What Is Better Than Healthy, Happy, Smart, Creative, and Loved Children?

Monday, March 15, 2010

There are not many things most people can think of that are better than this. And, the exciting thing is we know what contributes to making much of this possible for our children.

Due to scientific research we have a wealth of knowledge about what positively impacts optimal brain development. Implementing this knowledge leads to emotionally and cognitively healthy children.  The sad thing is, this is (for some unknown reason) still not common knowledge.

It is Brain Awareness Week…! Through a week dedicated to creating awareness we can all contribute to developing an understanding of the impact we can all have!

A child’s brain continues to develop long after birth. The term “brain development” refers to more than how smart a child is. It is the actual growth that takes place in the brain. The experiences a child has in the first few years creates the connections between brain cells and develops the foundation for relationships and learning throughout life.

Nutrition, sleep, regular routines, physical activity, play, and repeated positive experiences with caring adults, strengthens the connections to create the growth of a brain. This makes the brain healthy, ready to get along with others, and eager for more learning.

However, constant exposure to stress, limited stimulation, poor nutrition and lack of a nurturing relationship all create a brain being “wired” in a way that leads to emotional and learning problems. Growing brains adapt to the environment they are exposed to.  A brain will adapt to a negative environment just as easily as it will adapt to a positive environment

Understanding this makes us aware that adults in a child’s life can have a long-lasting impact.
Following are a few points to focus on and share.

Warm Responsive Care
        Children’s primary need is to know they are loved. This is only learned through consistent nurturing interactions with primary caregivers.

Talk
        The brain makes connections for learning language only from what a child hears. A child needs to hear lots of language throughout the day. Language is learned through direct interaction, not from a television or video.

Safe, Healthy Environment
        A variety of nutritious foods, a lead free and safe environment for a child to explore contributes to a well developed brain. A brain requires little stress and routines to feel safe and relaxed. Sleep and rest are also necessary to a healthy brain.

Play
        Play is the way the brain learns about the world. Lots of interaction and exploration help the brain form connections that make later learning easier. Play outdoors additionally impacts brain development in healthy ways.

What a child’s brains need most is adults that understand development. Parents and medical professionals that are aware and well educated on brain development can provide all that a growing brain needs most. Early childhood educators also play a vital role in partnering with a parent to share in implementing this valuable knowledge. Through working together we can ensure all children receive the experiences that will most positively impact long lasting brain connections.

        ~ We ALL benefit when ALL children have well developed brains! ~

Throughout this important week we can all work together to FINALLY make this common knowledge!!!

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Give your child lots of love and attention. No matter what a child's age, holding, hugging, and listening are important ways to show your child they matter.
Interact with your child by talking, singing, playing, eating, and reading with your child. Your child will grow up feeling special and important to you. You will also learn a lot about your child's interests and skills.

April 2, 2010 at 7:52 AM

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