Your baby's brain development
The Our First Year team has discussed the importance of early intervention several times in our previous blogs. The reason behind this is the enormous amount of brain growth between birth and three years of age. At birth, a baby's brain is approximately 25% of the size of an adult brain. By age three, this increases to 80%. This is the reason that babies and toddlers learn at a faster rate than adults. Think about how difficult it is to learn a foreign language the older you are, yet small children can pick up languages and sound like a native speaker in a matter of months.
According to an article featured in the Adam-Mila website, "the more often a skill or idea is practiced or heard, the stronger that synapse (in the brain) gets." This rings true for areas such as language and motor skills. If a toddler is on an electronic device or watching a screen, they are missing out on opportunities to practice these critical skills. Parents can foster these developmental skills by providing children an environment rich in social interactions, physical activity, novel experiences, and sensory activities.
Another excellent article on brain development comes from NPR, "5 Simple Ways to Encourage Brain Development in Your Little One." Ron Ferguson, a Harvard economist, noted that "the achievement gap that exists between kids of different races and socioeconomic statuses is visible by age 2." This is very concerning and again highlights the importance of parent education and early intervention. Mr. Ferguson has found five simple ways that adults can help their babies:
1. Maximize love, manage stress
2. Talk, sing, and point
3. Count, group, and compare
4. Explore through movement and play
5. Read and discuss stories
These five principles seem to align quite well with the Our First Year Team's school of thought: Engage in purposeful play with your baby.
Please check out these two articles that were highlighted in this blog for more information on brain development. Work on your baby's brain development with some developmental toys and activity cards from the Our First Year backpack...it's all in the bag!