We highly recommend that you read this article from Harvard's Center on the Developing Child. It is a great summary of core capabilities -- falling primarily under the umbrellas of self regulation and executive function -- that everyone needs to truly succeed. And those capabilities are developed in a child's early years:
"The foundation is built in early childhood: By age 3, most children are already using executive function skills in simple ways (e.g., remembering and following simple rules). Ages 3-5 show a remarkable burst of improvement in the proficiency of these skills."
The article also talks about factors that can derail the development of these skills, including:
- Serious early adversity and trauma
- Chaotic, threatening, or unpredictable environments
- Highly rewarding stimuli such as food or drugs
It is great insight into the development of our kids and what we are striving to accomplish.