Brain Science & Early Childhood Development
Children can’t build their brains on their own. They need positive experiences to nurture their development. Healthy and positive relationships between child and parent are critical to creating these positive experiences.
As a parent, spending quality time with your child is key to their development. Some examples of interactions that help support your child’s brain development during the first three years include:
Talk to your child during playtime. Children learn through play! Help make playtime a better environment for children by talking to them during playtime. For example, if you hand your infant or toddler a ball, ask them what color it is, or ask them to describe what they’re doing. Responding back and forth to your child is a key to developing your child’s growing brain.
Ask your child open-ended questions. Questions beginning with “What do you think would happen…” or “I wonder why…” can act as prompts to get your child thinking about relationships between objects, people, and the world around them. Even if your child doesn’t answer, questions like these can help build the curiosity that leads to deeper learning.
When kids experience emotions, label and discuss them. Young children, especially during times of stress, need help to manage their emotions, also known as regulation. You can help your child regulate by teaching them to understand their feelings. Talk to your children about the differences between emotions like sadness and anger and help them calm down. Knowing how to appropriately diagnose their feelings will help children deal with them appropriately in the future.
Source: Prevent Child Abuse America
Devastating Impact on Health
Boston, MA -- In an impassioned TED talk, Nadine Burke Harris, a California pediatrician, cites research that links early adversity—such as physical or emotional abuse or neglect, parental mental illness or substance abuse, or domestic violence—
to a host of serious health problems. She noted that such
“toxic stress” can cause changes in the brain and the hormonal system. In particular, the repeated activation of the “fight-or-flight” response in children can lead to serious health problems over time.
Burke Harris saw firsthand the impact of trauma on her young patients in Bayview-Hunters Point, one of the poorest, most underserved neighborhoods in San Francisco. But she said the problem occurs among children across the economic and social spectrum. She called for an increased focus on preventing childhood exposure to trauma and on developing effective treatments when it does occur.
“This is treatable. This is beatable. The single most important thing that we need today is the courage to look this problem in the face and say, ‘this is real, and this is all of us,’ ” she said.
Watch Nadine Burke Harris’ TED talk:
How childhood trauma affects health across a lifetime.
Source for this article:
Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health News