Did you know there are over 700 new synapses formed per second in babies brains?
Interactions in the early years of parenting literally shape the architecture of the human brain as these synapses are forming.
(Just a few tidbits from another early childhood development class I’m taking online that is so good. And oh, I have so much more to share!)
But isn’t that thought about all those synapses forming so powerful?
And also daunting?
I mean, that puts a lot of responsibility on us as mothers.
Luckily there are other people in our “villages” who can help with that positive interaction in development.
(and brothers and aunts and uncles and friends, you name it, they can all help with brain-building in a positive way)
In general there are universal things we want for our children:
- self-confidence*** (this one is taking a major beating these days!)
- education/cognitive development
- strong relationships
- to be able to problem-solve
- impulse control
And there are some crucial, sometimes-almost-so-simple-that-we-don’t-even-realize-their-importance ways to help them achieve those things (as those synapses are taking shape) that make such a huge difference in the early years of their lives:
- eye contact
- “serve & return” (so much more to say about this some day but click HERE for more for now)
- welcome response (one of my favorite things to think about, and what Claire is doing for Lucy in that picture above)
- awareness (smile, touch, focus)
- love, unconditional
Those little sometimes seemingly insignificant things are so incredibly important.
“Early experiences literally shape our biology, create a strong or weak foundation for health, learning and behavior that follow for a lifetime.” –Jack Shonkoff
Lots more to come on each of these things and how to engage in them more fully coming up in the next few weeks.
For now, I’m challenging us all to put away the computer or phone (like I’m going to do right now!) and go ask your child a sincere question about their day. Or focus for a little while on the same thing your baby is focusing on. Or hug your teenager for at least eight seconds (because although the plasticity of the brain isn’t as pliable for teenagers, oh boy, I think all this stuff is so incredibly important for them too!).
I think this stuff not only creates a hugely positive impact on children, but on the mama too!