Early Childhood Brain Development
Early childhood development is an incredible time of physical, cognitive, and social and emotional development. Studies show that after the first 2000 days-roughly 5 ½ years-a child’s brain is already 90% developed. A growing body of science shows that early childhood influences, positive or negative, have the potential to impact lifelong health and social outcomes.
Understanding Developmental Milestones
Children develop at different rates in different areas; however, developmental milestones give us a general idea of what to look for as a child gets older. The five developmental domains include: adaptive, cognitive, communication, physical, and social & emotional development. The Centers for Disease Control's, Act Early Campaign offers more about social and emotional developmental milestones by age through the Milestone Tracker app or printable checklists.
Social & Emotional Development
It’s important for any professional who works in the Early Care & Education (ECE) system to have a basic understanding of children’s social-emotional development and behavioral health. Professionals support families to develop nurturing relationships which are key to a child's healthy development.
Why Is Social & Emotional Development Important?
In order for children to attain the basic skills that they need such as cooperation, following directions, demonstrating self-control, and paying attention, they must have social and emotional skills.
- Young children’s mental health sets the stage for a child’s functioning across home, school, and community settings.
- Mental health challenges are common among children under the age of six.
- The presence of social, emotional, and behavioral challenges compromise young children’s chances for school success and healthy relationships.
- A child's positive relationship and attachment with trusting and caring adults is the key to successful emotional and social development.
- Factors that can impair these important attachments and relationships:
- Premature birth
- In utero trauma such as exposure to drugs or alcohol
- Parents’ own attachment patterns
- Adolescent motherhood
- Postpartum depression in mother
- Severe abuse and/or neglect in the 1st year of life
- Multiple caregivers
- Hospitalizations within the 1st year of life
- Unresolved pain
- Insensitive parenting