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Brain development from infant to toddler age and how we can help

Posted on 05-01-2014 | Anitha Thomas

brain_waves_wesley_chapel_flThe development of a child's brain in the early years of life is critical to future academic, career, and social success. The first brain cell is present just two days after conception, developing into the 100 billion brain cells that will be present at birth. From birth to the age of five, your child's brain changes dramatically as neural pathways are activated for developing language, social, emotional, cognitive, and physical abilities. During this time it is essential that children's brains are stimulated to ensure activation of a variety of cells.

Brain development in the womb

Your child's brain develops all of its main sections by the third week in the womb and is already functioning at four weeks. During the second trimester, the brain works to connect to all parts of the body, a process that is completed by the end of the second trimester. By the eighth month of pregnancy, an infant can recognize his or her mother's voice.

Brain development of an infant

The potential for development during the first year is higher than at any other time.  Newborns can recognize human faces and prefer them to other objects. They recognize the mother's voice and can recognize sounds from stories told during pregnancy. By two months, an infant even feels complex emotions, including empathy and joy. At this age development is accomplished through imitation, repetition, listening, fun, and lots of hugs and love. During the first year they learn to smile, laugh, say their first words, eat solid food, and take their first steps.  

Development in the brain of a toddler

Amazingly, 75% of brain growth happens in the first three years of a child's life. When they reach their second and third years, the brain is working on emotions, attachments, planning, and reasoning skills as well as developing a working memory. Growing in a nurturing and intellectually stimulating environment ensures optimal healthy brain development.  

How to ensure healthy brain development

To prioritize healthy brain development, spend time with your infant or toddler doing age-appropriate activities that help develop cognitive and motor skills. For infants, these toys allow them to explore their different senses and the relationship between objects. For toddlers, physical activities like exploring the outdoors, running, and playing catch provide essential stimulation. Lettuce Lake Park, which covers 240 acres, is an ideal environment for these sorts of activities.

Good nutrition is also essential for optimal brain development.  A balanced diet that includes avocados, nuts, blueberries, and other fresh fruits and vegetables will keep children's bodies and brains healthy.  

A stimulating learning environment is essential to ensure your child reaches his or her potential.  At Kids 'R' Kids of Meadow Pointe in Wesley Chapel, Florida, our acclaimed Brain Waves Curriculum learning program has been scientifically developed to maximize your child's mental capacity by providing professionally supervised, targeted stimulation for neural pathways as they become active. We support our curriculum with healthy, balanced meals and our highly qualified teaching staff are on hand at all times to meet your child's unique needs and learning style. Contact us to find out more.

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