Brain development from 0 to 12 months
The first 5 years are crucial for the development of a child’s brain. This is why it is important to support him in managing his emotions and in his learning. This stimulates his mental development.
Development 0 to 12 months
When a child is born, their brain has about 100 billion neurons and at least the same amount of glial cells. Neurons are responsible for transmitting nerve information. They are organized into networks that each have specific functions in different regions of the brain. Glial cells, on the other hand, allow neurons to function well by providing them with food and protecting them.
At birth, the nervous system, and especially the brain, of humans is significantly less developed than in other primates. Rather, it matures during the first years of life. Indeed, most neurons are not yet connected to each other when the child is born.
Interactions with babyIt’s very essential to give care and attention to a child. They not only ensure their well-being and survival, but they are also an opportunity to interact with your child. These interactions are essential for the development of his brain. If the child is in a stimulating environment, his learning and development will be much more powerful. Indeed, your voice, your accents, your expressions, and your gestures encourage your child and allow him to better understand the world around him. Every time you change his diaper, you give him a bath, that you go to see him for the console he is learning from it. He is thus introduced to language (verbal and non-verbal), which promotes the development of more complex thought.
The brain interacting with the environmentEvery touch, every movement, and every emotion causes chemical and electrical activity in the brain. A quality environment, which begins even during the prenatal period, allows the child’s brain to reach its full potential. This explains why human relationships are as important to brain development as food, hearing stimulation, and light. In fact, nothing is more important than the care and affection gave in early childhood.
Importance of touch in child’s brain development
Emotions and physical contact, such as being picked up, touched, and transport, contribute to the growth and development of a baby’s brain after birth. The same applies to other forms of care that are spent on a child, such as a bath or diaper change. Anything that appeals to the 5 senses helps to set up new neural circuits.
Scientists now acknowledge that physical contact has positive effects on the child. Touch stimulates the development of networks that transmit information from the brain to the rest of the body. In particular, it influences the mechanisms that help manage stress and strong emotions.
In short, lots of hugs and attention will never spoil baby too much! These physical contacts not only help her feel safe and secure, but they play an essential role in the development of her intellectual capacities.
Why not let a baby cry?
If a baby cries, their adrenal glands release cortisol, a hormone also called a stress hormone. When an adult consoles him, cortisol levels drop. Otherwise, cortisol levels remain high.
Certain life experiences represent surmountable stress, that is to say, stress important to manage, but essential for healthy development. On the other hand, extended and constant stress can have toxic effects on a child’s brain. This is because cortisol in large amounts can stay in the brain for hours, if not days. It can then harm the structures of the brain. Chronic and prolonged stress is therefore toxic and often associated with abuse and neglect in early childhood.
But, when a child is encouraged, his brain produces hormone oxytocin that calms him down. So each contact with his parents will allow him to develop a very strong emotional bond with them.