This holiday season as families gather together, the Ounce is celebrating the moments that matter. These are the moments you spend with your child that create a special and lasting bond, and the stronger that bond, the better her chances are for success in school and life.
How children learn in the early years is vastly different from how they learn as they enter the K–12 system. In the first years of life, your child is learning how to learn. How she experiences her first days, months, even minutes, of life shapes the kind of student and adult she will become. Your baby’s brain is forming an astounding 700 synapses per second, and the first three years are the period of the most rapid brain development. During these early years, every moment matters. How you, as her parent, and family and other caregivers respond to her needs shapes how her young brain will develop.
Babies thrive when they form secure attachments with their parents, and the security and trust that they feel in this relationship help them regulate their emotions and behaviors. Secure children are on the right path for school readiness and will develop critical skills like curiosity, a willingness to explore, enthusiasm and a pleasure in learning and independence.
It’s critical that your child’s earliest relationships are inspiring, encouraging and educational. Every book you read, laugh you share, hug you give, “why?” you answer, or word of encouragement you deliver has a dramatic impact on your child’s development.
Here are some activities that you can do with your child to make those critical moments matter:
- Read a book with your child and talk about what they see on the pages and what the story is about. You’ll not only be creating a conversation, but bonding as well.
- Baking cookies together is a fun way to build lasting memories and let your child express her creativity.
- While watching a holiday movie, make that screen time educational, fun and interactive by talking to your child about the characters and what each character is doing.
- Singing songs is a fun way to practice her skills in music and memorizing information.