The Science Bit
Did you know that certain parts of the brain become optimised to develop at different stages of maturity? During these times, specific activities and experiences have greater impact; meaning more connections are made in those areas. Growth outside of these times becomes more difficult. It is much harder, for example, for an adult to learn a new language. This is because the frontal and temporal lobes (the parts responsible for language) have passed their ‘critical period’ during adolescence. It is therefore important that, as parents, we provide our children with enriching experiences that are suited to and will develop and refine our children’s maturing brains.
The brain is the body’s most complex organ. As we mature, millions of new connections are made. In fact, at birth, the human brain is approximately 25% the size of an adult’s, yet, by the age of 2 this has increased to 80% - it really is a crucial time for your baby’s development!
Like a building, the brain requires strong foundations to grow. The neural pathways (connections) that children acquire as babies underpin the more advanced skills they learn later. Science has shown that a combination of genes and experiences shape the growing mind. Therefore, like architects, you play an essential role in building your child’s brain. Their genes may have mapped out their circuitry but it is your interactions with your child that is fundamental in allowing that blueprint to become reality.