The Magical First Year

The Magical First Year




     Children have a way of reminding us to slow down, sit on the floor, play a show and run corner to corner for no other reason but to capture joy and laughter. But the adult world is busy, regimented, filled with deadlines which doesn’t allow for aimless fun. Children look at the world in a simple, unfiltered lens, fully living in the moment- not wanting more or desiring less.

     A milestone that is fascinating in children’s development is watching the first year of life unfold. An infant that begins on her/his back with needing so much care and assistance, transforms into an independent little being with hopes to rule the world starting with the household first. When we watch infants develop, the changes we see every few months are results of both nature and nurture. A child turning over from supine to prone, sitting, crawling, walking…… Children are telling us, they are becoming.

     They use their voice to communicate, squeal and laugh. Sometimes, they are startled by their own screams and search their surrounding to see who did it. Often, they look at the caregiver nearby to figure out who the culprit was causing this unplanned stir. They are intense in their pursuit for answers, staring down anyone nearby, communicating without saying a coherent word but insisting so much has happened. And the brave souls they are, they will do it again and again, using our response as a guide to trust and navigate the environment they are becoming increasingly familiar with every day. And in these small interactions, communication is taking place, developmental skills are being mastered and they are engineering their entrance into the second year of life. As much as we believe we are raising our children, subtly, without our active knowledge, infants are raising us into the parents we become. This relationship starts early and continues for the rest of our lives. The dance between parents/caregivers and infants is one of the most beautiful exchanges to watch. This bond serves as the foundation for attachment which translates into social-emotional development. Early connections matter as it sets the structure for learning in later grades. 

     This may seem far-reaching and one may ask how can experiences that happened in the first year of life influence learning and emotional health of children in later years well into adulthood? The short answer- the remarkable brain and its facility to record every interaction a human being experiences, especially in the first few years of life, and using the information gathered to code and set up the framework to operate from, in the years to come. 

     Raising children begins with love, interaction, care, laughter, emotional support and play, lots and lots of play. The first year of life is determinant to how the domains of development progress. What we do matters, and the first 12 months of life are profoundly magical for this reason.