T he way a baby’s brain develops is spectacular and it never ceases to amaze me when I see a child in my Kindermusik class grasp a new skill, go home and practice it and come back the next week ready to learn more and enhance the new skill.
A child’s brain develops at such a rapid rate. Think about how much your child learns within the first 4 years of life. If we continued to learn at that rate all of our lives, we would be geniuses!
While brain connections are made thick and fast in the beginning, as we age, they start to die off. If we are not using those connections, and they are not strong, they will die and we will no longer have that skill.
For example, if you learn to play the piano for a couple of years when you are young but don’t continue with it, after awhile, your brain sees that those connections are no longer being used and they will wither and die.
As you can see, at birth there are not many connections, but by 6 years of age, there are more than we will have at any other time in our life.
Look at the difference in the 14 year old brain, many connections have already started to die.
These networks that are formed between the cells of the brain are crucial. This is where thinking, learning, language etc take place. So given how essential they are, why are babies born without a formed brain? By not having already formed connections, it allows your child to form networks in direct response to the world.
To a baby, you are their world so your interaction with them has a direct effect on developing their brain. The way you look into their eyes, coo, sing and talk to them or read to them. The way they feel when you rock them, massage them, touch them. All of these things impact directly on how your baby forms connections and ultimately, what skills they will acquire.
So spend time with your baby. Dance together, laugh, sing and play together and while you are having fun, know that you are helping your little one to develop essential brain connections they will use in many different ways.