“The first five years have so much to do with how the next 80 turn out”
– Bill Gates
Brain development in children happens from a very young age. By the time they are 3, about 90% of their brain is developed and by the time they turn 5, it is almost fully grown. The first three years of a child’s age are very crucial for learning and development. In the early years, different parts of the brain start to interconnect, and this is how brain connections are made. These connections enable us to move, react, speak, think, etc. Brain development is a part of cognitive development which includes learning, thinking, problem-solving skills and intellectual growth.
Now, we may wonder what we can do as parents in order to support our child’s brain development. It is just a combination of various little things that children do in their everyday life.
Their brain connections are mostly made through their everyday experiences. They are built through positive interactions with their parents, caretakers and by using their senses while interacting with the world. The amount and quality of care, interaction and stimulation given to infants and pre-schoolers in their early years is really what makes the difference.
Every little interaction with your child matters. Children at every age try to reach out and communicate with their parents, caregivers and grandparents. Even though children of different ages communicate differently, it is very important to respond to their calling. Infants usually coo, smile and cry whereas toddlers directly tell us their needs. Each and every invitation of the child is an opportunity for the caregiver to be responsive and communicate back with them. Every time parents, caregivers and families give attention and respond to their child’s interactions, they are contributing towards their child’s development. Hence, always talk, sing, play and read with your little one from their very first day.
Touch is another very important factor that contributes to brain development. Many of us might not be aware of the role that touch plays in early childhood and infancy days. Research suggests that sensory experiences in early life have effects on brain function and that brain activity is stronger among children that receive more tactile attention from their mothers. Touch and bodily sensations are supported by the sensory system and are the first to develop in humans. They act as a basis for the development of other senses, cognitive and social development you can support their growth by holding them and cuddling with them. This also makes them to feel comfortable and calm and secure. Being responsive to their feelings by showing love and concern will have a positive impact on their growth.
Therefore, it is safe to say that we as adults have a huge impact on how our child’s brain is shaped and developed. Every little thing in their early years contributes to their brain growth, so we have to make sure we put effort on a daily basis in order to support their growth.