During the first years of life, a child’s brain creates between 700 to 1,000 new neural connections per second. To better understand what happens at this turbulent time, researchers from the Washington University School of Medicine studied the influence of parents at each stage of a child’s growth. To discover that the earlier parents invest in their child’s brain development, the better.

“The parent-child relationship during the preschool period is vital, even more important than when the child get older,” said Dr. Joan L. Luby, Professor of Child Psychiatry and co-author of the study. Preschoolers whose mothers nurtured them early on had a strong rise in cognitive growth, in particular in their hippocampus – an organ responsible for learning, memory and emotions.

“Early maternal support affects the child’s brain development. We also know that providing support to parents can have a positive impact on other behavioral and adaptive outcomes in children,” said Deanna M. Barch, Professor of Psychology and also co-author of the study.

Picture: Arcanys Early Learning Foundation