Child Development Statements – Answer Key

During the survey, you were asked to indicate whether you agreed or disagreed with a set of 12 statements about child development. See below to learn about these statements.

  1. Babies are learning from the moment they are born. This is true. Brain science tells us that babies are learning about the world around them right from birth. They learn through sight, smell, hearing, taste and touch.
  2. Parents’ emotional closeness with their baby can strongly influence that child’s intellectual development. This is true. Research shows that emotional closeness with a parent has a major benefit to a baby’s intellectual growth.  
  3. The things a child experiences before the age of three will greatly influence their ability to do well in school. This is true. The things that a child experiences in early life have a major impact on how well they do in school. Positive early experiences are related to higher IQ, better language skills, and fewer behavioural problems. Positive early experiences are things like having a loving and nurturing caregiver, good nutrition and the chance to explore in different social settings.
  1. A baby can’t communicate much until they are able to speak at least a few words. This is false. Long before their first word, a baby can tell others a lot about what they think, feel and need. They can do this through facial expressions, sounds, cries, gestures and body language.
  1. Every baby is born with a certain level of intelligence, which cannot be either increased or decreased by how parents interact with them. This is false. The way parents interact with their baby has a major impact on how that child’s IQ and intellectual abilities develop. Studies show that babies whose parents were more nurturing, involved and responsive had better intellectual development later on in life, including higher IQ scores.
  1. If a baby does not receive appropriate stimulation – like being read to, played with, or touched and held – their brain will not develop as well as the brain of a baby who does receive these types of stimulation. This is true. The things that a child sees, touches, feels and thinks affect the way their brain develops. Everything a child experiences creates electrical activity in their brain. If an area of the brain is rarely activated, that area will stop functioning. As a result, it becomes harder for the child to develop certain skills in that area.
  1. The more stimulation a baby receives by holding and talking to them, the more you spoil them. This is false. Responding to a baby does not spoil them. In fact, holding and talking to a baby are great ways to boost their healthy development. Also, the more quickly and more often caregivers pick up a crying baby, the less that baby will cry over time.
  1. Infants as young as six months consciously know how to manipulate parents. This is false. It is a common myth that very young infants try to manipulate their parents on purpose. A six-month-old baby is not yet able to plan a series of events in order to control another person’s actions. This ability does not develop until the child is closer to 18 months. A baby’s signal always shows a true need for their parents’ attention.
  1. By age one, a baby’s brain is fully developed. This is false. The human brain matures and develops throughout their lifetime. In fact, major changes in brain structure and connections continue until the adolescent years.  
  1. One-year olds often cooperate and share when they play together. This is false. One-year-olds are too young to cooperate and share toys. This skill is not well developed until three or even four years of age.
  1. Intellectual development is the most important part of a child’s being ready for school. This is false. Research shows that social and emotional skills are as important for academic success as intellectual skills.
  1. The average 12-month-old can say one or two words, but understands many more words and phrases. This is true. Research shows that around the time a child turns one they are able to understand many words and phrases–many more than they can actually say.

To learn ways to promote early child development and foster school readiness, visit Dufferin Basics

Need help? Want more information?

Reach out to one of the following resources in your community or contact your family doctor:

  • Call Let’s Talk Parenting for free and confidential telephone support from a public health nurse about pregnancy, parenting and child health: 1-800-265-7293 ext. 3616
  • Connect on Twitter @LetsTalkParents and Facebook @LetsTalkParenting
  • To access addictions, mental health and crisis services, call:
    • Here 24/7 Waterloo Wellington (Guelph and Wellington County residents): 1-844-437-3247
    • 24.7 Crisis Support Peel Dufferin (Dufferin County residents): 1-888-811-2222

Reference: Invest in Kids; Lyn Oldershaw. A National Survey of Parents of Young Children. Toronto, Ontario; 2002.