The importance of the home environment is something that has been acknowledged as vital to a child’s learning and development.
Children learn and grow through every day experiences. Parents are experts on their own children, and every child needs to be treated as an individual.
If the environment is well-designed, it will allow the child to build strong relationships. When designed right, the child will build a sense of security, exploring in play areas that allow the child to play both independently and with others as they choose.
Caring for infants and toddlers can be challenging for even the most seasoned parents and caregivers.
The environment in which the child is cared for, whether it is at home or at a childcare program can make a significant difference in the experience of the child and parent or caregiver. It is very important that the environment you provide, or choose for your child, supports the growing child’s physical, emotional, social, and cognitive development. This is very important, especially when making housing decisions. It should be an important point to factor in your house searching criteria.
A child’s early home environment has a profound effect on his well-being. Beginning in infancy, a problematic home environment can disrupt the brain’s stress response system, reduce the quality of care-giving a child receives, and interfere with healthy development. Research has linked negative home environments during children’s first three years with a host of developmental problems, including:
• Poorer language development by age three.
• Later behavior problems.
• Deficits in school readiness.
• Aggression, anxiety and depression.
• Impaired cognitive development at age three.
Below are some questions to ask your-self when assessing a child’s space.
Are all the electrical outlets covered? Is there adequate padding under climbing equipment in case my child falls? Are the walkways clear and unobstructed? Is the play area fenced in? Are there first aid supplies available?
Is the diapering area kept separate from the food preparation and feeding areas? Are the food preparation, feeding, and toileting areas cleaned and sanitized daily and after each use. Do the children get fresh air every day? Do the caregivers teach good health habits such as washing hands and brushing teeth?
Is there soft furniture accessible to the children? Do infants have safe, comfortable, adequate sleeping arrangements?
Is there easy access to sinks for adults and children? Are the materials and supplies stored near routines and activities? Are the toys and materials at child’s eye-level?
Is there furniture that is both child-sized and adult sized in the rooms? Can toddlers sit and stand as they choose? Can mobile infants and toddlers reach toys and materials independently?
Does the home program seem flexible with routines to meet the needs of all the children? Do all the infants have individualized, personal schedules? Are they allowed to eat as they get hungry and sleep as the get tired?
Will my child have enough space to crawl, roll, pull up, walk, climb, run, jump and explore when both indoors and outdoors? These questions are quite vital in ensuring optimal growth and development of the child.
Are the toys at the children’s level? Are there spaces for both quiet and active play? If not, can the a redecoration take place to put that in place?