Early Connection is Key

Infancy is a critical developmental period involving the establishment of the neurophysiological and psychological foundations of our emotional and physical health and academic and social success. Caregiver-child interactions in the first years of life are integral to this development.

Infant Brain Development

The infant brain develops within interpersonal contexts, where brain structure and function are shaped by early caregiver-infant interactions. When caregivers are attuned, positive, and responsive, the baby’s brain gets the kind of stimulation it needs to form neural circuits that result in the development of these critical capacities:

  • trusting others
  • managing emotions
  • communicating needs and wants
  • exploring and learning

Researchers call this the ‘experience-dependent’ nature of early brain development.

Early Adversity

When infants experience caregiving that is persistently misattuned, unavailable, or that exposes them to danger (abuse and neglect), their brains learn to focus too much attention and energy on finding ways to feel safe. This makes it harder for them to trust others, manage emotions, and engage in learning. The effects can be life-long and even affect their health and well-being as adults.

Learn more about adverse childhood experiences (ACEs).

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