Do Early Experiences Matter when it comes to a Babys’ Brain?
Research have shown that the first three years of your child’s life are uniquely important, because this is the most sensitive period for brain development. The experiences your child will have during this time, will shape the architecture of his/her brain, and build the connections that will help him/her develop important life-long skills like problem-solving, communication, self-control and relationship building.
New brain connections are formed at a rate of 700 every second in response to your baby’s experiences out in the world. These connections help your baby learn the essentials to survive and thrive within his/her family, community and culture. It’s the quality of your baby’s relationships that has a major influence on which brain connections take place and the strength of these connections.
What does this mean in Terms of a Baby’s Brain? Early experiences do matter.
Your baby’s brain connections, reflect the quality of care he/she receives. These differences have impacts that can last a lifetime, because our brain connections affect the way we think, the way we learn, and the way we manage our feelings and build relationships with others, all the way into adulthood.
What can you do to optimise your baby’s brain development?
- Responsive care
- Tune in to your baby’s signals, words, facial expressions and actions.
- Respond in a way that respects your baby’s needs.
- When you respond in a sensitive way, you are letting your child know you understand what he/she is telling you – that you respect his/her needs.
- These loving back and forth interactions build strong, positive brain connections that help your child thrive over time.
- See your child as a partner in your interactions
- Like a game of catch, it is all about back and forth.
- One of you starts the interaction – the other responds.
- Talk to your baby – and give them time to respond, through sounds, words or actions – then you answer back. It’s a dialogue.
There is another, perhaps surprising experience, that also nurtures healthy brain development….
- Dealing with some stress
- That’s right! A little bit of stress goes a long way towards building a strong, healthy brain.
- Helpful stress is brought along by the everyday challenges we face, like muscling through a difficult task or experience.
- These challenges help us learn new skills and how to solve problems, such as figuring out a puzzle or dealing with some difficult feelings.
- Working through this kind of stress is what helps us to get along with others and ultimately succeed in work, school and life.
- Your child is able to tolerate stress, because you are there to support him/her and he/she has learned to depend on you.
- So watch your child carefully to see what he/she is capable of and when he/she needs your help.
- Giving your child a chance to struggle a little, helps him/her how to solve problems on his/her own.
- See yourself as a coach, offering ideas or suggestions, but do not take over.
- Step in only when it is necessary.
Remember, it is mastering new challenges that builds brain power and the motivation to learn.
So what matters the most? YOU!!!
You are the most important person in your child’s life.
You know him/her best.
You love him/her most.
Remember…You are not just singing lullabies, stacking blocks, changing diapers, playing peek-a-boo or sharing stories.
You are helping your baby build a healthy brain!
Creator of www.brainybaby.site