Understanding How Your Baby’s Brain Develops
Just like their bodies, a child’s brain is constantly growing and developing!
In fact, the first year of a child’s life is one of the busiest periods of brain development. The brain produces more than a million neural connections each second during this time as it develops rapidly.
Neural connections are key to helping children learn and develop. What is a neural connection?
- A nerve cell in the brain is called a neuron.
- When neurons connect with each other, they form a neural connection.
- These connections are the framework for our understanding of the world around us.
- Neural connections strengthen with repetition! This is why it’s so important to repeat actions that can help your child learn and develop.
The early years of a child’s life are very important for later health and development. Although the brain continues to develop and change into adulthood, the early years can build a foundation for future learning.
So how can you promote healthy development of your child’s mind?
Create a loving environment that meets all of baby’s basic needs.
Basic needs are the actions that make up the foundation of baby’s care, and include feeding, bathing, diapering, being comforted when crying, and all of the other steps parents take to help their baby feel loved and safe. These moments happen every day, in so many ways.
- Routines and consistency help children feel safe and less anxious. Learn about developing your own routine for your family!
- One way to bond with your baby from a young age is Massage+ 30, 10, 5, an activity that helps with your child’s development.
Give your child healthy food.
Healthy food helps cell growth in the brain.
- In the first 4-6 months of life, the best food for your baby is breast milk or formula. Visit our feeding page to learn more about your child’s feeding development.
- As your child begins to eat solid foods, you’ll want to keep their diet nutritious and balanced. Check out our superfoods chart for some feeding ideas.
Moving around helps the development of motor skills, which give children the ability to explore.
- Achieving motor milestones can help them learn about the world around them. Learn more about how to encourage crawling.
- Sign up for our Baby Games Calendar to get ideas to stay active at every age for the first two years of life.
- As they get bigger, here are some great ways to get your little one moving!
Interact with your baby.
Even if they don’t know what you’re saying yet, talk and read to your baby so they can begin to understand basic communication.
- Here are some tips on how to promote communication with your little one.
- Watch to learn about Serve and Return, and important communication development technique.
- Even if your child isn’t reading independently yet, there are still great benefits to reading books with them.
Make sure they get enough sleep.
Sleep helps the brain rest and promotes development.
- Always remember, back to sleep and tummy to play!
- Watch this video to learn more about your baby’s sleep.
- Learn more about sleep training for your baby and sleeping tips for your child.
Want to learn more about baby’s development and track their milestones?
Download the FREE Pathways.org Baby Milestones App!
Check out what else to expect from your baby. Follow their milestones here!