When your baby is born, she arrives with the generous gift of potential nature has given her. Some children are born with more potential than others, but all children have the ability to attain their own form of success. Environment plays a big role in early child development. As much as you might want to think your baby was born a genius, you have to do a little work to help her reach her potential. Several environmental aspects are critical to helping a child move forward.
Importance of Nutrition
Your child needs to eat an appropriate amount of wholesome food daily in order to thrive and be healthy. As much as your little one might want to eat chicken nuggets, cookies and ice cream for each meal, doing so will not give him the nutrients he needs. Children who have enough to eat and who eat the right kinds of food feel better and do better in school. Children in food insecure homes might not have enough enough food or might end up eating foods with too many calories and not a lot of nutritional value.
A child who is undernourished or malnourished is at a disadvantage and will be less likely to reach his natural potential physically and cognitively.
Exposure to Hazards
Many parents take drastic measures to baby-proof their homes. Whether you install the toilet latch that your husband detests or you line table edges with pool noodles, you are making every effort to keep your child safe and sound. Children who are kept away from environmental dangers have a better chance of reaching their maximum potential. Children who are exposed to health hazards such as lead paint, poor air quality, or unsafe drinking water are going to have a harder time reaching their potential.
Conditions such as lead poisoning can cause damage to a child that can delay cognitive development and potentially reduce cognitive ability. A head injury resulting from a fall down stairs without a baby gate could result in a brain injury.
Exposure to Stimulation
Your child needs a stimulation to thrive and learn. Children who are read to, exposed to different types of music, games and activities tend to be smarter and have better cognitive development. It is not good enough to set your child in front of the TV and let “Sesame Street” teach him what he needs to know. You need to be an active participant in your child’s development and expose him to different sights, sounds, and experiences.
A trip to the zoo, a walk around the block to look at fall leaves, or a trip to a children’s museum are excellent ways to create a good learning environment.
Children thrive on hugs, kisses and love. Children also need adults in their lives they can trust. Your child’s emotional and social well-being is dramatically affected by the emotional environment at home. If you build a child up and make him feel as if he has worth, he is more likely to believe in himself and work harder. If you constantly put a child down, push him away and chastise him for what he can’t do or does wrong, he is more likely to have low self-esteem. Children need adults who are caring and who they can depend on.
A child who has an insecure support system at home is going to feel unworthy, is less likely to try in a learning environment and will have a harder time making friends outside of the home. Behavioral problems may also arise in a child who has a negative emotional environment. Child abuse is an extreme way in which adults can cause significant problems in a child’s development.
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