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child trends logo with a yellow 40 year anniversaryWe all know that talking, reading, and singing are great ways to baby’s and caregivers to bond, but recent research suggests that eye contact can be just as important to a newborn’s development. Infants naturally begin to make eye contact at six to eight weeks and capitalizing on this behavior may help to promote social and emotional development.

In June 2018, Child Trends reported that “researchers conducted two different experiments to determine if eye gaze mattered when an adult sang to an infant. They used EEG [electroencephalogram] to measure brain activity and found when adults and babies looked directly at each other, their brain waves would sync up more than when the adult avoided eye contact. The babies also tried to communicate more often when adults made eye contact—implying that this small gesture could help develop social skills” (McGrath et al).

Experts recommend that caregivers be face-to-face with babies during social interactions like feedings, baths, and diaper change

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World Prematurity Day

Purple background with World Prematurity Day textNovember 17th is World Prematurity Day.

On this day, organizations around the globe raise awareness about the reality of premature births: 15 million babies are born prematurely worldwide, and premature birth is the leading cause of death for children under five*. The World Prematurity Day campaign also seeks to educate the public on the prevention of preterm birth, raise funds for research, and advocate for legislation to support parents and babies.

To find out more about World Prematurity Day, including how you can participate, visit the March of Dimes

*March of Dimes, 2017.

To see other special occasions we've celebrated on the Neighborhood, check out:

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You may have noticed that many of the resources shared on the Neighborhood are focused on the social-emotional development of infants and toddlers. This is mostly because California is in the middle of a long-term, statewide plan, called the State Systemic Improvement Plan (SSIP), to improve social-emotional outcomes for infants and toddlers in Early Start. There is a large body of research showing that improving social-emotional skills at an early age leads to positive outcomes for children later in life. This research is the topic of a handout published by the US Department of Education called “Social and Emotional Development Research Background.” This resource is part of the national “Talk, Read, and Sing!” campaign, and was developed along with the US Department of Health and Human Services and Too Small to Fail in order to provide parents and professionals the information and tools they need to support healthy social-emotional development in young children. Take a look at the res

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black and white mother and babyWhat is early childhood mental health? Why is it important? How can a child’s early experiences and relationships shape their development later in life? Harvard University’s Center on the Developing Child takes a closer look at early childhood mental health as part of its “Deep Dives” series. Learn more about this important facet of early development here:

This resource is related to one or more competencies in the ICC-Recommended Early Start Personnel Manual (ESPM). To find out more, visit this resource in the Neighborhood here.

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