Learn About Child Development

During the early years of a child’s life, we can build relationships, encourage language, and support brain development. By starting early, you and others who support your child and family can provide a strong foundation.

Get help during COVID-19

We have the information you need — guidance on finding child care, tools to support learning at home, tips on accessing financial support, and answers to key questions. See our COVID-19 resources for families.  

Why is early childhood such an important phase in development?

During the first few years of a child’s life, their brains develop quickly. More than 1 million new neural connections form every second. Families and caregivers can help build children’s brains and set them up for a lifetime of learning.

Learn strategies to support child development

There are simple things you can do right now to support your child. Check out some key strategies for helping your child learn and grow!

How can I learn more about child development?

Two toddlers play with plastic shovels on a playground

There are many resources about child development, in Connecticut and beyond! 

  • Child care providers, home visitors, doctors, and other professionals who have expertise in child development can be a great resource. And families know their child best. Find ways to work together to plan, take action, and review what’s working!
  • In Connecticut, we use the Connecticut Early Learning and Development Standards (CT ELDS) to help families, communities, child care providers, and schools work together to support children’s learning and growth. There are many resources related to the CT ELDS including strategies to support learning at home and documents for teachers and providers.
  • The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) has the facts about when children reach milestones in how they play, learn, speak, and move. Paying attention to your child’s milestones will help you track their development. Visit the CDC’s Act Early website.
  • The Connecticut Parent Advocacy Center offers free phone consultation, a website, and trainings for parents and professionals supporting children with any disability or chronic conditions, from birth through age 26. CPAC is fully staffed by families of students with disabilities including bilingual Spanish, Portuguese, Creole, and French speaking Parent Consultants.

What if I have questions or concerns about my child’s learning and development?

Are you a parent wondering when your baby will start to crawl or talk? Do you have questions about teething or tantrums?

Get answers right now from Help Me Grow — a free program for children and their families offered by OEC. Call Help Me Grow at the Child Development Infoline at 800-505-7000.  

Through Help Me Grow, you can sign up for OEC’s Ages and Stages Program — a free service for parents of children from birth through age 5. We’ll send you some questions every few months for you to answer how your baby is growing, behaving, and learning. After you send us your answers, we’ll offer personalized suggestions for activities you can do together. We’ll also get in touch if it seems like your child may need some extra help. Learn more about Ages and Stages.

Last updated April 6, 2021