Did you know your infant’s brain began making vital connections in the womb and has continued to make millions more since birth?
Each brain cell connects with other brain cells to form synapses and these determine who your child will be and what she will be capable of. From birth to age 6 there are important periods of brain development called “windows” which are opportune times for laying the foundation for thinking, language development, attitudes, aptitudes and other characteristics. Infancy is one of these very important windows of time for building neural pathways, and it is one that is extremely sensitive to environmental influence.
But guess what? As a parent, you have the power to guide your infant’s brain development in a way that will maximize his synaptic potential. Here is one aspect of your environment that you can easily control to ensure optimal brain wiring.
- Provide your infant with specialized interaction throughout the course of the day. Establishing personal connections with your baby is the best way to stimulate connections in his brain. Making eye contact, smiling, talking, singing, rocking and holding your child close will reinforce the critical bonding that is essential to brain growth. This type of bonding develops trust and enables your infant to feel safe and secure which will create more capacity for him to regulate his emotional states and explore the world around him. The more he is able to explore, the more his brain develops. So snuggle, play, read and be together, it’s that simple!
- Timing is important. Watch for times when your baby is calm and quiet, yet alert. These are the best times for constructive interactions. Additional stimulation when an infant is already stressed – crying, fussy, or overtired – makes it more difficult for positive connections to be made, You will know when you are making a quality connection or not, just relax and trust your instincts.