Science tells us that the first few years are the most determining time in a child's development with a profound and lasting impact. Even if new methods and tools have greatly improved our understanding of early childhood, many kids around the world don't benefit from it yet. This really is a big problem since research has shown that positive experiences have enough power during the early years to override our genetics.

Genetic background counts, of course, but experiences and the environment are much more important than the basic material and program we are born with. The foundations of many essential abilities, like math, language, reasoning and empathy, in particular, are built between the ages of two and five. Our brain is programmed to reach certain milestones at certain periods, although it doesn't happen at the same moment for every child.

Neuroscience has shown that it's crucial to enhance and enrich kids experiences, while avoiding or diminishing detrimental sources of stress such as poverty, starvation, addiction, or abuse. When such issues happen in the critical periods, it often means the kids will lack the minimal development they need so strongly, falling behind from the start.

Everything begins at home. Not just by thinking about the kids or their day care center, but the family as the most influential environment and the parents as the first teachers. Nowadays, fortunately, many interventions include the whole family in supporting and engaging the kids who need it. A good way to have more successful, and above all happier, parents and children.

Picture: Portrait of Marcelle Roulin, by Vincent Van Gogh (Wikimedia Commons, w/Effects)