Your Child

Why does your child’s early years matter

At birth, a baby’s brain has about 100 billion nerve cells.

But the cells have not yet formed the critical connections that determine an individual’s emotional, social, and intellectual make-up. Most of this “wiring” develops as a young child between the ages of 0 to 3.

By age 3, a child’s brain has twice as many synapses – or connections – as an adult’s. This suggests that infants and toddlers are biologically primed for learning, as synapses are a fundamental basis of learning. When a connection is used repeatedly in the early years, it becomes permanent. But a connection that is used rarely, or not at all, is unlikely to survive.

For example, studies show that a child who is rarely spoken to or read to in the early years may have difficulty mastering language skills later in life. Similarly, a child who is rarely played with may have difficulty with social adjustment as she grows.

Scientists have found that your relationship with your child affects his brain in many ways. By providing warm, responsive care, you strengthen the biological systems that help him handle his emotions. Research also shows that a strong, secure connection with your child helps him withstand the ordinary stresses of daily life -not just today, but in the future. A strong bond doesn’t just reassure him, it actually affects the biological systems that adapt to stress.

Who is the parenting expert?,

You know your child better than anyone. You’re also your child’s first and most important teacher.

During the first three years of life, your child will develop crucial intellectual, emotional and social abilities, learn to give and accept love, to be confident and secure, to show empathy, to be curious and persistent all abilities that will enable your child to learn, relate well to others and lead a happy and productive life. This is an exciting period in your child’s life!

Like most parents, you probably have questions about your child’s development-that’s normal. Or you may just want to know what you can do to ensure your child’s happy and healthy development. At, we’re here to help you navigate this critical period. We are creating a new section to focus exclusively on the first three years of life.

As you explore our site remember: be sure to check back often. This is only the beginning!

10 tips to help you with your child

  1. Be warm, loving and responsive
  2. Respond to the child’s cues and clues
  3. Talk, read, and sing to your child
  4. Establish routines and rituals
  5. Encourage safe exploration and play
  6. Make TV watching selective
  7. Use discipline as an opportunity to teach
  8. Recognize that each child is unique
  9. Choose quality child care and stay involved
  10. Take care of yourself

If you are worried about child abuse of a child, please have a look at our signs and symptoms of child abuse.

Visit our child support information page, for links and information related to child support in Ireland.

Try our online child’s game, it is intended to help those who are just starting to read.

Check out our childrens books.

Check out our Child’s Place for games fun activities and links.

Check out our Child Development Milestones from birth to five years. - Pregnancy, Baby & Parenting information