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What's Going On In There? How the Brain and Mind Develop in the First Five Years of Life
- By Lise Eliot, Ph.D

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Child Brain Building through Smart Play - Understanding the Basics

By Andrew Loh


All babies are born with their rudimentary brains ready to adapt to the ever changing external stimulus and internal needs of the body. An infant's brain is a complex organ that is designed to perform a series of highly complicated and difficult functions. A typical baby brain grows at a lightening pace to build a series of connections as the babies start learning and experiencing the essence of life. A baby's primary brain grows and develops throughout the life though the rate of development is always the fastest during the first 20 years of human life.

In fact, when your child reaches the age of five, he or she would have grown more than 90% of their potential mental growth. Most of the brain building activities take place within the first five or six years. Almost all child learning experts and academicians agree that specific timeframes for the development of baby brain occur when the baby is young. This period is referred to as very critical, prime and time of opportunity for a growing baby. The first five or six years of life is very critical for a child, because this is the time when he or she starts to develop basic skills, senses and a host of other brain related characters.

As a devoted parent, you will do everything to nurture your baby and develop him or her to face the odds and obstacles of life. However, providing nutritious food and proper physical care is one mandatory thing. But, building your baby's basic brain should be the top most priority to you. As you touch your baby, feed him or her, fondle, cuddle, love and shower your affection, you are helping him or her to develop a series of important brain connections. These important connections will form a solid foundation of how babies think and behave about themselves and in what manner they relate to their family members and the wide world around them.

Brain building is a very complex subject to learn and understand. But, it is quite simple as well, when you learn the fundamentals of the subject. Brain building is a series of processes that focus specially on building brain cell connections, create a formidable network of neurons and help the brain to perform better in cognitive, thinking, sensing, communication and emotional skills. Mind you these skills are absolute necessities for the success of a person. While performing better in a classroom is a need to succeed in professional life, all other skills are mandatory for reaching important goals in personal life. Hours of play, especially active, dynamic, interactive, creative, and educational play, help children develop such basic and fundamental, social and academic skills as concentration, logistics, problem solving, communication, and cooperation.

Building your baby's brain starts right at the birth. The first immediate thing that you will do as a parent is to cuddle your baby and shower affection and love. Possibly the tender personal touch that you provide will energize your baby to its core. With age, your baby will start developing a series of important skills and characters like:

  1. Development of fine senses is perhaps the most important milestone in your baby's life. Senses could be anything in its nature; abilities to possess very clear and extremely coordinated eyesight, hearing, seeing, and touch are some of the most critical developmental milestones in your baby's life. Your baby's brain needs a strong fillip to master senses of sight, touch, taste, sound and smell. Better brain cell connections help your baby develop in a normal manner.

  2. Development of language and communication skills is as important factors as any other parameters. These skills come little late in the life of your baby. But, you could make tremendous difference to your baby, when you apply subtle brain building techniques.

  3. Developing social and emotional skills in your baby is another important milestone. You can help your baby develop these skills in an early age. You will need to make your child develop social attachments, help learn how to trust others, learn ways to feel safe and secure and have control over emotions.

Basics of Brain-Building

Here are some major factors that you need to consider while building your baby's brain:

  1. Sense of touch: Deep love and affection are two magic potions that can help your baby build its brain and its processing powers. The power of touch may include loving gesture, smooth touch, gentle massaging, cuddling, holding, hugging. These simple gesture work like miracles to develop your baby's fine senses as well.

  2. Interaction: Interaction is a very powerful and magnetic equation between the baby and parents. All babies learn quickly through smart playing. In essence, play is always equivalent to learning process. To help develop learning functions, you may like to talk to your baby, sing lullabies, and hug her or him throughout the day. Each step that you take to develop your baby's brain will go a long way to help succeed in life.

  3. Nutrition: Providing proper nutrition is another important step in building your baby's brain. An access to high quality nutrition is the first step to make your baby physically and mentally stronger.

  4. Active play: Children learn through active play. They need to play everyday, irrespective of their age and mental status. Smart toys can make your children smart, skilled and intelligent.

Every parent wants smart children who can think and act beyond the usual. While scholastic abilities are considered vital for a child's classroom success, he or she will perform better when parents become proactive in developing and building their brain very early during the first year of life. Brain building through smart play is a continuous activity that focuses on developing your baby's brain by empowering it to critically think, seriously probe and evaluate things around them.

You child can easily excel in his or her life by doing and repeating things over and again. The most important advantage of smart play is learning by studying the cause-effect relationship. Exploring by using trial and error method is perhaps the first basic learning experience that you child can learn and master. Active and smart play provides your child an opportunity to hone and master a number of brain skills and techniques. 



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