Parents & Families

Importance of Early Development

Moms & Dads. Brothers & Sisters. Grandparents. Aunts & Uncles.

You play a vital role in your child’s early development.

Did you know a child’s brain grows fastest in their first five years? What a great time to learn! And the best part is, you get to be their teacher! To help parents and other family members raise healthy and happy children, we’ve provided the following resources to offer encouragement and inspire confidence. You have what it takes to help your children thrive, and we have the tools.

Parents & Families

Early years are the most important ones.

A responsive and caring relationship with at least one adult is key in the first few years of life, because it’s when important skills form that will be used later in life—memory retention, self-control, attention span, focus, and more. Nothing strengthens these skills better than interactions with moms, dads, and other family members. Here are some everyday ways you can help your child’s brain grow up strong.

How you can help your child THRIVE

4 ways you can make a difference

Easy, fun ways to help your child thrive.

Marking Milestones

Mark milestones like first steps and first words as your child grows. Knowing the expected developmental milestones for each age helps your family celebrate exciting moments while charting their progress.

Building Brains

Be a brain builder by turning everyday activities like eating meals or getting dressed into moments that help brains grow. Here are some free tips and ideas to help.

Talking, Reading, Singing

Talk, read, and sing to your baby. It develops communication skills by helping them connect to the people, places, and things around them. Click here for free materials and ideas for simple conversation starters.

Positive Interaction

Focus on having positive back-and-forth interactions with children to help them develop the social-emotional skills needed as they grow. There are ways you can even turn challenging behaviors into positive interactions. Check them out here.

Parents & Families

Your child’s health care provider is a great resource.

Next time your child goes in for a regular checkup, ask about milestones and developmental questionnaires. Not sure what to ask? Here are some ideas on what you could discuss with your child’s doctor or nurse practitioner at 9, 18, 24, and 30-month visits. You can also sign up for text reminders that help you stay on track.

What if there is a concern about your child’s development?

There are lots of great supports available.

As a parent, it’s natural to worry about your child’s development, but nearly 1 in 6 children experience delays regardless of what you do or don’t do. And even if delays are found, there are many opportunities to support your child’s development. Don’t hesitate to speak with your child’s health care provider, like their doctor or nurse practitioner, if you have questions or need guidance on what steps to take.

Watch these videos created to help your child thrive.

Help is just around the corner.

Use this map to find child development resources in your area.