How Strong Connections in the First Five Years Benefit Children

Father and infant son hugging and smiling

How Strong Connections in the First Five Years Benefit Children

Feeling loved by and connected to parents and caretakers makes an incredible difference in a child’s growth, especially in their first five years when their brains develop most rapidly. “During the first five years of children’s lives, their brains develop faster than at any other point. Studies have shown that the human brain is never more receptive than during this time, which is why it’s so important for children to have engaging experiences and secure relationships with adults in their life,” says Amy Jackson, Chief Early Learning Strategy Officer at Primrose Schools.  

The relationships formed with caregivers and others impact children’s neural connections. Research suggests that responsive, nurturing caregivers, such as parents and early childhood educators like those found at Primrose schools, enhance learning, strengthen relationships and foster the development of valuable character traits. 

These connections are strengthened when a child spends time in a consistent environment. Students that spend their early learning journey with Primrose schools build healthy, trusting relationships with their teachers and school staff. 

Here are some ways to forge strong connections with your child so that they feel cared for at school, at home and beyond: 

1.) Create daily “together time” routines with your family. 

There are many  opportunities throughout the day to create family routines that help you maintain strong connections with one another. “Establishing routines with children when they are young helps them feel more emotionally secure,” says Jackson. Since children also practice routines at school, continuing scheduled activities at home solidifies this sense of security. 

2.) Remind your children often why they are special! 

At Primrose Schools, belongingness is fostered in classrooms every day so that students know that they are welcomed and respected. Teachers make sure to create an environment where your child feels appreciated every day. You can reaffirm that appreciation with simple lunchbox notes or daily affirmations. These are a great way to let your child know how much they mean to you and your family. To spend quality time building your little one up, schedule one-on-one time so you can connect without interruptions.  

3.) Encourage new relationships.  

It takes strong relationships of all kinds to help a child feel loved and connected. Regular activities shared with extended family or close friends can help your child form strong connections with trusted adults outside of their parents. “As your child matures, it’s important to provide them with opportunities to find new groups and have experiences with many types of people. This will help them develop the necessary skills for building their own network of relationships,” notes Jackson. This concept also applies to child care. When a child has a consistent school environment, they can build strong relationships with familiar faces, whether they’re teachers or fellow students. 

4.) Be affectionate and responsive. 

Physical touch is an important part of social and emotional growth at all ages, even into adulthood. However, the way children prefer affection changes over time.They may develop a new love language they prefer to use with you and other caretakers as they work towards becoming more independent.  At Primrose, teachers show affection for students, while also helping them establish a sense of personal space at school. Navigating closeness takes careful observation on your part, but you can continue to persevere and give them physical touch in new ways. As they grow out of cuddles, move to hugs, forehead kisses or even couch time together with board games. 

Making sure that your child feels appreciated and respected in all areas of their life can help them grow confident and improve their future relationships. Interested in learning more about building strong connections with your child? Check out these blogs:

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