Why it's important
The early childhood years matter a lot – experiences in these years have lifelong consequences for health and wellbeing. The early years of development from conception until age five, and in particular the first 1000 days of development from conception to age two, have been the focus of increasing attention in recent years. The argument is that the first 1000 days are the period of maximum developmental plasticity, and therefore the period with the greatest potential to affect health and wellbeing over the life span.
Psychologists can enhance child development
Psychologists have a critical role to play in working with families to facilitate loving and responsive caregiving, but also to work towards societal changes to ensure safe and nurturing communities for children that include support for parenting, secure housing, adequate nutrition and freedom from toxic substances. Psychologists are also well-placed to work with individual children who have experienced adversity (and their families) and who are at risk, or experiencing social, emotional or behavioural problems.