A Child’s Brain Development

This was an interesting article I read today on the development and function of a child’s brain. It also Gives a few suggestions how to best nurture and educate those growing brain cells.
How Does A Child’s Brain Develop?
By the time a child is born, they have a fully developed brain. In fact, the newborn’s brain contains over one billion brain cells! Interestingly, how a child’s brain develops has a lot to do with the environment that they are in.

A child is born with the brain cells that give them the capacity to develop any number of skills. However, if the neurological connections are not being made, the brain undergoes a natural pruning process, which basically does away with unused circuits.
If you want your child’s brain to become developed in a variety of areas, you must provide adequate stimulation in the areas of physical activity, music, language and spatial reasoning, among other areas.
What Can We Do to Help?
Turn OFF the television. Watching television has been characterized as multi-leveled sensory deprivation that may be stunting the growth of our children’s brains. Television projects images that go directly into our emotional brain. Pictures that elicit emotion are processed by the limbic system and the right hemisphere of the neocortex. If no time is given to think about these emotional pictures, then the left hemisphere, the part of the brain that makes sense of, analyzes and rationalizes what we see, is not involved.

Read a lot of books to your children (especially books without lots of pictures) and tell your children lots of stories.  Reading and telling stories helps a child’s mind to create pictures and to think about them. Creating pictures is not just entertaining, but the foundation of our dreams and higher thoughts (intuitions, inspirations and imaginations).

Nature! Nature! Nature! Nature is the greatest teacher of patience, delayed gratification, reverence, awe and observation. The colors are spectacular and all the senses are stimulated. We only truly learn when all our senses are involved, and when the information is presented to us is such a way that our higher brain can absorb it.

Pay attention to the senses. Our environment is noisy and overstimulating to the sense organs. What a child sees, hears, smells, tastes and touches is extremely important to their development. How a child experiences the world has a tremendous influence on how the child perceives the world,especially as the grow into adulthood.

Use hands, feet and whole body performing purposeful activities. All the outdoor activities of running, jumping, climbing and playing help develop our children’s gross motor skills. Performing household chores, cooking, finger games, coloring and painting help develop fine motor skills and also myelinate pathways in the higher brain.

Taken from “Strangers in Our Homes: TV and Our Children’s Minds” by Susan R. Johnson, MD, FAAP

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