At Early Years Alliance Lewisham Children and Family Centres we have actively shaped our universal offer around the 1001 days Manifesto for many years, to ensure that those vital formative first years are embedded in all our work with families to give them that best start in life.
We use Five to Thrive as the framework to raise parental awareness of the science of brain development to support attachment and attunement between parent/carer and child.
What is Five to Thrive?
In the first three years of life the brain is growing and changing faster than it ever will again. At times during the first year of life a million connections are forming every single second in your baby’s brain.
We all know about the importance of ‘5 a day’ and that your child’s body grows better when you give the child good food. In the same way, your child’s brain grows better when you do five simple things that feed their growing brain:
Respond • Cuddle/Engage • Relax • Play • Talk
These are your child’s daily ‘five to thrive’ – the building blocks for a healthy brain and good positive mental health and wellbeing. A healthy brain will help your child be happy in themselves, make friends and enjoy their family, and help them build a good framework for life and its challenges from the youngest years.
Children who spend time with their parents/carers doing activities together truly feel that they are value and build a positive sense of self-worth and feel more positive about themselves. When you spend time with your children you are also building good communication as part of your everyday lives together, which is important for your children to feel comfortable with talking to you about anything. This will be very important as they grow.
None of this needs special knowledge, or any special equipment – it just needs YOU! Spend time with your baby, your toddler, your child – just focused on them, even on your busiest days– it is the best thing you can possibly do for their wellbeing.
To find out more about activities you can do with your child and how they link to the Five to Thrive building blocks please visit of ‘Activities for Babies’ web page.