The first three months of your baby’s life are critical for establishing a basic rhythm of predictable frustration and satisfaction. It is the vegetative function of eating, sleeping, and basic physical/sensory comfort that are the primary challenges for your newborn who has been suddenly thrust into the world. You must help your newborn develop homeostasis -- the inner belief/experience that when he/she develops a basic specific need, that need will be appropriately responded to. It is your parental empathy for your newborn and your commitment to your vulnerable baby that prepares you for responding to your newborn’s language of cries, whines, facial expressions, and body postures. By the end of three months, you want your baby to feel secure and safe in his or her body needs and basic interactions with you.
Three months to Age Two-and-a-half Years:
During this time period, your baby’s brain is exploding in growth as he/she begins to emerge into a separate person with a unique mind. It is a time of basic exploration with associated excitement and frustration. Basic skills for walking, talking, and self-control are being practiced and the capacity to engage others with reciprocity is initiated. Your child now needs you as a personal trainer to help him/her negotiate and master the basics of environmental exploration while remaining secure in the ever evolving needs he/she has for your support and guidance. It is during this state that you child’s mind begins to appreciate its separateness from yours and that nascent awareness needs your sensitive attention. By age two-and-a half to three, you want your child to feel capable exploring their surroundings under the supervision of a caring adult in a manner that allows for your child’s ability to try out engaging with peers while beginning to feel that initial frustration with learning that can lead to mastery and satisfaction. By age three, your child’s basic brain/mind operating system will, to a substantial degree, have been established. Your child must now use that operating system to negotiate the experiential software program it will be subjected to.
Three Years to Five Years:
You must now help your child feel successfully engaged in the meaningful exploration of learning about the world by providing everyday experiences that provide normative opportunities for interpersonal, gross motor, fine motor, and intellectual engagement. The daily exposure to such experiences that are embedded with a caretaking adult system is the best way to exercise the muscles needed for preparing for school while enhancing your child’s basic skill set and beginning self-esteem. By the time your child is five or six, he/she needs to be able to take that skill set and use it without feeling that he/she has to be taken care of by the adult supervising them.
Age Five to Seven:
In our society, this time period is absolutely critical and it is during this time that your child will reveal whether he or she has developed the necessary requirements for becoming an acceptable member of society. Your child must be able to manage his/her frustrations and big feelings without being overly disruptive or dysfunctional. The equipment that your child has been building to cope with frustration must now be able to withstand the pressures of living within a group of peers that is led by an authority whose job is to teach and nurture your child.