Several studies on environmental factors affecting child development indicate they play a vital role in a child’s overall growth. Thus, factors at both the family and community levels shape a child’s character.
Parents are a child’s first teachers, and young minds learn by example. So if you have frequent arguments with your spouse or stay in a neighborhood where loud brawls disturb the ambiance of your place, it may adversely affect your child’s learning and behavior (1).
Keep reading this post to learn more about the various environmental factors that may impact your child’s development and how you can help provide a positive atmosphere that is conducive to your child’s growth.
Environmental Factors Affecting Child Development
What you teach your child will not restrict their overall development. The environment your child grows up in and the things they see around them will also influence their early learning. It is especially important in the formative years of life when the child is receptive to external stimuli and it affects the child to great extent. It could be the environment at home, at school, at daycare, in the neighborhood, and any other areas where your child spends a considerable amount of time (1).
Here are environmental factors that affect your child’s development:
1. Emotional bond with your child
Home is the first environment of the child. Since their birth, the emotional environment they see and feel around them will shape their personality. The bond your child shares with you will help them understand and learn how to express their love and fears.
- It will teach them how to interact with those who are close to them. A sentimental connection with you during the early years will help them feel confident and secure.
- A stable and loving relationship will nurture your child’s personality. They will feel important and valued.
- Make sure you spend enough time showing them that you love them. Hold their hands and be there for them always (2).
- For working mothers, it is important to give quality time to the child (3).
- You may plan to give short time slots of individual attention to the child spaced well throughout the day.
2. Your equation with your partner
- The relationship you share with your spouse will affect your child’s developmental and emotional growth (4).
- Your spouse and you are the perhaps the two people who will be closest to your child. You will also be the first couple your child will ever know.
- How you interact with each other, and the love and respect you share as a couple will help your child learn about valuing another person.
- They will learn the importance of a strong connect and will learn how to respect others.
- A little display of affection is okay and required in front of your child. Small but important gestures, such as holding hands and hugging will show your child that these are natural ways to express love.
3. Your family as a whole
- Family time especially with joint family is crucial to nurture the child and their developing brain in the formative sensitive years of life.
- The financial condition of the family in addition to the emotional connection will affect various aspects of their childhood experience (1) (5). In some cases, your child may notice your buying and spending habits and compare them with others they know, like their friends and friends’ parents.
- It is important you speak to your child about these issues while having personal time, knowing their perceptions, and explaining them.
4. Social media and television
- Nowadays, when every possible thing is on a virtual platform, it is not unusual to have exponentially increased screen times.
- Children are like absorptive sponges and parents are their role models early in life.
- Make sure you are not making them believe that smartphones or laptops are superior to the offline world.
- You can use this weapon constructively for recommended periods only to streamline the information that is educative and kid-friendly, age-appropriate during their screen time if cannot avoid completely.
5. A learning environment
- You are your child’s first teacher, so it is crucial you create an environment that stimulates and aids their skill development (6).
- A positive and relaxed environment at home will help your child concentrate on studies and learn better (7).
- You and your spouse should create opportunities that allow your child to explore, even within the home.
- Always encourage your child to ask questions and look for solutions. It will help them gain more knowledge.
Emotional bonds between children and parents are the primary environmental factors affecting a child’s development. Children absorb everything around them like a sponge that begins to reflect in their personality and behavior. Family environment, social media, and television play a role in a child’s cognitive development. A child participating in the family discussions could make them aware of family situations. It is also important to give attention and time to children, especially in joint families. This way, children also learn to share their fears and earn respect, love, and care from their family members.
- Children’s Health, The Nation’s Wealth: Assessing and Improving Child Health.
- Parent-Child Relationship – Why it’s Important.
- Christina Felfea and Amy Hsin; (2012); Maternal work conditions and child development.
- Julia S. Goldberg and Marcia J. Carlson; (2014); Parents’ Relationship Quality and Children’s Behavior in Stable Married and Cohabiting Families.
- Environmental factors that contribute to child vulnerability.
- Home learning environment.
- Family & Home.
Dr. Richa Mittal(MD, DNB)
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