According to a recent study, children who struggle to reach the standard developmental milestones at nine months' of age will have more problems with learning when they start school.
The results come from the Millennium Cohort Study, which looked at nearly 19,000 children born at the start of the 21st century. It states that babies who were slow to develop their motor skills at a young age have a much higher chance of being behind their peers in their cognitive development, and more badly behaved at the age of five.
This study follows another by the Sutton Trust charity, which concluded that children from poorer homes are often more than a year behind their peers who have a more privileged upbringing, particularly when it comes to their grasp of vocabulary.
These reports will probably be at the centre of much debate when it comes to the election. There's a lot of pressure on the government to ensure that children have the same educational opportunities, regardless of status or class. However, these results suggest that success at school starts at an earlier age then originally assumed.
Some experts believe this research shows the need for early screenings for developmental delay at ages under one year. Understandably, there is resistance to this kind of move as it intrudes into the upbringing of a child, usually considered to be the domain of the family.
The study discovered that one of the best ways to improve their child's development is to read to them on a daily basis. Whilst watching TV and learning to count and learn the alphabet at the age of three seemed to have little effect on their development.
What do you think about these studies? Do you read to your child on a daily basis?