Why The First 2000 Days Matter

A Better Future for Our Children


Every child deserves to grow up in a safe, nurturing and stimulating environment. Healthy development early in life improves a child’s quality of life dramatically and promotes the development of a healthier, more engaged and productive society.


The early years set the path for a child’s future. Children whose development is nurtured early in life are more likely to:

  • Be successful in school, have fewer learning disabilities and be more likely to finish high school and seek further education or training,
  • Be more productive in the workforce, hold better jobs, earn more and pay more taxes and own their own homes, and
  • be healthier throughout their lives, physically and mentally, with a lower risk of heart disease, Type II diabetes, obesity, depression and substance abuse.

Children are less likely to:

  • be involved in crime or with the criminal justice system, and
  • require social assistance, child welfare or other income supports.

Source: Early Child Development Mapping Project, https://www.ecmap.ca/Early-Childhood-Development/Pages/Benefits-of-Healthy-Development.aspx , accessed July 31, 2013.


A good investment 

Investing Pays Off

Investing in young children yields huge economic returns and is the most cost effective human capital investment, as James Heckman, a Nobel Laureate in Economics — and many studies — have pointed out.

Healthy, happy, successful children create vibrant, nurturing communities, and thriving, productive societies.

Source: Early Child Development Mapping Project, https://www.ecmap.ca/Early-Childhood-Development/Pages/Benefits-of-Healthy-Development.aspx , accessed July 31, 2013.


We all have a role to play 

We All Have A Role to Play

We know that children need environments that are nurturing, stimulating, safe and consistent to support healthy development. Parents and caregivers play a big role and can do many things to stimulate development.


Families also require supportive environments in order to be able to meet children’s development needs. Studies show that multiple spheres of influence affect a child’s development, including caregivers outside the family, the neighbourhood environment, resources in the community, cultural and religious affiliations, and the attitudes, policies and resources provided by wider society. These spheres of influence interconnect to form both the child’s and the family’s environment.


Supportive Families

  • Learn what behaviours and abilities to expect from children at various ages, through books, local health clinics, a doctor or parenting programs
  • Are attentive and responsive to a baby’s needs – from the youngest ages, they have ways to communicate what they need
  • Read to children from the time they are infants
  • Play with babies and children; Play helps them grow emotionally, cognitively, physically and socially.
  • Provide safe opportunities for a child to explore his surroundings
  • Avoid constant, harsh criticism and punishment

Supportive Communities

  • Safe, walkable neighbourhoods
  • Recreational facilities and sports programs
  • Parks and green space
  • Access to affordable, healthful food
  • Meeting places for young families
  • Affordable, high-quality child care and preschool centres
  • Access to enrichment programs for babies and preschoolers, such as music, library or play programs
  • Information for families, for example, in parenting skills, nutrition, children’s health
  • Literacy programs
  • An active, inclusive community

Supportive Society

  • A balanced approach to emotional, social, cognitive and language development
  • Comprehensive, accessible health care
  • Health and family programs that include regular monitoring of babies and young children
  • Child- and family-friendly policies and programs, such as parental leaves and income support policies that mitigate poverty among families with children
  • Employment standards that allow for more flexible work arrangements
  • High-quality education programming
  • Affordable day care and preschool centres
  • Enhanced co-ordination among local, regional and national services that support families with young children

Source: Early Child Development Mapping Project, https://www.ecmap.ca/Early-Childhood-Development/Pages/Supporting-Development.aspx, accessed July 31, 2013.