Brain Development and Your Child
Research has amassed a considerable amount of evidence in recent years about early brain development and the importance of children’s early years from birth to six.
A child is born with around 100 billion cells. Many of these cells are still waiting to be connected. How many of these cells will be connected and how strong these connections will be has to do with a child’s early experiences.
4 Ways to Foster Healthy Brain Development
Breastfeed Your Child
Breast milk is the ideal food for brain development as it contains essential fatty acids required for healthy nerve and brain development.
Form a Healthy Attachment with Your Child
A strong, nurturing relationship between a child and parent goes a long way to connect and strengthen brain cells in a healthy positive manner. Early positive experiences influence a child’s future ability to handle stress, have positive social skills and problem solving abilities.
Be Responsive to Your Child’s Cues
Be tuned in to your child’s physical and emotional needs. A warm quick response when a child is upset, ill or hurt reinforces the child’s self image of being worthy, loved and important. Such feelings promote the child’s positive social and emotional development required for future relationships.
Protect Your Child from Harm
Physical or emotional harm can lead to increased stress in a child’s life, which can be detrimental particularly during those early years of brain development. With the use of consistent and appropriate discipline techniques and limit setting, a child will feel more secure in their environment. They will feel less stress as they know what to expect and know what is expected of them.
The types of experiences, interactions and relationships a child has have a direct impact on how their brain becomes wired and their future capabilities. It is a parent’s responsibility to ensure those brain connections happen in a positive, stimulating and nurturing environment.
Neuro Developmental Research, “Implications for Caregiver Practice” CCF/CICF 2001.