I WISH I knew this when my kids were younger. it is the most powerful, transformative information.
For our own babies, kids and for our society at large..
I LOVE THIS SO MUCH! Why? Because we are sharing what is proven to give our children the best shot of ALL THIS:
- Happiness – Becoming a well adjusted adult
- Health – Reduced chance of disease in later life
- Mental Health – The ability to navigate life’s (inevitable) hurdles
- Success – The best educational and career outcomes
- Secure Relationships – An ability to connect, bond and love
Ask any carer, parent (or parent to be), what they most wish for their child, It is the list above.
This is to inform you – not alarm you, but there is a window.
What you do in the first 2,000 days of a child’s life, predicts the quality of the rest of their life.
The key information shared in this article, is a result of the incredible Illawarra Community First 2000 Days Project.
This is a joint project between the Illawarra Shoalhaven Local Health District, the Illawarra Rotary Clubs of Corrimal, Fairy Meadow, Dapto and Kiama and local agencies.
This Illawarra Community First 2000 Days Project is critical because 90% of a child’s brain development happens before age 5.
And not enough parents and carers know this. Nor do we know what is most important for healthy brain development (I didn’t).
The evidence base behind this project, tells us this; what an under 5 year old is exposed to and how they are engaged with, predicts how well they thrive in later life.
So, what is most important for babies and young children?
- A secure attachment to a caregiver
- A safe home environment free of ongoing ‘toxic stress’ factors eg domestic violence, alcoholism, drug addiction, poverty or untreated mental health issues
- Play and interaction with your baby and young child
- A high quality early education service before the age of five
Sounds sensible right? But what you can do, or do more of, as a caregiver? Here are the most influential things you can do with your baby and under five year old.
5 things you can do for best impact on your child’s future:
- Peekaboo – nope we are not kidding! Peekaboo is a beautiful example of the power of play. It is a meaningful ‘serve and return’ interaction between you and your baby. It is these type of play interactions that build a baby’s healthy brain development. Watch this INCREDIBLE 7 minute Ted talk about the power of Peekaboo to transform lives (it actually made me cry)
- Breastfeed, if possible, until 6 months minimum. Then introduce healthy foods including all veggies and fruit. Click here for breast-feeding support Australian Breastfeeding Association: National Breastfeeding Helpline: 1800 MUM 2 MUM (or 1800 686 268), 24 hours / 7 days. Australia’s leading authority on breastfeeding.
- Reading to your baby and child, including pointing and naming picture books. Again the connections around language and learning that form in your young child’s brain when you read to them, is vital Watch this video to learn more ‘serve and return’ interactions, that are as beneficial as reading
- Managing ongoing toxic stress – seeking help if you or your baby is exposed to violence, alcoholism, drugs or poverty. If you are unsafe and affected by domestic violence, access 24/7 help, call 1800RESPECT on 1800 737 732. Visit Services Australia for help you may be eligible for, or talk to your GP. For free Mental Health support try Perinatal Anxiety & Depression Australia (PANDA): 1300 726 306, Mon to Fri, 9am – 7:30pm AEST. Support for post and antenatal depression and anxiety.
- Enrolling your toddler into a quality local pre-school by age 3
So in summary, what your child experiences in the first 2,000 days of their life, is the most accurate predictor of their future health, happiness and prosperity. We hope we can inspire more of the simple things that make a HUGE difference.
With our SINCERE thanks to First 2,000 Days Project being run by the Rotary Clubs of Dapto, Corrimal, Fairy Meadow and Kiama, click here to read more! It is the most heart warming project that seeks to give our children the best future possible. In reading and sharing this article, you are spreading life changing information – so thank you for your part!