In the first years of life, neurons in our brain form new connections at the astounding rate of 700–1,000 per second – a pace never repeated again.

These connections are the building blocks of a child’s future. But if a child is poorly nourished and nurtured, if she isn’t stimulated properly and protected from violence, then her development is seriously affected, sometimes irreversibly.

A child whose brain does not develop properly may not learn as well or earn as much. Not developing to her full potential hurts both her and society.

The first 1,000 days have a significant effect on a child’s future. We have one chance to get it right.

For every child, early moments matter.

Super dads

You don’t need super powers to be a super dad. Discover how fathers around the world eat, play and love with their children, and share your own super dad moment with #EarlyMomentsMatter.

Parenting tips

How do you play with your baby? How do you get your baby to smile? Here are some top tips on how to support your child’s development.


The best start in life

The groundbreaking feature documentary The Beginning of Life shows us how important a child’s earliest years are and how all of us – mothers, fathers and caregivers – can create the best possible environment for our children.

The 90-minute movie depicts how social environments are as important as genetics in influencing children’s development.

“What’s the most important thing a child has? It’s her brain. And yet, we’re not caring for children’s brains the way we care for their bodies.”

Anthony Lake, Executive Director, UNICEF

UNICEF in action

Imagine a world in which all children, everywhere, achieve their developmental potential by 5 years of age. UNICEF aims to make this vision a reality by the year 2030.

Learn more