The first few years of life are a period of unparalleled growth in all areas of your baby's development. The human brain is not fully developed at birth, in fact, a newborn's brain is about 25% of its approximate adult weight. By age 3, it has grown dramatically by producing billions of cells (neurons and other brain cells) and hundreds of trillions of connections between these cells (synapses). During this time, the growth and development of the brain is the fastest and in high gear. The earlier the brain cells or neurons are stimulated, the more synapses (connection of one neuron to another) are created. It is the early neural synapses that make us remember, learn, talk, think, count, and create better, to feel, and behave in particular ways.
Although later experiences also influence one's brain capacity but in the early years, particular types of activities are necessary for certain essential aspects of brain growth. In early childhood there are several remarkably brief periods of opportunity that lay the foundation for emotional control, mathematical and language abilities, and the capacity to form social attachments. When these periods end, developing the capacity for learning in these areas becomes more difficult.
Although individual children develop at their own pace, all children progress through an identifiable sequence of physical, cognitive, and emotional growth and change. During these years, your child will develop crucial intellectual, emotional and social abilities, learn to give and accept love, to be confident and secure, to show empathy, to be curious and persistentall abilities that will enable your child to learn, relate well to others and lead a happy and productive life. Most parents can make their infants advanced in emotional, cognitive, and language development by recognizing that the first few years are the most crucial in their child's development.
Parents are important!
Parents can, and do, influence all areas of their babies' development in countless ways every day. As they interact with their babies they realize how their child is unique in terms of temperament, preferences, the way they like to be held, what soothes them when they're upset, how they like to explore the world, what makes them smile. The more you as a parent learn about how your child's brain develops, the more you will realize that all of the things that you quite naturally do with your baby in response to his or her unique signals foster healthy development. It is very important to start off on the right track with your child because everything you do and say is going to impact them in some way or the other. Babies are like sponges they take in everything around them and they can be molded in any shape you like.
Ages and Stages - 12-24 Months