Your baby’s brain – how you can support healthy development
Your baby's brain gets built over time. It's a continuous process that starts during pregnancy and goes on till early adulthood. Human brain construction is very much like making a building that needs a strong foundation to tackle future challenges.
The brain comprises various components that are responsible for everything that we do, from hearing to walking, from thinking to planning, and from emotions to problem-solving. Each component has millions of neurons or brain cells. These neurons communicate by passing chemical messages to other neurons over tiny links called synapses. as the messages get repeated over and over, more links are created, and "neural pathways" are formed. These pathways are like the wiring of a circuit. In the first 3 years of life, these connections develop at an extremely fast pace.
You might be wondering how the development happens. How is this wiring created? It's very simple, you can help your baby's brain develop in healthy ways. it's easier than you might think.
Did you know?
- Your baby's brain wiring is not completely connected at birth. The wiring or the network is built based on the experiences in the first few years. It is about the day-to-day experiences - activities like playing, being read to, interactions, and being responded to by the people - that develop your baby's brain. These experiences depend upon the environment you set up for your baby, you are the engineer of your baby's environment which leads to the developmental experiences.
- Brain building is a complex process, it depends on how well the architecture is set up. That will affect your baby's ability to learn the language, solve problems, live a healthy life, do well in school and lead a successful life later on. It affects both their physical and emotional health.
What can you do?
- Provide a safe and loving environment - Babies need a healthy environment/space which provides enough learning opportunities based on their stage of development. Develop daily routines that make your baby predict their day-to-day life. This prediction helps them build their planning ability for the future. Respond warmly and predictably to your baby to make them feel safe and secure, That you are there for your baby when they need you. It shows them that they can count on you when they are sick, upset, or distressed and that you can meet their needs.
- Help them explore the environment both inside and outside - Babies learn through play and you are your baby's play partner as well as a teacher. Play helps them understand the world around them. And remember to talk to your baby as you go through your daily routines. Tell your baby what is going on, point out interesting things that you see together, and help them develop their other senses—hearing, touch, taste, and smell. Take them out on a walk, point at a tree, vehicle, or colors of the leaves, these are experiences that help your baby build the brain wiring.
- Respond to your baby - Babies can not speak, they have limited ways of expressing how they feel, and crying is also one of them. when your baby is sick, hungry, upset, or needs some comfort, they may express by crying and they expect you to respond. when you respond by cuddling them or taking them in your arms, it comforts them. as they grow they will be communicating with you using countless ways - by babbling, making sounds, smiling, when you respond consistently and lovingly, their brain gets built. these simple actions help your baby develop their brain.