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Spring (0-7 years)

Spring is the season of birth, new beginnings and hope for the future. As Leo Tolstoy said,

"Spring is the time of plans and projects."

And there is no more meaningful project than raising and educating a child.

Some people may frown at the word 'project' to describe raising children, but according to Wikipedia, a project is 'any undertaking, carried out individually or collaboratively and possibly involving research or design, that is carefully planned to achieve a particular aim.'

So, with the best intentions and a light-hearted reality check, raising children is the most important project you will ever undertake. Particularly in the first few years, research, planning and identifying your aim will benefit you and your children immeasurably.

And, of course, thinking of raising a child as a project does not, in any way, oppose or cancel out the feelings and emotions of this highly personal undertaking; it does, however, help us sharpen our understanding giving us more confidence along the way.

Raising Change borrows the season of springtime to identify the first seven years of life.

Finally, the jury is out. Researchers have submitted their findings, and scientists and experts agree that the first 1000 days of a child's life are critical for neurological, psychological, social, emotional and cognitive development and lay the foundation for future success and well-being.

What we, as parents, do or don't do during those first 1000 days matters.

Their life is in our hands.

In child development, we talk about milestones, which are recognised as general guides to what you can expect your child to achieve at certain stages. Even though it's common knowledge these days that children develop in their own time (given the environment and opportunity to do so), these milestones often cause stress for parents if their child seems to be behind on the timeline or other children of the same age seem to be ahead.

And even though the first 1000 days are the most critical, it has long been suggested that the first seven years of life determine our future. The Greek philosopher Aristotle said,

"Give me a child until he is seven, and I will show you the man."

(I dare to correct this to say, "I will show you the adult!")

While realising the importance of the first seven years may feel like a lot of pressure for parents to 'get it right' (I certainly felt this pressure), not sharing this information puts parents and children at a gross disadvantage. Knowledge and information are potent tools to ensure that parents are empowered to make the most informed decisions for their family.

Understanding why these 1000 days matter so much, how they relate to early milestones, and what practices and activities are most important during these seven years begins with some basic knowledge of brain development. Parents don't have to have a degree in neuroscience to understand the fundamental principles of how the brain develops from birth. A little bit of 'neuro knowledge' will go a long way, not only in understanding your child's development but also your own, as outlined in our winter season, which is all about the adult. How we were parented, and the circumstances surrounding our own early development significantly informs how we parent.

Our brains operate pretty much every aspect of our lives. How we move, how we feel, how we think, how our organs work, how we learn, how we perceive the world around us (I could go on!) are all processed in this incredible organ safely encased in the skull.

The spring season of Raising Change is all about understanding how to provide our children with the ideal environment for the brain to do what it does best; organise itself to develop and allow us not only to survive but to positively thrive.

Parenting is challenging even when things are going well and involves enormous physical and emotional energy. The first seven years of our parenting journey is exhausting, and sometimes we wonder how we will ever make it through. No one wants to be told how to parent, but having a support system that you can trust is invaluable. There is so much information out there, but the time and energy it takes to weed through it all to get to the valuable stuff can be overwhelming and confusing. Join our Raising Change community to be a part of a growing village of support and information that will help you take the guesswork out of raising the change you want to see in the world

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