Many parents leave their babies or young children in the care of someone else when they go to work or live away from their little ones. The quality of that care and the early stimulation your little one receives really matters. Science provides plenty of evidence that it’s the quality of that care and the early stimulation your baby or young child receives that enables your baby’s brain to develop properly and will set him or her up for success in life. So choose very carefully the person or organisation who is going to care for and stimulate your little one.

In March this year, a study was published in Science Magazine that contained remarkable statistics about the effect of good child care and early stimulation on success in later life. Briefly, it was found that not only did people who receive stimulating appropriate care in their earliest days have stronger cognitive abilities, compared to people who did not, but they were also notably healthier in adulthood. This study makes plain that good child care and appropriate early stimulation are absolutely crucial to the development of healthy, productive adults.

So many people, including parents, think that babies and toddlers only need physical care – feeding, sleeping, nappy changing and keeping clean. However, research shows that 90% of brain development takes place in the early years so it’s critical that babies and young children receive early stimulation through LOVE, PLAY and TALK from birth. Your young child’s caregiver should be talking to your little one while he or she is awake – showing him things, telling her what she is doing, singing songs and telling stories. The caregiver should be giving your child opportunities to explore physically through tummy time, sitting, crawling, reaching for, holding and manipulating objects, standing, walking, climbing and exploring her environment – all the while describing what she is doing. Your little one’s carer should really engage and play with him or her in a loving, responsive way.

Sadly the terms ‘day care’ and even ‘crèche’ emphasize that the child is in ‘care’ as opposed to what should be happening. The programme or care needs to be of really high quality and really stimulate your little one’s brain development. This is the time when your child is being ‘moulded’ for life. This is the time when the foundations are being laid for your child’s future – his brain development; her character; his self-belief; her confidence; his health; her values. This is the time when it’s important to genuinely care for the child as a whole human being – her thoughts, his feelings, her needs, his ability to learn. The quality of your little one’s care and early stimulation really matter!

Choose carefully!


Learn more about what you can do to change your child’s future by listening weekly to LOVE, PLAY TALK, the radio programme on Nkomazi FM aired EVERY Thursday from 11 to 11.30am and brought to you by Ilifa Labantwana and RCL FOODS. Each week Nkomazi FM hosts a guest speaker to deal with a different topic to support you, the parent of a young child, give your child the best start in life. The LOVE, PLAY, TALK radio programme is part of the RCL FOODS sponsored LEAVE NO YOUNG CHILD BEHIND early childhood development initiative in Nkomazi Wards 16 and 19 that aims to ensure every young child in these wards has access to improved quality of essential services so that they get the very best start in life. And you, the parent, have a critically important role to play!

Get more information from the Nkomazi FM website or the Ilifa Labantwana website . Do listen every week and give your little one the best start in life!


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