Tools for Birth to Age 5
According to Dr. Jack Schonkoff from the Harvard School on the Developing Child, by the age of five, a child’s brain infrastructure is 85% developed, which means planting the Ceeds of Peace around young children early is critical for healthy brain development. The Ceeds of Peace begin to get planted prenatally, when a baby’s brain is beginning to form in utero. The relationship between the parents/caregivers and the physical and emotional health of the baby’s mother help shape the baby’s brain infrastructure. The more love and support the mother receives, the better chance her baby will enter the world socially and emotionally healthy. Babies start to develop relationships with the people around them in utero, but the process of learning to communicate, self-regulate, share, and interact with others takes many years to develop.
Connection is the foundational ceed, nurtured through creating a solid attachment for the baby to the mother or primary caregiver. When a parent or caregiver positively responds to a baby’s cries, feeds the baby on a supportive schedule, cuddles the baby and talks to them frequently, the synapses that support social and emotional development become solid. When a strong connection is formed, the ceeds of critical thinking, courage, compassion, conflict resolution, collaboration, commitment and connection can thrive.
The following are tools to support peacebuilding skills in our youngest children (birth to age 5). Early childhood is arguably one of the most intense periods of parenting, caregiving and teaching, but if the ceeds are planted early, they become rooted and children are better prepared for adolescence and life. Providing frequent hugs, responding calmly to tantrums and intense behaviors, playing games, modeling and teaching what to do with angry feelings, helping young children cooperate with one another and developing the language skills that support inclusion, love and empathy will lead you and our young children on the pathway to peace!
Accelerating the unique challenges of rural and remote places, COVID-19 has exacerbated existing stressors on youth, family and communities. In response to the impacts of