They say it takes a village.
It really does. The first 5 years of a child's life are arguably the most impressionable. 90% of a child's brain will develop during those 5 years- and they go by in a flash. Just stop and think of all the places, sights, sounds, smells, and voices they will experience in that time, each impression molding them ever so slightly. I sometimes hear my friends say, "She's only 2, it won't make a difference," or "He's just a toddler, he won't remember his birthday." I like to disagree. I remember things, whole vivid experiences of sights and smells and sounds, as young as 18 months.
But, in my childhood photos (of which there are a lot, nearly a batch every month) there are still plenty of adults present. Neighbors, friends, friends of family, everyone stepped in. I can recall some very frightening memories of visiting Momma, in the hospital, but I can never recall the feeling of being alone. In fact, quite the opposite. I remember the time as being an almost unending parade of people and places. There was always a smile and a hand, or a lap to sit on, and my favorite source of comfort? The sound of a voices reading to me.
Even better, Momma began reading me my bed time stories. But she was much slower and more deliberate. In addition to reading the pages she'd stop and ask me to explain what we had just read, putting an emphasis on comprehension. "Reading is useless without understanding," she'd say. Back then I thought it was all just a way of interrupting a good story, but, today, I look back and am amazingly grateful.
If you interact with a toddler every day check out these simple and free activities for babies to help engage and grow young minds.Visit First 5 California for more valuable information, videos, and resources to help parents and caregivers enrich the lives of children 5 and under.
What Daughter Says: A child's mind grows 83% during their first 3 years, and 90% of it's size within the first 5. Help ignite pathways to curiosity and growth by engaging their brains constantly through talking, reading, and singing.