” (Wittmer & Petersen, 4). Forming and keeping a close relationship with a parent or caregiver can help nourish a child’s developing brain. When they talk, sing, play, and read stories to the young child the brain grows. When they nourish the child with healthy food, love, and affection, the brain grows. The relationships that are most imperative in an infant’s and a young child’s life would be that of their caregiver which can be their birth parents, step parents, adoptive parents, even other family members. Anyone taking care of that child on a daily basis needs to be involved in caring and nurturing the growth, learning and development of that child. As children’s brains mature, their emotions do as well. By creating a positive growing environment that surrounding caretakers all take a part in together, those infants and young children can flourish tremendously, and it is much more likely for them to grow up happy, secure and well balanced.
When using a relationship-based model, which “recognizes that constructive caring relationships are fundamental to the