The Daily Item, Sunbury, PA

Health and Fitness

January 8, 2013

Birth to age 2 is a busy time in a child's development

The first five years are the most important years in a person’s life. The quality of care a child receives before entering kindergarten matters greatly.

A child’s first five years include lots of love and attention, a safe and healthy daytime and nighttime routine, proper nutrition, appropriate toys , simple consistent “rules” and at least one book read to him or her every day. 

These are all important experiences but are by no means the whole list.

When infants, toddlers and preschoolers do not experience an ideal first five years of life, they enter kindergarten, ready or not — and with extra-special needs. The cost has become unaffordable in terms of children’s unhealthy  emotional, social, mentally and physical development, as well as the cost to schools — which translates to taxpayers.

Today we’ll focus on birth to 2.  Next time, we’ll explore 3, 4 and 5.

What do babies and 2-year-olds have to do with success in school?  Plenty. Let’s look at things that can go wrong for the very young child.

A crying infant can be a problem for parents with stress or anger-management issues. One of the absolutely worst things a frustrated or angry parent or baby-sitter can do to an infant is to shake the child. Shaking can do serious damage to the neck and — damage that will never go away. The baby-shaking syndrome is not uncommon and more 5-year-olds than ever are coming to school brain-damaged.

Parents know that drinking alcohol and taking certain drugs during pregnancy can cause brain damage in their children. Kindergarten teachers are seeing multiple causes of brain-damaged children entering their classrooms. Brain damage that is caused by another person can range from mild to severe.

There is no excuse good enough for anyone to shake a baby or young child.

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