The early interactions a child has with their parents, siblings, grandparents, and caregivers make a lasting imprint on their brain. They influence how a child perceives the world and moves through it, setting up the brain for all future learning. Think of it like a house: If the foundation isn’t solid, the rest of the house will have problems. Brains work the same way — they’re built from the ground up.
As SheKnows health editor Dr. Elizabeth Yuko explains in the above video, babies and toddlers need positive interactions to build strong foundations (aka, brain architecture). From birth to age three, a child’s brain is in its most sensitive period, and it is constantly forming connections, which are the building blocks of a brain’s foundation. Activities like talking, reading, singing, cuddling, and playing help the right kind of connections form.
Of course, genes play a role, too. They are a blueprint for those connections, but repeatedly using certain connections allows them to take root in the brain. It’s why you want to interact with your child as much as possible. Have conversations with them — responding to their gestures, smiles, and babbles with eye contact and words — and repeat their favorite books, games, and songs.
Besides developing language, social and emotional skills, and fine and gross motor skills, interactions show the children the world is a safe, loving, and supportive place. And that is, in turn, what they’ll come to expect from it — which is exactly what you’d expect from a happy, healthy brain.
This post was created by SheKnows for First 5 California.