Children thrive on the interaction they have with their primary caregivers. The more a mother talks and laughs and sings with her child, the more the child feels safe and secure and is able to explore her world – learning and developing as she goes.
But a mother who is depressed, or young, or on her own, or without a job, may find herself struggling with the demands that a newborn child suddenly places on her. Where will she find food and clothes? Who will look after her child when she goes to work? What will she do when her child is sick or upset?
She has few resources to free her up for this new and crucial role of parenting, and these struggles put her child at risk.
Many mothers in South Africa are doing their best to raise healthy, happy, smart children who they hope will go on to have successful lives, despite these circumstances.
These are the mothers who most need our support. By walking side by side with them, listening to their concerns and finding ways to lighten their load, we can stand taller and prouder, knowing that together we have given these children a good chance in life.
The ‘science’ behind the First 1000 Days explains why this is so important and what is happening during this period.