Need Services? One Number. One Call. 888-634-7900

My Child's Brain Development

 

Parents and caregivers: do you know that every encounter you have with a baby helps to determine his or her future? When you look at a baby and smile and coo, parts of the baby’s brain begins connecting dots. By the same token, every time a baby’s needs – hunger, wetness, human touch – go unmet, millions of the dots, which are needed for important connections, wither and die. The result? Who that child is and will become is changed forever – for better or for worse.

 

To take an interactive look at your infant and young child's brain development, please click here to visit ZERO to THREE's Baby Brain Map.

 

Touch, talking and things an infant sees and smells all build connections – if done with continuity in a loving, consistent and predictable manner. These connections die if not maintained. If there are no experiences, the connections are pruned back and the brain remains small. There is mounting evidence that early experiences can dramatically alter the way genes are expressed in the developing brain. Good experiences help any brain develop well.

Experts agree on the 10 top things babies need to thrive:
 

 

Interaction

Infants are learning almost from the time of conception. Much work has been done to study how and what an infant learns while still inside his or her mother's body. This is a fascinating field. Dr. T. Berry Brazelton has demonstrated how it is possible to capture a baby's attention at birth and engage the child in interaction. Interactions with people and objects are as necessary to the baby as healthy foods.

(back to top)


Touch

Touch is critical to development! Of all the sensory experiences, touch is how the infant first knows he is loved. It is the source of comfort. Holding is reassuring in the face of strangeness. Touch literally sends signals to the brain telling it to grow (make connections).

(back to top)


Stable relationship

A loving, consistent relationship can offset even the most stressful situation. Without it, growth can by stunted both mentally and physically.

(back to top)


Safe, healthy environment

This means free from abuse and neglect, as well as free from exposure to dangerous environmental factors such as lead and smoking.

(back to top)


Self-esteem

The root of all emotional feeling is in the brain stem. It takes nearly one and a half years for a child to learn how to control her feelings. How well she does this depends solely on the parents. Children mirror what is around them – like sponges, they absorb.

(back to top)


Quality care

Child care aimed at learning about others, about oneself, and learning how to control and use one's environment, is invaluable. The professional organization of prison wardens correlates the need for investing money in the first three years of life as prevention with a later necessity to build prisons.

(back to top)


Communication

A child's ability to communicate begins at birth. By six months of age, a child can duplicate the sounds he hears. The more words the infant hears, the more connections are made. Children need to interact with people to learn a language. They learn words by hearing them repeatedly. It is critical to engage them in conversation.

(back to top)


Play

Everything is learned through play. Play is linked to mental development. It is the experience, NOT the toy, which aids growth in the brain. It has been found that children who do best on tests are those whose parents play with them.

(back to top)


Music

Children have an affinity for music from birth. They need to be involved in music, not just listen to it. Infancy is not too early for a child to experience music as a form of recreation, enjoyably integrating the sounds and vibrations into her bodily movements.

(back to top)


Reading

Reading to children has a tremendous impact on their lives. It melds the parents' relationships with the child to the active reading experience. Sharing a book leads to learning to read. The more you do it, the more connections will be made in the brain.

(back to top)

Available characters remaining:
Span Validation
refresh button help button
Hint: enter up to eight alpha characters

 

Children's Services Council of Palm Beach County
2300 High Ridge Road, Boynton Beach, FL 33426
561-740-7000 or 1-800-331-1462
561-835-1956
Under Florida law, e-mail addresses are public records.
If you do not want your e-mail address released in response to a public records request, do not send electronic mail to this entity. Instead, contact this office by phone or in writing.
© 2017 Children's Services Council of Palm Beach County