Early childhood is marked by the period between the age two to seven. This is the time when children go through significant changes and take big strides of development. The pace of development and rapid changes are really surprising. This is also the time of laying the foundation of development that is healthy and enriching. It is therefore essential for parents and caregivers to make best use of the opportunity by understanding the nuances of early child development so that they can direct children on the right course and make them ready for moving over to the next phase of social interactions that begin when children start going to school. A lot of attention, care and understanding are necessary to make best use of the opportunities offered during this period so that children can acquire with the right kind of social skills and have sound mental health.
Early childhood is the period that can be termed as the most delicate phase in the development of children. It is fraught with challenges that have to be overcome with proper analysis and understanding so that any adverse impact on the child’s mind is effectively nullified. This can be achieved by paying close attention to the behavior of children, analyzing the causes and imparting positive behavioral inputs that can enhance the social development needs of children. The first five years of a child’s life has immense impact on his / her emotional and social development. A child’s mental health can be adversely affected if it is exposed to negative experiences during this time and it can have serious effect on their behavioral, cognitive and emotional and social development.
Early childhood years is the time when children learn about relationships with others that begins with the caregivers, parents and those who are closely associated to the child. Children start building expectations about their own world and also develop some skills and emotions. It begins with –
- Gathering social skills that are necessary to mix with others and get along well.
- Gaining confidence in themselves about want they can do that leads to feeling good about themselves.
- Developing emotional skills that help to manage their feelings and impart the ability of expressing and recognizing.
These skill sets contribute a lot in the child’s well being and in shaping their mental health that they carry forward.
Role of parents
Healthy development of children depends a lot on the parents and caregivers who are the role models for every child. Children tend to learn by imitating the behavior and emotions that are demonstrated to them and display of any negative feelings or actions can adversely affect the child’s mental health that can lead to behavioral problems.
A child becomes vulnerable to behavioral as well as emotional and social problems that arise from specific environmental and family factors. Characteristics of the neighborhood where they are brought up, domestic relationship of parents and economic conditions are also important factors that impact the development of children and influence their mind set and behavior when they grow up.