The early years of your little one’s life are some of the most important when it comes to emotional, physical and social development and lifelong health. While your immediate concern may be the newly found marker drawings on the walls, events that occur during the first years of life, as well as the environment, can impact your child as an adult — but no pressure!
The social conditions surrounding your little one have an immediate (and often permanent) impact on his social, language and emotional development, according to the World Health Organization. Children are aware of the temperaments and emotions of those around them, and take cues from those they trust. So, yes, your child learns how to behave, obey social rules, express anger, develop empathy and communicate by watching you, even if you think he can’t understand the situation or your words and emotions. If you act like Miss Sassy Pants, there’s a good chance that your little one will develop a sharp tongue. However, if you practice kindness, you’ll find that your child will follow suit.
Your Bank Account
During the first few years of life, economics can have an effect on the overall development of a child. A report from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation states that a family’s income level can directly affect’s a child’s housing quality, safety, nutrition, health, development and education. Fortunately, a parent who has a lower income can help prevent developmental delays in her children by making sure the mother receives professional help for maternal depression if she needs to, taking the time to bond with her little one (make daily play-time a must), exposing a child to safe social interactions (no yelling matches or physical violence), ensuring good nutrition and by keeping scheduled pediatric check-ups.
An eco-friendly home is a kid-friendly home. Regardless of your income level or neighborhood, exposure to substances like lead-based paints, pesticides, insecticides, molds and allergens may cause permanent health issues (like asthma) and developmental delays in your child because her brain and immune system aren’t fully developed. While you don’t need to keep your house clean enough to pass a white glove test, getting rid of lead-based paints (there’s a test for that) and keeping your dwelling tidy can go a long way toward the healthy development of your little one.
The foods that your child eats play a key role in healthy emotional and physical development. Malnutrition, which can include eating too much junk food (the notorious “sometimes” foods) and not enough healthy foods, can affect a little one’s physical growth, motor skills, ability to learn and pay attention, sleeping habits and immune system. When a child has a well-balanced diet, he is more likely to stay on track with his developmental milestones. Kids often want to eat the same things that their parents eat, so packing your plate with veggies that you like (don’t choke down Brussel sprouts if you hate them) and wholesome foods can encourage healthy eating habits in your child as he grows.