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5 Myths of Early Childhood Development

Your best friend's mother's sister claims to know it all about early childhood development, but you aren't sure what is fact and what is fiction. If you're struggling to separate the tall tales from the truths about your little one's growth and changes, debunking the myths can help you to better understand what's going on with your child and put your worries on hold.

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Educational Toys Are It

The package say that its bold colors, bright patterns or musical notes will enhance your little one's development and make him much smarter. If you think that choosing "educational" toys will boost your child's IQ, think again. While the stimulation of these toys is certainly a plus, a specific toy won't amp up your child's development. Jeffrey Trawick-Smith, a professor of early childhood development at the Eastern Connecticut State University, notes that simple toys such as basic blocks are best for a young child's development.

Late to Bed, Late to Rise

You put your baby or young child to bed late, thinking that he'll sleep in. While there's no debate that kids need sleep — the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention advises that children under school age need 11 to 12 hours per day — keeping the kiddo up won't help him to snooze into the a.m. Instead it will make him over-tired and cranky, according to the national early childhood organization Zero to Three.

It's Nature or Nurture

The much-discussed nature versus nurture question isn't really an either-or issue. Instead, both work together to guide and shape the child's early development, according to developmental psychologist Jean Mercer on the Psychology Today website. Each is part of who your child is and who she will become as she grows and changes.

Little Brain, Little Activity

Any notion that a young child's small-sized brain is less active than an adult's full-scale one is far from true. During the early years your child's brain is constantly forming new connections, making it twice as active as yours, educator Rima Shore revealed in the landmark book “Rethinking the Brain: New Insights into Early Development.” This makes sensory and verbal stimulation essential when it comes to building these new connections.

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Keeping Up With the Joneses

Even though there are commonly accepted developmental milestones, don't get caught up in the myth that your child's falling behind simply because she doesn't meet a mark at the same time as someone else's little one. While missing a milestone completely or lagging behind for months is cause for concern, the CDC notes that every child develops at a slightly different pace.

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