Why You Should Be Teaching Your Baby Early – Baby Brain Development

“I just want my kid to be happy” is what I hear from most of my clients! Guess what? I want your kids to be happy too. But what many Moms don’t know is how much brain stimulation contributes to that happiness. The time from birth to 3 years old is a very important time in baby brain development. The primary years serve as the neurological foundation of intellectual growth for the rest of a child’s life.

What does the Science say about it?

At conception, the neurons/nerve cells from the brain flourish faster than any other cells within a baby’s body.

This fast pace continues into early childhood:

birth, the brain weighs 25% of their adult excess weight;

by year one 50%; by year two, 75%; and by year 5, 90%.

Just to give you some context, the adult brain has over 100 billion neurons and the majority of those were formed during the first five months in the womb.

Each neuron of the brain is connected with roughly 5,000 others. This means that the more connections the brain has the greater its processing power. And the more ways information can travel, the faster and more complex the thinking.

“Use it or lose it”

Your baby’s brain actually has more connections than yours, but only since it hasn’t passed a vital developmental stage, known as pruning.

Pruning is a key part of brain development because it eliminates the connections that are not used often enough. So if they don’t use it, they lose it! Some pruning begins very early in development, but the most rapid pruning starts at around age 3.

This pruning shows how adaptable young brains really are. Their brains are literally sculpted by the environments in which they are raised.

This has led to the scientific theory of “critical periods”: specific time periods in which stimulation needs to occur, or the opportunity to develop normal functioning will be lost.

There is nothing more disastrous for baby brain development than the lack of stimulation.

Want some ideas to stimulate your baby’s brain? Click here.

 

What have we seen in real life?

Scientists have found the playing a musical instrument can make a child smarter. With playing, certain elements of the mind are larger and much more developed inside children that play musical instruments than in children who don’t.

These include the cerebellum (beat and timing processor) and the corpus callosum (conduit between your brain’s left and right hemispheres), important for musicians coordinating both right and left hands, and executive function.

And in the US, Head Start and Early Head Start are producing measurable cognitive and emotional benefits in children – benefits that can last into middle and even high school. Some of the Head Start programs have produced boosts in IQ equivalent to eight IQ points.

In general, the younger intervention, the more significant and long-lasting the effects. Full-day Head Start programs for infants have been shown to produce IQ gains lasting into adolescence.

 

Its great news that certain institutions are engaging infants and toddlers and seeing positive result, but as parents, we especially need to take on that responsibility, without relying on outside influences or programs.

If we don’t, we miss a unique opportunity to enhance baby brain development.

 

“I believe the children are our future. Teach them well [and early] and let them lead the way” – Whitney Houston