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1000 is the lottery number for children's growth - Let's play it!

One thousand days: one thousand emotions, one thousand kisses, one thousand “stay up all night” days and one thousand pictures and memories… One thousand days since the baby starts to form in the womb up until they are almost two years old. This is a crucial time in their lives, and they aren’t even aware of it. They depend on us: parents, siblings, grannies, grandpas, aunts, uncles, or any other in charge in the first years of life.

" DAY 1 "

Why does 1000 days matter?

Many researchers and organizations have a consensus in recognizing the importance of good health and nutrition in the future of children’s life: there is evidence[1] that children cannot reach their full potential by themselves, and that nurturing them in terms of good nutrition, stable environment,

protection, stimulation and quality health are key points. Neurological studies[2] also show that the neurons like to connect the most during this time. Synapses are fast and constant in the first years of life, and therefore are responsible for the basis in children’s cognitive and emotional function for their whole life. Imagine thousands of neurons hugging one to another assuring long lasting friendships for life… and these friendships are responsible for who the child will be.

Surfing around the web I found an interesting study[3] about Early Brain Development that not only showed critical periods for growth and development in children, but also the periods that could be a potentially catch up time.

- Linear growth is critical from conception until two years old, but there might be a potential catch up until 5 years old and in early adolescence.

- Seeing/hearing development starts from soon before birth and goes up to almost two years old.

- Receptive language and expressive language start almost since birth, and have a potential catch up in adolescence.

- Higher cognitive functions (such as memory and reasoning) start developing before turning 2 years of age and will continue until adolescence.

- Socioemotional development starts since the baby is born, and goes up to 10 years old with a possible catch up afterwards.

What all these crucial times have in common is the fact that they start in the very first 1000 days of life. So yes, the quality of the food you give your kids, the type of stimuli you expose them to, and surely the love you surround them with affects who - and how - they will be in life. Make yourself the next athlete’s, astronaut’s, scientist’s, musician’s, doctor’s parent, and help them grow high to catch their dreams. The more nutrients we feed them, the more possibilities we are giving them to be as successful as they can.

[1] Naudeau S, Kataoka N, Valerio A, Neuman MJ, Elder LK. Como investir na primeira infância: um guia para a discussão de políticas e a preparacão de projetos de desenvolvimento da primeira infância. Washington, DC: The World Bank; 2010. São Paulo: Singular; 2011.

[2] Young ME, Mustard F. Brain development and ECD: a case for investment. In: Garcia M, Pence A, Evans JL, editors. Africa’s future, Africa’s challenge: early childhood care and development in Sub-Saharan Africa. Washington, DC: World Bank; 2007. p. 71---114.

[3] Thompson, R, & Nelson, C. (2001) Early Brain Development. Developmental Science and the Media.


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