According to the video, there are 100 billion neurons in our brains that form a network. The more interactions a baby/child has, the more connections are made in this network. From birth, these brain connections form at a speed of 700 per second! Most brain development happens in the first 3-5 years (primarily in the first 3 years) of your child’s life. Without stimulation, those connections don’t occur and brain development isn’t as full as it could be. Thus, it’s extremely important to do things to stimulate your little one’s brain, so that it forms those connections.
Do things as simple as telling your child what you’re doing (or why you’re doing it) when you’re doing everyday things like giving a bath, making dinner, or folding laundry. For example, during bath-time, you can say: “Okay, first we need to turn on the water. We need to check to make sure the temperature is just right. If it’s too cold, you’ll feel cold in the bath. If it’s too hot, you might get burned, and that will hurt.” Every word you use to a baby is a new one, so it doesn’t matter what you say, just that you’re saying something. They take in everything you’re saying to them. Those interactions have a big impact. The more you talk to your child, the better!
Another tip that the video shared was that when you ask a question, wait for a response, and listen to your child. Kids’ response times are longer than adults’, so we have a tendency to rush them or think that they’re not going to answer. Usually if you wait a little bit, your child will come up with a response. When they do answer you and say something like, “I’m playing with my teddy bear,” you can add to that by saying, “Yes, you’re playing with your brown teddy bear.” When you add words to what they say, it helps them to learn how to add words to something they’re describing to you.
These are just a couple of the suggestions the video gave for interacting more with your child. For more information and tips, you can check out Best Beginnings Alaska’s website at http://bestbeginningsalaska.org/. It has lots of great information, as well as suggestions for early learning activities that you can do with your child. If nothing else, the main point is just that, especially at a very young age, constant interactions with your little ones are so important. Even if you’re just narrating what you’re doing, it really has a lasting, long-term effect on your child’s brain development.