Nathan Mikaere-Wallis' top tips for parents for the first 1000 days of their child's life

Drown those toddlers in love, let them think for themselves and don't stress, sums up a child development expert's top tips to parents for the first 1000 days of their child's life.

It's common knowledge the first two years of a child's life are important, so here's some good advice to ensure your youngster gets a good start. Source: Seven Sharp

Seven Sharp hit the playground with some toddlers and child development expert Nathan Mikaere-Wallis.

The primary school teacher and child counsellor has a huge following of mums, three grown-up children of his own, a trail of foster children - and he was a foster kid himself.

Some experts say the first two years of a child's life can shape the kind of grown-up they turn into, so what are the most important things a parent can do to give their the child the best possible start?

Mr Mikaere-Wallis' number one tip for the first 1000 days is look after yourself when you're pregnant.

"What you want is the baby to think, 'oh no things are so blissed out and relaxed out there I don't have to worry about too much being a worrier. I can afford to put some energy into being a thinker.' And that's when you get intellect and empathy and all the good stuff," he explained.

Once the baby is born, tip two is encourage independent thinking and don't obsess over cramming facts. 

Tip three, somewhat controversially, is have one parent stay home for the first year, if possible.

"The number one intervention that is more associated with positive outcomes and high qualifications at 32, more than anything else we can measure, is having a parent stay at home," Mr Mikaere-Wallis said.

Tip four is don't panic if you haven't absolutely nailed tips one through three.

"There isn't a person living on the planet that is a waste of time or it's too late for. The brain can always change," the child development expert said.

He will be on Seven Sharp next week to explain how to help your child develop empathy.