Psychologists believe that the first six years of child’s life are very important. The foundation of child’s life is laid during these years. This is a very challenging time for parents.
They should be very careful in choosing substitute care as it directly affects the child’s personality development. If the people look after the child in a loving and congenial environment, encourage him and make him feel secured then the child will grow up as a happy and secured child. All the good habits and traits are developed under the supervision and guidance of the people who take care of the child.
Parents should see that responsible family members are involved in the care of the child. The importance of substitute care should be viewed as under:
(а) Love and affection feelings are entrenched in the child for the people who take care of him.
(б) Good food habits are formed in early stages of life. The person who takes care of the child can impart good food habits like washing of hands before eating, taking food at proper time, accepting different kinds of food.
(c) Good hygienic habits are developed at an early stage of life. The child is made aware of clean surroundings and other hygienic habits which influence the health status of the child for the whole life.
(d) Language development takes place during early years. Child learns to speak what he hears by imitating others. Type of language the child learns depends upon the people around him.
(e) Sociability also develops as thte child lives constantly in the company of people who take care of him. All the social skills and experiences he encounters at this stage depend on them. Substitute care is important as these people encourage the child to cooperate, share and develop sympathy, and good social concepts especially if the child is in creche.
(/) Moral development. The moral values that child learns depend upon what kind of atmosphere he lives in. For example, the child is with substitute care, the kind of stories he listens, substitute care’s behaviour influence the moral concepts of the child.
(g) Feeling of security is very important for the well-being of the child. If he is taken care properly he will feel secured even in the absence of his parents.
(h) Physical and motor development. The child does many activities in the presence
of caretaker. If he is encouraged, he repeats them and the result is good physical and motor skills.
(i) Emotions develop during first two years. The child learns to express his emotions by watching and imitating people around him. The child learns to show his emotions in approved manner.
(J) Development of concepts. Early concepts either positive or negative develop in a child at this stage and influenced by the people around him.
Parents should ensure that whoever takes the responsibility of the child should have a positive influence and have best of interest of the child in his heart. If the family members cannot take care of the child, outside help like a trained maid, creche or other institutions should be involved.