11 Useful Ways to Strengthen the Brain Connections in Early Childhood.

Early Childhood is the crucial period for  Brain Connections.

Early Childhood is the Crucial Period for Brain Connection.

Early Childhood is known as the most sensitive period for the development of brain of children. The growth of brain connections in early childhood is maximum, different research works showed that 90% of brain growth happens before kindergarten level. Here Early childhood refers to the period of first six years of a child when the brain grows at an extraordinary speed. In those early years brain connections are more plastic and malleable, so the children can easily learn new skills, new concepts or new languages. By providing conducive environment and experiences, we can strengthen the brain connections in early childhood.

What do you mean by Brain Connections ?

Brain connections refers to the pattern of links or connections between the Neurons, the functional and structural unit of nervous system. These brain connections are also known as the Neural Connections or Synapses that enable us to work, to think, to focus, to concentrate and also to do movements. As the brain matures, more and more nerve fibers grow and the brain becomes interconnected and those interconnected network of neurons are known as Brain connections.

Why Brain Connections in Early Childhood are so Significant?

Because almost 90% of brain development occurs in the period of Early childhood. That’s why the Early childhood period is known as the most critical period or sensitive period for brain development. The brain connections in Early childhood are at its peak, in every second more than one million new brain connections or neural connections are made and those connections are responsible for critical thinking, reasoning, memory, problem solving, creativity i.e. highest order of cognitive development.

Different research works figured out that at birth, the average baby’s brain is about a quarter of the size of an adult’s brain and it becomes double in size in the first year of the baby. The brain grows to about 80% of adult size by the age of 3 and almost 90% brain development occurs by age 5. So, it is most important to strengthen the brain connections in early childhood.

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Useful Ways to Strengthen the Brain Connections

The brain is more flexible at early years of life and due to its plasticity, it is capable of capturing, organizing and reorganizing information and also adapting to new challenges of life. So, the conducive environment and experiences always enhance the growth of the children by strengthening the brain connections in early childhood. The most useful ways to strengthen the brain connections of children are-:

Talking with the Children

The adults i.e., the parents or other caregivers should always talk with the children at early childhood level as it helps not only in language development of children but also in cognitive development and also in emotional development. Talking with the children and also listening to them increase their vocabulary level and research found that early vocabulary is the indicator of their outcome in reading, comprehension, decoding and communication. Thus, talking with children surely strengthen the brain connections in early childhood and maximize the language development, cognitive development and communication skill of children.

Through Caring Relationships

Expressing care and concern among the family members is a must for healthy development of children. The presence of caring persons in the children’s surrounding give them a sense of security, care, trust, affections and love and thus help them to maximize their emotional and social development. Caring relationships shape the perceptions of children about themselves and others and thus boost up the brain connections in early childhood.

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Exploring the Immediate Surrounding

More and more scope to explore the immediate surrounding tremendously strengthen the brain connections in early childhood as the children experience many new things and events, acquire new and new knowledge and skills and be ready to make a mindset of scientific reasoning and enquiry. For example, if a child is given the scope to spend sometimes in the garden of the house, he will experience more about the nature- the plants, flowers, fruits, soil, the animals living in the soil, the birds and also can communicate with the gardener. All these experiences help him to form more and more ‘Schemas’ and thus enhance the growth of his cognitive, social, aesthetic development and environmental awareness.

Exploring the Immediate  Environment strengthen the brain connections in early childhood.
Exploring the Immediate Environment strengthen the Brain Connections in Early Childhood.

Playing- the Ultimate Way

Playing is most essential way to strengthen the brain connections in early childhood as play contributes the most not only to the physical development of children but also to the cognitive, social and emotional well-being of children. Play is so important to optimal child development that it has been recognized by the United Nations High Commision for Human Rights as the right of every child- Right to Play. Play helps children to use their imagination, creativity, thinking skill, problem solving skills and thus enhance their healthy brain development.

Storytelling and Listening to Story

Storytelling always enhances the imagination, visualization, creativity, decision-making skills of children and also facilitate their communication skills and language development. Different Studies showed that even before the identification of letters, only by listening to stories and showing the pictures can form so many connections in brain.

Involving in Different Activities

Involving the children in different activities of daily life can also strengthen the brain connections and help them to acquire many skills. For example, asking help to the child for arranging the dining table or keeping the vegetables in the freeze or watering the plants etc. are really beneficial to enhance co-ordination skills, problem solving skills, decision-making skills, confidence and creativity among children.

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Solving Picture Puzzles

Solving picture puzzles really helps children to boost up their imagination, creativity, problem-solving skills, critical thinking skills and thus strengthen the brain connections in early childhood. That’s why in all play- schools and kindergartens, picture puzzles are given to children to maximize their brain development.

Learning Music or to Play Musical Instruments

Music has the ability to enhance the brain connections in early childhood and a rich musical environment foster the sensory development of children of that period and also the cognitive and emotional development. In 1983, the famous psychologist Howard Gardner enlisted the musical intelligence as important as the logical or kinetics one. Moreover, playing the musical instrument help to foster the growth of fine motor skills, Eye- Hand coordination and concentration of the children.

Reading Together

Reading together by the parents and children is really beneficial as it fosters imagination, creativity, curiosity and also the development of language among children. A study from the state of Ohio State University showed that children who have the habit of reading in the first 5 years of life have a 1.4-million-word advantage over children who have not the habit of reading. Thus, reading together not only strengthen the bond between parents and children but also enhance the brain connections in early childhood.

Reading can enhance the brain connections of children.
Reading can enhance the Brain Connections in Early Childhood.

Drawing or Painting

Drawing, Painting or just scribbling also tremendously enhance the imagination, creativity, sensory development, cognitive development and also the fine motor skills. The painting or drawing of a child depicts the uniqueness of each child and obviously strengthen the brain connections in early childhood.

Asking Questions

Asking questions can also beneficial the brain development of children as the mind of the children is designed to explore the world with the essence of scientific enquiry and enthusiasm. So, never scold the children as they are asking questions, try to give the answer or lead them to find out the answer by themselves. You can also ask different questions to them to strengthen the brain connections in early childhood.

Words from Wingsofwishes.in

As the 90% of brain development takes place at the period of early childhood, the parents, the teachers and other stakeholders must make the immediate environment of the child conducive for his\her brain development. They should always try to design activities for the children to foster the brain connections in early childhood.

In the first few years of Life more than one million neural connections are formed each second, a pace never repeated again. ” UNICEF

References

  1. Early childhood development | UNICEF
  2. Early childhood – Wikipedia
  3. Early Childhood | Psychology Today
  4. Early Childhood Care and Education | UNESCO
  5. Our first few years as a child can determine the rest of our lives | Beverley Barnett-Jones | The Guardian
  6. A New Field of Neuroscience Aims to Map Connections in the Brain | Harvard Medical School
  7. Early Brain Development and Health | CDC
  8. Neuroplasticity | Different Types, Facts, & Research | Britannica
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