Childcare is a HUGE Investment With A Tremendous Return
The gift of parenting starts with the dreams of parenthood. Will I have a boy or a girl, who will she look like, who’s personality will she be most like, what will he choose as a profession, etc.? After the dreaming and planning comes reality of the responsibility we have as parents. There is not anyone in the world who can tell you what overwhelming feelings you will have to nurture, protect, provide, and so on for this little angel once you hold your baby for the first time after delivery. Nobody!
All these sweet, little angels come with a clean slate to each of us and it is our job to fulfill all of their every need.
Choosing to invest in their early childhood development has a great return if you know what the outcome will be. Because the neural circuitry of the child’s development undergoes explosive growth in the first five years of the child’s life, children need experiences of a safe, nurturing and stimulating environment. The infant must have regular interactions with parents and caregivers enabling them to recognize and respond to facial expressions, spoken language, colors, shapes, sounds, texture, and other kinds of environmental signals. To offer infants the “serve and return” interactions, we are aiding them in the neural circuitry growth potential of developing their brain to support the child’s ongoing emotional, social and cognitive development. These little people are born with the desire to be cuddled, talked to, and to have someone make facial expressions to them. It may not seem like it, but as you offer feedback, you are encouraging development in a positive and effective way. By interacting with a child, you are helping to shape his/her self-confidence and self-control; you might be encouraging their curiosity therefore creating a foundation to ask questions to further their knowledge of our awesome world, and aiding in the social development. Without positive interaction to our children in the first five year’s of their life, a child’s success in their future and productive adulthood is not as promising.
Let’s face it in today’s world the need for childcare is a reality with a two-parent working household. Choosing a top quality facility is first on the list. Caregivers should show affection, speak directly to the children, make eye contact, and the overall tone of the facility should be calm. Is there engaging material that is age-appropriate? Did you feel invited when you walked in and as you toured the facility? What does the indoor and outdoor play spaces look like? Don’t be afraid to ask about the daily schedules in each classroom and the curriculum. Your child needs to be stimulated and challenged to develop their language, math, science art, music, movement, and dramatic play skills as they age. All of these areas develop more gracefully with a sound foundation of the “serve and return” interactions in early infancy and in return, your child will enter grade school standing tall and more than ready to engage in elementary education because of it. Your investment on your child’s care will create a tremendous return guaranteed.
For further reading, see what the State of Nebraska’s take is on the first five years of a child’s life and the quality of care offered @ www.firstfivenebraska.org.