What You Need to Know About Your Baby's World and How You Can Help Them Explore
“As the twig is bent so is the tree incl ined” is an old parenting proverb to the effect
that, when applied to parenting, means that what your child experiences in the first
years of life sets the course for the whole life cycle. This e-book takes you inside
your child’s world to help you better understand how children develop and what they
experience — allowing you to adapt your parenting to their unique abilities, needs
The single most important fact about infants and children is they are constantly growing and
changing. As parents this means that we have to grow and change along with them. When
your baby starts to crawl and walk, for example, you have to “babyproof” his or her living
space. The challenge is to set limits and allow freedoms in keeping with the child’s maturing
abilities, needs and interests. We do this best if we start from where the child is in his or her
development, not from some abstract rule or principle. Adapting flexibly to the needs of the
growing child is what nourishes our development as loving and effective parents.
Decades of research shows that infants and children who receive age appropriate, loving
childrearing develop a sense of trust, of autonomy, of initiative, and of industry that will
serve them well in their progress towards maturity. That is why understanding the stages
of children’s emotional, language, intellectual and social development is critical to
effective and successful parenting.
“Decades of research shows that infants and children who
receive age appropriate, loving childrearing develop a sense
of trust, of autonomy, of initiative, and of industry that will serve
them well in their progress towards maturity.”
It is important to make clear; however, that although we as adults can separate
emotional, language, intellectual and social development, the infant makes no such
divisions. Infants operate as functioning wholes and all the facets of their developing
personalities are closely entwined.
For example, a baby’s cries are at once a means of communication, an expression of an
unpleasant emotion, and a need for social interaction. Accordingly, when interacting with
your baby, it is important to realize that you are responding at many different levels at once.
Copyright © 2008 International Infant Development Centre. All rights reserved. Page 3 of 11