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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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Early Brain Nurturing in Children - Parental Intervention to Kick Start Brain Development

By Andrew Loh



Human brain is a strange organ! Likewise, a child's brain is mysterious and ever evolving! Medical facts and research findings suggest us that child brain has a number of periods of higher and better learning when compared to others. At certain times, brain is more likely to secrete very important bio-chemicals known as brain growth factors. These brain growth factors possess an ability to encircle neurons with a high quality and fatty layer of unknown substances (protein-rich) that eventually speeds up learning process. Is it possible to trigger these brain-growing periods with useful techniques? Experts also suggest us that parents should find ways to excite and create new learning environments that triggers meaningful learning process among children.

Motivating children brain goes beyond just showering love and affection. Your children need more than that; in fact, parents may need to provide an elusive impetus and catalyst that make them learn at a faster pace. Children need various nurturing aids, tools and a dose of excitement to learn at a productive pace. Unless a child has the desire and the required motivation to work on own, parents may need to devise their own ways and methods to encourage his or her to work hard.

Before understanding how early child nurturing aids work to your children's advantage, let us know how two distinctive phases of brain work and influence learning. Brain development research of the past suggests two specific periods of brain development. These two periods are Critical period and Sensitive period.

Critical Periods

Critical periods represent very small interludes of occasions during which a particular area of children's body stays in a weak position to the lack of a strong external stimulation or excitement. For example, vision and audition are two basic developmental phases that occur during the first six months of life. If an infant fails to see, the light rays or hears sound bites in the first six month of life, the visual and auditory nerves that connect to the brain would gradually decay and die.

Sensitive Periods

On the other hand, sensitive periods of brain development represent very wide interludes of occasions when children could learn some types of learning. This period may indicate not-too-precise or very longer sessions of learning. A child may be using this opportunity when he or she learns the basics of second language. Like the former period, if the child fails to utilize this opportunity, the specific learning might never occur and it may even be lost forever.

If your children acquire some skills during this period, they will be better in their personal and academic life. Some of the skills those are learnt during this time interlude relate to social, emotional and mental skills. In other words, parents should make use of this period to their maximum efficiency. The early brain research suggests us that the age gap of 6 months to 3 years belongs to sensitive period.

The critical period in a child's life relates to mental and physical development as dictated by the nature. Nature plans an important role now. Many events in a child's early development phase are very difficult to control and manage by parents and caregivers. Severe medical conditions, malfunctions or illnesses may play a vital role in child's normal brand development. However, sensitive periods are the time phases when parents could use many nurturing tools and aids to help children in raising their intelligence and cognition.

A child, in its infancy, may ask rudimental questions to itself and these questions are very critical for their development as parent's failure to answer these questions may derail normal child development. Some of these questions are as follows:

  • Would people respond to my needs and requirements?

  • Is the person in front of me is trustable?

  • Would be person in front of me would be available when I require?

  • Am I an important entity for the person in front of me?

  • What type of behavior would the person in front expect from me?

Learning during sensitive periods happens with all the five senses. Introducing early brain nurturing aids would enhance learning by using all these five senses of the body. For example, the brain gets its necessary inputs from senses like sight, hearing, smell, touch and taste. Early nurturing aids need not be physical in nature. A series of multi-sensory experiences would boost children's cognitive, social, emotional, physical, speech and language skills.

The first important task for a parent is to create a meaningful and productive multi-sensory environment by using a number of techniques and tools. Here are some of them:

Smell senses: Introduce very low doses of aromatic oil in the home. Buy safe-grade oil sprays that contain different oils. Traditionally, people consider lavender aroma synonymous with calmness and relaxation, while cinnamon and peppermint would keep children wide-awake and responsive.

Vision and lighting: Lighting may play an important role in making children either alert or dull. Bright child always keeps infants on an alter mode while soft light helps them to calm down. Young children at least 12-14 hours of sleep and you may create such an environment in your house by controlling the ambient light.

Vision and colors: Almost all colors are rejuvenating in nature. Color is the essence of life too. Some colors enhance learning activity; colors like yellow, beige and off-white are soothing and relaxing, and they help children calm down and relax. Children's day or study room should be colored bright shades like red or orange so that they can excite your children to study more.

Hearing and music: Light music acts as a learner booster! Quiet and soft music played in children room when they are sleeping will help their brain get excited for better brain wiring. Music may also enhance intelligence and IQ levels.

A series of early brain nurturing aids will help your children develop their brain at an optimum level. In the next article, let us deal with intuitive measures to make your children smarter and brainier. Continue to read Early Brain Nurturing in Children - Working Beyond Standard Parental Techniques



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