Young children are quite amazing… They are full of surprises, and each day with them is different! They are in constant motion… Sometimes non-stop…. Even while sitting still watching a favorite TV character, like Elmo or Minnie Mouse, the wheels keep turning… There is always something new and different that excites and energizes. From one day to the next they learn so much more about the world in which we live!
A little baby needs a lot of love, understanding, and acceptance. An infant is dependent on parents for meeting their physical and emotional needs. A parent needs to give the child a sense of belonging in the world of family, and cultivate self-esteem. Even a newborn needs conversation and appropriate amounts of stimulation. Young children are like little sponges, and absorb so much more than we think.
If parents take time to talk, teach, share, and appreciate each moment they can give their children strong tools to use for a lifetime. Without a doubt, a parent needs to interact with each child and make time for conversation, teaching, and togetherness. This statement of commitment by a parent tells the child that he/she is worthwhile and valued. In addition, healthy parents support each other in this challenge of raising children. Functioning as a team and presenting a united front to their growing children pays dividends in the years ahead.
The greatest impact on a child during these early years comes from his or her home environment and the quality of care received by parents and other child care providers. As a child grows older they carry this foundation from home with them into the world. The stronger the basic foundation, the easier it is for the child to grow and functional successfully, being an asset rather than a liability to society. There is no “recipe” on how to parent a well-adjusted child, and parenting strategies vary with each individual and unique relationship. But loving, active, and involved parents is a key ingredient to encouraging a child’s sense of wonder and ability to learn and thrive.
I am extremely grateful for the steady and loving parenting that my eldest daugher and son-in-law give to their daughter. Although hard work for them, the benefits and rewards are priceless! (I am a very proud “nana” — as if you couldn’t tell!)