Early Years Development: Crucial First Five Years of Life
95% of the child’s brain develops by the time they turn five years old. Because of this, the first five years of life are considered to be the most crucial phase in any person’s life because this is the time wherein most of the changes in the brain take place. Early childhood offers an opportunity for holistic childhood development, these early years are crucial in determining the child’s chance for success in their school years and later on in adulthood.
Many studies have been conducted on the importance of the child’s first five years of life. Although these studies slightly vary in their conclusion, the common finding seems to connect the importance of communication between the parent/carer and the child in their early years. In order to develop language, newborns perform an intuitive examination of the statistical regularities in the speech sounds they hear (Saffran, 2003). This means that infants learn from the world around them by listening. So, the way to add more knowledge to their growing world is by spending time communicating with them.
Another amazing discovery in the early years is that at this stage, young children are forming their own intuitive “map” of mental processes like these from a very early age, according to research on young children, which is a stunning discovery (Baillargeon et al., 2010; Saxe, 2013; Wellman and Woolley, 1990). To put it simply, children’s brains are built, moment by moment, as they interact with their environments. It’s like putting together pieces of the puzzle to form the core foundations of their mental development!
Reading to and with the child is one of the best practices to improve parent-child communication. It’s highly advised to read on printed books and reading materials rather than on e-books available on gadgets. The main reason is that gadgets can easily lead to other distractions, while the printed book helps you appreciate the text and illustration more. Moreover, the gesture of opening a book and sharing it when reading welcomes the child closer to you. This makes a more fulfilling reading experience for you and your little one.
Early Years Development: Importance of Reading in the First 5 Years of Life
Early years studies link the importance of reading in the overall development of the child. The first five years of life are the time wherein the child is most willing to learn. Their brain development is in full swing at this stage so it absorbs as much information as it can. Through connections and interactions with people, your child learns about the world around them. Professionals in early child development emphasise the importance of building a relationship between you and your child in their early years. Remember, the most crucial relationship in your child’s life is the one they have with you. As the parent and first educator of your child, you have the power to shape their future.
Through reading, your child gains knowledge that they need in their early years of development. They keep this knowledge in their growing-up years which would be beneficial to them later on in their school years and adulthood.
The child’s brain develops with reading
Reading is beneficial even to adults, so imagine its effects on a growing child! Many parents oversee the importance of reading, but it really is the most effective way to develop the child’s growing brain. The human brain builds most connections in the first five years than at any other time. When you read to your child, you actually stimulate their brain cells, which become stronger over time and make more connections with other brain cells.
Reading cultivates a love of learning, which leads to success in their academic years
What you want to build in the early years of life is the eagerness to learn. This learning habit is built with a solid reading foundation. Early literacy instruction benefits children in many ways, including increased general knowledge, a wider vocabulary, fluency in reading, and enhanced attention spans and focus. All these skills that are learned through reading in early childhood positively affect academic performance later on in their school years!
Psychological benefits of reading
Child development experts also link reading to the better psychological development of the child. Especially in the digital age, children who read have a much better understanding of the world, differences of people, and cultures when they read rather than watching cartoons with no value-added benefits. When the child reads, their imaginations are stimulated, their creativity is sparked, and their interest is piqued.
Reading Boosts Self-Confidence
A child’s self-confidence and ability to speak in front of an audience are increased when they read, especially when they do it in a shared reading environment. Through reading with your child, you also develop a strong bond between you two. This fosters a love for reading because they like the feeling of reading with you!
Children become better communicators
One of the most important benefits of childhood reading is that the child becomes a better communicator when he reads. When a child communicates better, they are able to express certain emotions and feelings toward their parents, educators, and carers. Through reading the child develops their language and a wider vocabulary which help them better express themselves.
Start a reading habit in their first five years of life. When you are able to do this, your child is better equipped in their academic years which also predict their success in their adulthood. Choose good books to read, books with personalised elements such as a personalised book are found to be more engaging to kids. Moreover, personalised books give a sense of ownership to the text which makes it more relatable to the child. Personalised books are found to increase reading comprehension by 40% compared to non-personalised books. It is the best starter book if you want to get your child into the habit of reading!