Zero to Three: National Center for Infants, Toddlers and Families Early Experiences Matter

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From Baby to Big Kid

An e-newsletter that showcases how children learn and grow each month from birth to 3 years. From Baby to Big Kid translates the science of early childhood and offers strategies parents can tailor to their unique family situation and to the needs of their child.
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School Readiness

0-12 Months12-2424-36

0-12 Months

Babies come into the world filled with curiosity about the people, objects, and places they encounter.  Daily routines like feeding, diaper-changing, and bathtime offer babies especially rich opportunities to have fun, connect and bond with loved ones, and figure out how the world works. 

Important early learning skills get their start through these everyday moments between babies and their adults.  Reading together, and watching your baby to learn how she communicates through sounds, facial expressions, and gestures, are both ways to give her a foundation in literacy and language skills.  Self-confidence grows as babies feel loved and nurtured by the adults who care for them.  They begin developing self-control (though they won’t master this skill for a quite a while) when you soothe them after an upset.  And babies learn to think, and to puzzle out an interesting problem, by using their senses to play and explore the world around them. 

Remember:  If your baby is interested and involved in an activity—and having fun—he is learning!  It isn’t necessary to “teach” very young children.  Formal classes and other activities that push babies and toddlers to learn concepts before they are ready do not help their development or make them do better in school. In fact, they can even make children feel like failures when they are pushed to do something they can’t succeed at or don’t enjoy.  So treasure these early days of playing and cuddling with your little one—it is exactly what she needs to grow and learn.

To read more about children’s early learning skills from birth to 12 months, choose one of the topic areas—Language & Literacy, Thinking Skills, Self-Control and Self Confidence—above.

To learn more about how children develop in the first three years, choose one of the age ranges—12-24 months and 24-36 months—above. 


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