We have explored the dramatic story of the first two years of life. Rapid physical growth, neurological development, language acquisition, the movement from hands-on to mental learning, an expanding emotional repertoire, and the initial conceptions of self and others make this period of life very exciting. These abilities are shaped into more sophisticated mental processes, self-concepts, and social relationships during the years of early childhood.
Babies begin to learn about the world around them from a very early age. Children’s early experiences, meaning the bonds they form with their parents and their first learning experiences, affect their future physical, cognitive, emotional and social development. Various organizations and agencies are dedicated to helping parents (and other caregivers), educators, and health care providers understand the importance of early healthy development. Healthy development means that children of all abilities, including those with special health care needs, are able to grow up where their social, emotional, and educational needs are met. Having a safe and loving home and spending time with family―playing, singing, reading, and talking―are very important. Proper nutrition, exercise, and sleep can also make a big difference; and effective parenting practices are key to supporting healthy development (CDC, 2019). The need to invest in very young children is important to maximize their future well-being.