The sad paradox of early childhood is that the activities associated with babies are perceived to be so low in adult intellectual content, that we don’t realize how critically important they are for their brain development. In fact, secure attachment is the single most important developmental goal in the first years of life. All social, emotional and cognitive skills hinge on it.
And it is by no means a given. Over 40% of children do not have secure attachments with their parents. Parents, as explained by Dr Mary Ainsworth, must be ‘attuned’ to their infants’ needs, which means that they need to be Positive, Present, Accurate and Cooperative. In other words, attentive attunement to all aspects of a child is a very demanding task.
I recently polled friends on which decade they think it is most important for them to be more present with their children, zero-to-ten or ten-to-twenty? About 30% answered ten-to-twenty.