How you could make the most of your baby's first 3 years

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Experts agree that the first three years of a baby's life are a unique time of fast development.

Even though a newborn seems helpless, he or she is learning every minute, absorbing information through all five senses. That's why babies will try to put everything possible in their mouths. It's a way of understanding as well as exploring.

Early connections

Baby also learns from repeated experiences, so, for instance, every time you soothe him when he cries and cuddle him to show affection, he feels a sense of security and trust that assists with his emotional development.

Singing and reading to an infant has strong positive influences on baby's brain and development, even though she doesn't yet know the actual meaning of the words. It's the sound of your voice that makes the connection, so you can read aloud from a book you're reading for your own pleasure or even verbalise the directions when assembling baby's new chest of drawers.

A great online resource is Zero to Three, a non-profit organisation whose mission is to ensure that babies and toddlers benefit from the early connections that are critical to their well-being. Its website offers information on all aspects of baby's development, arranged into three- to six-month segments from birth to three years. You can read about the skills and behaviours babies develop at every stage and how you can nurture them. You'll also find parenting tips and activities to strengthen the bond between you and your baby.

Image credit: iStock

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