Building a Baby's Brain
Updated: Sep 13
What can I do to help support brain development for my child?
Did you know that your baby’s brain will grow faster in the first few years than at any other time during their life? In fact, research has shown that as many as 1 million new neural connections are formed every second during the first few months. More than 60% of your baby’s energy goes into growing their brain! Mind blowing right?!
As a parent, you are probably want to know "what can I do to help support brain development for my child?"
So let me tell you a little more (with the help of Kelly Smith).
When babies are born, they have all of the raw material that they need to make strong brains, however this does not happen just by chance.
Our brains need strong pathways to learn to process information, for physical, emotional, and social development, and to connect the different brain areas.
Environment, connection with the caregiver, and stimulation that is provided to the infant in the first years of their life is CRITICAL to brain development.
Secure attachment - knowing that you are safe, that your parent will come back, that they will take care of you, that they will help you meet your needs. Instead of worrying if you are “spoiling your baby” pick them up! Snuggle away and know that you are building a secure attachment base, and in turn growing their brain in a healthy way. A secure attachment is the foundation for learning, development, connection, and self-regulation.
There are many simple and "free" ways that you can help build your baby’s brain every single day. Let's cover 2 of those.
Movement is not the same as exercise.
The more time our babies spend in containment devices (such as strollers, exersaucers, bouncers, highchairs, car seats, etc) the less time they are able to physically move and make more connections in their brain. These devices are NOT dangerous, but the less they are used, the more time a baby is given to develop strong neurological pathways.
Tummy time is a crucial component to this, because it helps to strengthen the coordination, visual motor, and gross motor development. Some babies may cry but there is no need to allow your baby to cry! Check out THIS post for some ideas to make tummy time more enjoyable for your baby. And yes, you can start tummy time from day one, baby on mamas chest is tummy time!
"Play is the highest form of research" - Albert Einstein
Play is vital to a developing brain as it supports sensory processing which is fundamental for brain development. In my guide "A Guide to Raising a Smart Baby" we give many examples of play with littles for the first year of life. We go into lots of details in explaining those as well.
Some things to keep in mind when it comes to play:
Keep your child's play area very minimal. Less is actually more! Check out THIS blog post where I share more about that.
Try to pick toys that are less overstimulating like Vibrant colors and too many colors or toys that are "push the button" those do all the job for your child and don't leave room for your child to do much. Your child's job is to discover how things work, with a push of a button toy, your child can't understand how the toy actually works snd if left with no opportunities to use their imagination.
Utilize outdoor time! Babies learn so much when outside and they work so many senses at once. Take your kids outside from the newborn age and allow them to observe their surrounding, smell and touch nature. That by itself is incredible for brain development.
Kelly from @movementmatters is a Neuropsych RN that specializes in teaching the science of behavior. Together we wrote a guide to walk you through the perfect, simple brain building play for the first year. Kelly teaches all about self-regulation and minimizing behavior struggles. I have teamed up with one of the best to bring you one of a kind information.
Click HERE to review the guide.
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