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Emotional development in the baby years
Nicolene du Preez

What is emotion?

Emotion is a complex condition which activates different nervous systems in the body, the intestine and feelings (Gouws and Louw 1979:73). The child’s emotions have an influence on his/her whole body from the inside out.

Stimulation during the baby stage

During the first year of the infant’s life it is important that a strong and close mother-child bond is formed. It is important for the child to experience a sense of safety, love and belonging. The emotional bond between the parent and the child is the first impulses sent to the brain to develop the architecture of lasting relationships.

Verbal and physical stimulation is very important for positive emotional development. A parent should use a calm and trusting voice when communicating to the child. Keep in mind that the baby had 9 months of physical love and care in the mother’s womb. Emotions has an effect on the body and thus physical contact is essential for the child to feel acceptance and care.

Practical ideas for emotional development during the baby stage

Nicolene du Preez is a mother of two lively boys and a PhD student at UNISA.  In 2014 she presented at The Association of Play’s 40th annual conference in Rochester, New York, titled: Neurodevelopment: A Whole Brain Approach to Stimulate Creativity, Innovation, Sustainability and Maximize Achievement in Early Childhood Development through Play; as well as CAPS (Grade R) the Play Way at the AECYC’s seminars.  Nicolene is currently the vice chairperson of the Association for the education and care of young children. Contact her on info@vvos.co.za

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