How much are young children affected by events that take place around them?
A lot. Young children are active players in the world. Even though they may not understand
the meaning of what they see or hear, children absorb the images that surround them and
are deeply impacted by the emotions of the people they rely on for love and security.
Parents and caregivers play a very important role in helping young children cope with
and recover from traumatic and stressful experiences.
Providing young children with sensitive and
responsive care takes a lot of emotional and physical
energy. But the everyday moments shared
between a child and caring adults can be mutually
healing. During difficult and uncertain times, simply
finding comfort in each other’s presence is the
first step to helping young children cope and heal.
The Power of Play
Children are curious from the moment they are born. They want to learn about and
understand their world. During the first five years of life children’s brains are growing
faster than at any other time of life. Children’s early experiences shape how their brains
develop. Children’s early learning sets the stage for school success.
Good early experiences help a child’s brain develop well. The more work the brain does,
the more it is capable of doing. When children play, their brains work hard.
Playing is how children learn. Play comes naturally to children. They play during daily
routines. They play during learning experiences you provide. Think about a baby who
starts a peek-a-boo game with you when you pull her shirt over her head. The toddler or
two-year-old who imitates the way you read to her as she reads to her doll. Or the threeor-
four year old who scribbles and marks on a large sheet of paper you put out on the
table, then announces proudly, “I wrote my name.”
Sometimes it may look like not much is happening. Filling and dumping small objects
from a can may seem boring to you. Playing blocks seems like just stacking them and
knocking them down.