Photo Credit: Jen Linfield

Early childhood development needs to be a top priority in New Mexico. Recently, New Mexico has dropped in overall childhood well being. This is unsettling because young children are the ones who will grow up to become our next leaders. Research has proven that infants need to have lots of attention in the first years of their life. A child’s brain starts to develop in the womb; by the time the child is 5 years old 90% of the brain has developed.

Learning about early childhood development has taught me, that infants must have interactions in a loving environment. Being in this environment allows for the brain to make synapses or connections. This allows the child to make connections,  grow,  and learn.  This is why in New Mexico parents should be given the option to have home visits.

A home visit is when a person that has been trained, visits a parent’s home in order to make sure that the baby is safe. Being in a safe environment allows the child to create connections to the parent or parents. Home visits  would allow for a parent to know how a child should be developing if they are a first-time parent. It also ensures parents are not abusing narcotics or engaging in other unsafe activities in the house.We often hear too often about children who have parents who are drug addicts or did drugs while the child was in the womb. This affects the child in the long run because it not only affects the brain but it affect the child’s ability to recognize a loving environment.  A child exposed to drugs at an early age or is born addicted to drugs can cost the state up to $1.4 million. If we are in a state that is struggling to save money, having home visits is beneficial to the state as well as its citizens.

Home visits should be limited to a certain extent. We do not want parents to solely rely on the nurse or the person doing the home visit to provide the environment that the child needs. If it is limited, it would allow the parent to create their own parenting style. Even though parents may have their own styles, home visiting professionals can guide parents in the right direction to ensure the child is being taken care of and is safe.

In New Mexico, home visits should be an option to all parents regardlessfirst time parents and even those who have three kids. They provide guidance to the parents and are important for the well-being of the child. New Mexico needs to invest more time and money into early childhood development, especially home visiting programs.


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