Development is how your child grows physically and emotionally and learns to communicate, think and socialise.
Children’s early experiences and relationships in the first five years of life are critical for development.
In the early years, your child’s main way of learning and developing is through play.
Other influences on development include genes, nutrition, physical activity, health and community.
Babies are born ready to learn, and their brains develop through use. Stimulating and caring environments with lots of different activities gives children plenty of ways to play, develop and learn, and lots of chances to practise what they’re learning.
Children’s relationships affect all areas and stages of their development. In fact, relationships are the foundation of child development. Through relationships, your child learns vital information about their world. For example, your child learns whether the world is safe and secure, whether they’re loved, who loves them, what happens when they cry or laugh, and much more.
Your child also learns by seeing relationships among other people – for example, by seeing how you behave with other family members. This learning is the foundation for the development of your child’s communication, behaviour, social and other skills.
In the early years, play is children’s main way of learning and developing. Play is fun for your child. It also gives your child opportunities to explore, observe, experiment and solve problems.
Other things that shape child development - your child’s genetics and other factors like healthy eating, physical activity, health and the neighbourhood you live in also influence your child’s development and wellbeing.
If you feel that something isn’t quite right with your child’s development, trust your instinct. See your community health nurse, GP or paediatrician.