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Boosting Brain Development

By Dina Halaseh , Family Flavours - Sep 17,2023 - Last updated at Sep 17,2023

Photo courtesy of Family Flavours magazine

By Dina Halaseh,
Educational Psychologist

Many parents think the newborn stage is the hardest stage of parenting, while others tend

to believe the toddler years are much more challenging. Last year, as our son Sanad turned

one, I shared with you some of the practices I focused on to help promote his intelligence.

Turning two!

You may already know that 90 per cent of your child’s brain development occurs by the age of five years. This is the time of significant wiring and growth that

maps out your child’s brain for life. 

This shows us the importance of including brain promoting activities and practices.

During the second year of life we seehuge jumps in what a child can do, a 22-month-old is definitely capable of more than a 13-month-old which gives us a wide range of things to cover.

A pruning process

As your child grows, a pruning process occurs that helps us understand the importance of experiences and the environment, and the role they play in the development of young brains.

At three, your child’s brain has approximately 1,000 trillion connections, or synapses. Once a teenager, the pruning process results in almost half or 500 trillion synapses, which are carried into adulthood.

Your child’s experiences and relationships during the early years are what continuously grow the brain and construct the neural circuits. Positive early childhood experiences lead to optimal brain development, which serve as the basis for other skills and abilities children require for academic and life successes.

A healthy environment

In our “turning one” article we mentioned safety, building secure attachments with parents, lowering stress and its negative long-term effects on the brain, keeping up with good sleep habits, food intake and exposing your child to fresh air. As hard as it sounds, these all are still important and applicable for our second year.

We also mentioned keeping your child’s brain stimulated. This may look different in the second year, but the main idea remains the same. Keeping your

child’s brain stimulated might even look different during the span of the year.

At this point, as parents, you can try building blocks, puzzles, role play, songs and movement, sorting shapes and colours, counting and introducing numbers, giving them independence and instructions, drawing and play-dough.

Keep your child active with an activity where your child repeats the skill until it is mastered is key!

The important thing is to keep your child mentally active and spending time building skills and exploring new ones too!

Reprinted with permission from Family Flavours magazine

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