Why Early Brain Development in Childhood Is Important [complete guide]
You might have often heard the saying. “When a flower doesn’t bloom, you fix the environment in which it grows, not the flower.”
Let’s say children are unbloomed flowers right at their budding stage. Suppose their brain is the flower that will bloom with their cognitive skills like intelligence, perception, imagination, and memory (to name a few) to prepare themselves for the world. In that case, the environment plays a big role.
This brings us to our excerpt today, the importance of brain development in childhood and how it can help shape them into mindful beings of the future. Some of the core concepts we will be discussing in the excerpt are as follows:
- Why is early brain development important?
- Factors that affect a child’s brain development, both positively and negatively.
- How to ensure your child’s brain development from the end of infancy to the beginning of childhood.
- How to choose the right educational institute for your child which can ensure their brain development.
Table of Contents
Statistics Of Childhood Brain Development
Here are the statistics of early brain development by top play schools, which will give you a database on early brain development in one’s childhood.
- A newborn might have the same quantity of neurons as an adult. What differs is the size, hence the functions. A baby’s neuron is 25% of that of a grown adult, and with time it develops. Neurons are very important in detecting sensory information, which can build a very important cognitive function called perception.
- 90% of cognitive functions develop by the age of 5-6. Some might even argue that this is when a child’s brain is the most malleable, and one could always remember what they were taught academically at this stage. Parents and teachers could take this opportunity to help them teach important skills, along with academic ones.
- By the age of 3, the synaptic connection has reached 1000 trillion. With time the density will increase, and it will be more difficult for new information to penetrate without the old ones interfering. This is called retroactive interference in memory, and it is the least active during the first few years.
- Did you know that an infant’s learning and memory formation occurs at five weeks of birth? So, it is never too early to start teaching them the ways of the world. However, extreme academic memory might not be their strong suit in the first few years (other than some infants born with an exceptional IQ). Therefore, with the ever-changing brain of a child, you can focus more on their creativity, imagination, and motor skills.
- Language comprehension and learning are also the strongest during the speech developmental months of 3 months to 1 year. Therefore, grasping their mother language and foreign language will be easier later if you expose them now.
Why You Shouldn’t Ignore Early Brain Development From Infancy To The Age Of 5
Here is why not teaching your children important skills wastes these golden years of development for a child.
1. It Is Easier To Develop Soft Skills
Some of the soft skills which will be easier to teach a child at a developmental stage than later are as follows:
- Creativity is led by curiosity.
- Communication skills.
- Language comprehension.
- Adaptability to different situations: Parents are even suggested not to coddle their child too much. As this can restrict their adaptability in later years.
- Interpersonal relationships with others from and beyond the family.
However, remember certain teachings might not show the ideal result on the very first go, and you will have to be patient.
2. Their Memory Is Clear
We have already discussed retroactive interference, where our previous learning interferes with new information. However, a child whose memory is developing from the third week has a clear mind daily.
Therefore, if you have important skills to impart, there is no better time than this. These skills shouldn’t pertain to the academic area only but also teach them how to be independent. For example, coping mechanisms in terms of emotional instability or self-discipline.
3. Easier To Develop Desired Response
Speaking of self-discipline, a child’s conscience is not fully grown at that stage. Therefore, they are unable to judge what is wrong and what is right.
However, from infancy to early childhood, it is easier to get the desired response from a child. They learn a lot from their environment and get a sense of right and wrong.
Hence, this is the correct time to make them understand the importance of good manners, ideal social behavior, respect, and proper speech. One can do so by reinforcing the rewards of good behavior or the negative impact of bad behavior.
Since children do have a strong observation when their brain is at the developmental stage, it is better to teach them through positivity rather than fear.
4. Great Time To An Academic Introduction
Academic life will catch up once they start their schooling. Whether it is a preschool or you homeschool your child before they are ready for kindergarten. However, we strongly suggest you enroll your 2-3-year-old in a preschool before they get into schooling.
Some of the reasons behind this decision are as follows:
- School is not just about learning lessons and coping with exams. It is also about leaving the comfort of one’s home and spending half of the day in a social setting.
- Soft skills like communication, social cooperation, and friendship are important for a child to have a good experience in school.
- Therefore, this is the time for your child to start learning, respecting their teachers, and being accustomed to the school environment since academic life will be the majority of their growing years.
5. Teaching Social Behaviour
When infants are born in a good environment with caring parents or guardians, it is easier for them to be restricted in their own cocoons. If this continues till their growing years, it can lead to poor social behavior.
The child can turn out fearing any social scenario, giving rise to social anxiety at a very young age. Or, they can turn out entitled and misbehaving.
This is why to impart good social behavior among children, both teaching and discipline have to go hand in hand. Plus, it should start young so that good behavior is not just a matter of conscience but a reflex and what’s usual.
Ensuring Proper Early Brain Development In Childhood
Both nature and nurture are responsible for a child’s early brain development. However, it is not the child that determines it. Rather it is the parent’s job to ensure that everything is ship-shaped before the child starts growing.
If you are a new parent and feel quite overwhelmed with everything coming your way, just remember you would want your child to grow into a responsible human being. You already have a 25% developed brain, and by the time they are 3, it will already be much refined to 80%.
So, rather than concentrating exclusively on their academic memory and grasping capacity, why not make them self-disciplined? Here are some of the ways you can achieve that.
1. Have A Healthy Family Environment
It is not possible to restrict every familial argument in a house. However, child psychologists do restrict the idea of doing it in front of a growing child. Their emotional maturity is still at bay, and the fight might have a bad impact on their growth.
It is always better to let them grow in a positive environment that doesn’t give them too much trauma from a young age. Yes, understanding human conflict and dealing with them is an important lesson. However, this is a lesson they should learn from their own experience rather than a guardian figure.
2. Do Not Pressurise Them To The Extreme
We often run after academic qualification from such a young age that we forget how it can affect our child’s growing brain. The concept of taking away one’s childhood is too real when it comes to the Indian culture of education.
There is no harm in familiarising them with the concept of education through daily home tutoring and play school. This will get them into the habit of studying, but you should also remember that children learn from the environment more in their growing stage than books.
Therefore, pressuring them can hamper their growth rather than help it.
3. Do Not Restrict Their Growth By Placing Them In A Box
In succession to our previous point, restricting growth can have a negative effect on a young developing brain. When you place the child in a box of learning and decide everything for them, you essentially restrict them from developing soft skills.
Skills like making decisions for oneself, being self-aware, and being curious to know the answers to new things. Have a guideline for teaching your child, but do not follow them to the ‘t’. At times, if your toddler finds pleasure in learning through legos, let them rather than forcing them to write.
4. Do Not Stop Them From Asking Questions
Children do have a lot of questions, and it can be frustrating sometimes. However, if you do not wish your child to get discouraged from asking questions, it is better to answer them in an efficient way.
Because of the lower synaptic density, it is easier for them to retain miscellaneous information, especially if that information comes in the form of symbols and colors, as their visual memory is stronger.
In order to prevent them from asking questions at all times, you can spend an hour or two with your child daily. This is a special parental care and learning opportunity every child should get, even if they go to day care. Through conversations, one can extract curious questions from the child. In this way, you will be able to mindfully answer your child’s curiosity rather than being hasty.
This is also a good space for your child to learn the right way to communicate and ask questions.
5. Do Encourage Their Creativity
“Creativity is the mother of invention.”
This quote is true in terms of a developing child’s brain as well. When you leave your kids alone, rather than controlling their every moment, you will be surprised to see what their tiny brains can come up with.
Do not restrict their playtime because this is their space to be more creative. Enroll them in pre-schools that focus less on book knowledge and more on cognitive skills through creative learning.
6. Do Make Them Believe In Themselves
They certainly need to know the right way to do something, but you cannot always expect a developing brain to know everything. So, rather than creating a negative environment by constantly pointing out their mistakes, allow them the chance to correct themselves.
This is the perfect time for your child to learn problem-solving and to be self-sufficient with what they want when they finally go for higher studies beyond a play school.
Confidence does come with time, but it is a quality that begins at home and under parental supervision. So, the next time you rectify your child’s error, why not alert them and wait for them to realize it? This will help them believe in themselves.
7. Do You Have A Limit With Praises
However, you shouldn’t make them entitled within the efforts of making them confident. A little acknowledgment and praise are always required to motivate their growing mind. However, going overboard can have the opposite effect.
Especially when they go up to school and face a pool of competition, and they have to socialize cordially. They won’t be able to tackle school life because the sole attention is not on uplifting them but on everyone in the classroom.
A child’s growing brain is familiarising with the concept of emotions, and they will be asking for a teacher’s validation. However, it is the duty of the parents and teachers to have solid communication. Only then will the child approach them when something is not right in their school. This will be a good window for parents to understand whether the child is feeling entitled or simply neglected.