The word development describes not only a child’s physical growth, but also other aspects such as social, emotional, behavioral, communication, and thinking skills. All these areas are interrelated, interdependent of each other, and determines how he/ she is as an adult.
During the first five years of a child’s life, brain development is much faster than at any other period in his/her life. The early experiences of a child, which include relationships and the perceptions of the five major senses, helps stimulate the brain, creating millions of neural pathways.
Essentially, the connection created inside a child’s brain lays the foundation for health, learning, and behavior throughout his/her life.
A baby’s brain is like that of an empty flash drive that is ready to be filled with all sorts of data. Babies are born ready to learn. Through a stimulating and caring environment that offers plenty of stimulating activity, your child is better prepared to cope with the ever-changing world.
Human Brain is Nearly Full Grown by Age 5
Do you know that the command center of our body, our brain, is an organ that is not fully developed at birth? Studies have shown that at birth, a child’s brain is only a quarter of the size of an average adult’s brain.
What is amazing though is that during the first five years from birth, a child’s brain rapidly develops and grows. In the first year, it doubles in size. By the age of three, it becomes 80 percent of adults’ size. And finally, by the age of five, a child’s brain is 90 percent of the adult size.
Newborn babies have all the brain cells that they will have for the rest of their lives. However, these neural pathways need to build connections to work. It is through brain stimulation that lays the foundation for everything which a child will carry with him/herself through adult life.
Brain Development is Equal to Child Development
Every child develops differently. Some will talk and walk earlier, while others may take more time to take their first step, or utter their first word.
Nonetheless, it is very much clear that the first five years are crucial. A child whose brain is well-developed during this period is likely to grow up as a capable, healthy, and well-adjusted adult.
Research has also shown that the neural connections made during the first five years of a child’s life are important in developing higher-level abilities such as self-esteem, problem-solving, communication, motivation, and self-regulation.
As a child gets older, it becomes more difficult to establish these essential brain connections.
Foundations for Child Development
A child’s relationship with the adults in his/her life is the most crucial in helping shape his/her development. Those who grew up in a loving relationship with warm, dependable, and responsive adults are likely to grow up as emotionally healthy adults.
Relationships are formed beginning at home, with the primary caregivers. Babies show their invitation for people around them to engage with them by cooing, smiling, and crying. How parents and other adult caregivers respond or not to these little invitations will shape the child’s future relationships.
Play is the primary way for children to learn and develop. It offers them the chance to explore, observe, experiment, solve challenges, and learn from mistakes. Along the way, a child needs support and encouragement from his/her primary caregivers.
While it is natural for parents to immediately offer assistance when their child is experiencing difficulties, give your child a chance to learn things on his/her own. Through their mistakes, they learn.
3. Health and Well-Being
The energy and nutrition that your child gets, the physical activities he/ she engages in, and the illnesses that your child faces growing up also lays the foundation of your child’s development.
By introducing to your child at a young age healthy eating patterns and nutritious food, they are likely to follow through with that in their adult life. Same as with physical activities, children who are exposed to an active lifestyle are less likely to be sedentary adults.
4. Neighborhood and Community
Lastly, the neighborhood and the community that your child grows into also have an impact on your child’s development. The positive relationships your child form with the friends and neighbors they have will have a lasting effect on your child’s life.
Hire a home builder or contractor to build your home in a safe and healthy neighborhood that offers easy access to parks, playgrounds, shops, and local services.
Being a parent is both an exciting and terrifying task. With these pointers lined out, hopefully, you can make the first five years of your child’s life fruitful.