Published: 10th March 2020
Children should be happy for proper mental and physical development, says new study
Babies and young children also require mental stimulation and close, loving interaction with those around them starting from birth
Enabling young children to achieve their full developmental potential is a human right and an essential requisite for sustainable development.
Given the critical importance of enabling children to make the best start in life, the health sector, among other sectors, has an important role and responsibility to support nurturing care for early childhood development.
The first years of life are among the most important for a child's mental and physical development.
In our earliest years, science shows that our brains build new connections at a rate that will never again be repeated with over 80 per cent of neural development happening by the time we reach three years of age.
In this brain-building process, it's not only physical needs that must be met.
Babies and young children also require mental stimulation and close, loving interaction with those around them starting from birth.
These precious moments most often take place with family members, who are the focus of a baby's first, most treasured relationships.
According to a new guideline from WHO, the health sector can play an essential part in supporting families to provide this care, helping ensure every child gets the best possible start for their life ahead.
These are some highlights from this important new resource.
Every child should have responsive care: Responsive care means tuning into a child's signals and what they are telling us â whether they do this by facial expressions, crying, or making other sounds and movements - and then responding accordingly to their needs.
This process helps set up the basis for building secure and loving relationships, as well as early learning.
It helps babies and young children feel safe, knowing they are protected by those they love, and that they can effectively communicate their needs.
Some of the things parents and caregivers can do to strengthen this bond include: Frequent physical contact, like holding or cuddling. Regular eye contact from a short distance away.
Talking and singing and responding to the noises the baby makes.