Envision a world filled with happy children who are eager to learn, are healthy, feel confident in their abilities, have well developed language abilities, strong math and reading skills, are creative and curious, get along with other children, are physically fit and active, and are self disciplined. Picture all of these children developing into adults who contribute their skills and abilities to society.
Due to a wealth of research we are extremely fortunate to have the knowledge and understanding of all that contributes to actually making this dream possible!
Ongoing scientific evidence continuously demonstrates that through meeting a child’s needs for nutrition, sleep, safety, time outdoors, play and loving experiences a child’s brain will have the chance to develop optimally.
The sad news is, not all children have the opportunities for experiences that create the likelihood of this vision. Too many of our young children are exposed to multiple risk factors that can affect the development of the brain in unhealthy ways. Risk factors may be inadequate nutrition, neglect, chaotic environments, exposure to environmental toxins, lack of time in nature, trauma and abuse, great amounts of screen time, a focus on academics too early, limited predictability from caregivers, high levels of stress, and lack of quality of daily care.
All of these influences can contribute to a brain being “wired” in a way that leads to physical, emotional, behavioral and learning problems. The brains of young children learn very early how to adapt or survive in the environment to which they are exposed.
It is time to ensure that EVERY adult understands the positive impact this knowledge can have. We also need to ensure everyone knows how detrimental it is for us to continue to ignore this information.
Children will benefit most if everyone is involved in first creating greater awareness and then investing in implementing change. Making this happen must take place at an individual level, in families, in childcare facilities, schools, through the business community, social service organizations and in local and state government.
If we want success for our children it is up to us, the adults in their lives, to become aware of where change is needed and then work together to continue doing all we can to see improvements take place. For this vision to happen for all children, it is up to us to develop strategies to eliminate the detrimental effects on young children, and provide all that young growing brains need …. and deserve!