Early Childhood Matters


Did you know that early brain development plays a critical role in children’s lifelong learning and health? According to a report by the National Head Start Association, “early brain development lays the foundation for cognitive, motor, and socio-emotional abilities throughout a child’s lifetime.”

What Children Need

Because brain development is influenced by many factors, such as nutrition, physical activity, toxic stress, and access to routine screenings and wellness exams, it’s important to ensure that young children have access to resources and opportunities that are proven to support healthy development.

During early childhood, children need:

    • access to fresh, healthy foods to receive the proper nutrition they need to grow;
    • at least one to two hours of moderate to vigorous physical activity or active play daily;
    • caring, supportive relationships with others in environments that don’t impose high-stress; and
    • regular health screenings and wellness exams to monitor healthy growth and development.

More Information

For more information on how to support the healthy development of your young child, visit HealthyChildren.org and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) website.


Series Navigation

The Developmentally Appropriate Parenting Series highlights several early childhood topics to support parents and caregivers who are caring for young children. Use the list below to navigate through each series topic:

Learn more about the series.

Request free printed materials from our Developmentally Appropriate Parenting Series.


Picture: A young baby looks up at the camera.
Line separator