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Children's Week and the Rights of Infants

Posted by Kerrie Gottliebsen | 20/10/16

Children’s Week (22nd – 30th Oct) is a time when Tweddle staff and families reflect upon the precious aspect of early childhood. The period from birth to age 3 is when 80% of a child’s brain is developed through a combination of genes and experiences.

The everyday interactions of song, touch, play, talking, cuddling and responding sensitively to a child’s cues lay the foundation for future learning and relationships. While at Tweddle, families participate in therapeutic play, music and literacy sessions. Parents can start to see the world through their children’s eyes.

The World Association for Infant Mental Health (WAIMH) recently released a position paper on The Rights of Infants to highlight the additional and specific needs of the 0-3 age range which go beyond those that have already been specified in the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC, adopted 1990).

It explains how The UNCRC in addressing the rights of children, does not sufficiently differentiate the needs of infants and toddlers from those of older children, in that infants and toddlers are totally dependent upon the availability of consistent and responsive care from specific adults for the adequate development of their basic human capacities.

There are unique considerations regarding the needs of infants during the first three years of life which are highlighted by contemporary knowledge, underscoring the impact of early experience on the development of human infant brain and mind.

Importantly, it emphasises “An all-too-common view is that the baby is “too small to really understand or to remember” and thus the baby’s perspective is often not appreciated by health professionals and even by parents. Infants have unique nonverbal ways of expressing themselves and their capacities to feel, to form close and secure relationships, and to explore the environment and learn – all of which require appropriate nurturing since they are fundamental for building a lifetime of mental and physical health.”

The 0-3 age period is a critical window of opportunity for parents and carers to build their child’s brain development. The good news is babies are programmed to connect with people from day one. It’s the simple things that count. Very early experiences foster a baby’s security, trust, self- esteem and the ability to regulate emotions.

Early Parenting services like Tweddle’s, play a critical role in screening and identifying exhausted, stressed and anxious parents so that children have engaged, confident and responsive mums and dads.

This Children’s week we invite families to drop in to our Inaugural Open Day on Friday 28th October between 11am and 2pm, enjoy a sausage sizzle, chat with staff and celebrate Children’s Week with us.

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