Touch. Talk. Read. Smile. Sing. Count. Play.

These are seven simple strategies you can use to build your baby's brainpower.

You know that nutritious food helps your baby's body grow, but did you also know that loving nurturing experiences help your child's brain grow? Parents play an important role in shaping how their babies will learn, think and behave in the future.

Science tells us that it is the simple encounters — everyday moments — babies have in their earliest years that are important for the growth of healthy brains. Everything your baby hears, sees, smells, feels and tastes plays a part in healthy brain growth and development. As scientists learn more about how the brain works and develops, we may need to revisit our own thinking about the brain.

Let's look at a few common myths about brain development.

Myth: The human brain is already fully developed at birth just like the heart or stomach.

Fact: While some of the brain's cells are formed before birth, most of your child's brain development takes place after birth. It is during the critical first three years of life that the brain cells are making most of their connections with the other cells. The brain is a busy hub of activity.

Did you know that a three-year- old has a brain twice as active as an adult? The adult brain is more efficient — it has pruned any connections that it doesn't need. By about age three, the brain's cells have made most of their connections to other cells and, over the next several years, those connections will be refined. The connections used most are getting stronger and those used least are withering. It's a "use it" or "lose it" principle. Baby's brain is forever changing and developing as connections are refined based on your child's experiences.

Myth: Brain development depends entirely on the genes you were born with.

Fact: We now know for certain that your child's early experiences are equally as important as genetics. Spending time with your child can boost brain power and make a positive difference. Paying attention to your child's basic needs will help your child's brain form important connections. Babies need a variety of rich daily experiences and loving interactions with parents and caregivers repeated often in the first three years.

To help promote healthy brain growth, respond to your baby's needs in a warm and loving way. Babies give us many cues and clues for us to be responsive to — crying, cooing, babbling, smiling, reaching, touching and gazing are just a few.


Source: Belleville Intelligencer –