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From day one, everything you do builds important connections in your child’s brain. The brain will grow as you encourage curiosity by being nurturing and responsive. Slowing down, noticing, and being present with your child offers a special window into their growth and development.

At any age or stage, you can create a treasure chest from a container such as an empty shoebox or a cardboard box in which you can save special mementos. Decorate the treasure chest any way you like (older children can help). In years to come, the treasure box will help you both reflect on memories and milestones that show how much your child has grown, and help you remember the moment of that first word, that first tooth, that first bite of banana.

Interview your child! Print this interview page as a guide, and record your child’s answers. Add it to your treasure chest once your child is able to start answering questions, and repeat each year (or more often)!

You might also write a “Things I Love About You” note or list to your child every year on his birthday (or anytime!) and create a special moment by sharing it with him when you open the treasure chest. Showing unconditional love, being responsive to his needs, and talking about emotions can encourage healthy emotional development as well as build confidence and self-esteem.