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What Are The Most Important Steps Parents Can Take To Help Their Children Grow Up Healthy?

During the earliest years of a child’s life, 700-1,000 new neural connections form every second. These connections are influenced by genes and experiences.  

If children are provided a stimulating and supportive learning environment as part of child care or pre-K education programs, they have a greater chance of starting school ready to succeed.  Parents can explore and learn about the impact of early childhood education experiences beginning at birth through pre-school age.  This is a time in which the brain is built rapidly, laying the foundation for social, emotional, cognitive, and physical development. Understanding that this is a critical period in a child’s development is a great first step.  

When kids start school ready to learn, they are shown to have more positive health and academic outcomes. A follow up to the Chicago Longitudinal Study determined that children who had access to early education were more likely to stay in school and attend college; have health insurance coverage; lower rates of incarceration and depressive symptoms; higher rates of full-time employment; and, lower rates of disability. This is especially important for the growing proportion of American children living in poverty.  Only a fraction of these children access such services.