Human brain has revealed complexity and versatility since long. It is the seat to regulate and monitor the body’s actions and reactions. Due to the crucial functionality the brain performs, it consumes up to twenty percent of the energy used by the human body. This is more than that consumed by any other organ. When brain assumes such significance, it becomes important to shape it appropriately to gain the optimum.
Child’s brain development is among the most astonishing and transformative phenomenon. You would want your child to achieve all the physical parameters of growth, scoring well throughout. Seemingly more important is the brain development benchmark. The interaction parents and caregivers experience with a child is very significant in the child’s development. Technological advances have allowed scientists to observe the brain working. Apparently, the brain continues to form after birth. A newly born child’s mind is prepared for learning, but it needs early experiences to lead the neural circuits of the brain that facilitate learning.
A remarkable increase in synapses (synapse enables a neuron to pass an electrical or chemical signal to another cell) during the first year of life. The brain forms its functional architecture through the development of these synapses. When the child is about 3 years old, the brain has formed about 1,000 trillion synapses/connections. This is about twice as many as adults have. A baby’s brain is extremely dense. This remains for about the first decade of his/her life. At about the age 11, the brain looses the extra connections through “pruning”. The remaining network is more powerful, efficient and liable to become permanent. Repeated experiences strengthen the synapses. The brain follows the “use it or lose it” principle. If a pathway is not used, it gets eliminated. You are less liable to affect your brain by doing something once, than doing it repeatedly.
Since a child’s brain can be trained, certain strategies can help enhance the brain power. When followed meticulously, they are feasible to benefit the brain development of a child. Ten such techniques have been outlined here.
1) Breast – feed: This is among the most inexpensive and vital rewards you can give to your child. It has been constantly revealed through researches that breast-feeding has multiple benefits for growing infants. Besides enhancing bonding between mother and child, it provides essential nourishment and prevents dangerous infections. So, make this investment to reap the returns later.
2) Mind games: Remember your crossword and puzzle games? These work well to train the brain. Indulge the mind in challenging games. Chess, cryptograms, Sudoku are some useful ones for kids. The tricky games keep your child’s mind engaged and prompt for thinking. Choose the games which score high on problem-solving and complex decision-making, depending on your child’s level of understanding.
3) Music: Music does not only work well for the eardrums but also for the brain. While intelligence has a genetic component, scientific research is inclined towards certain approaches which boost learning and mental development in young minds. Several researches have been conducted on the specific ways in which sound, rhythm, and music can improve lives. Music can stimulate brain growth in the womb and throughout early childhood. It can be wisely used to create a healthy and stimulating sound world for your child’s growth. A study by University of Toronto researchers elucidates that organized music lessons apparently benefit children’s IQ and academic performance. The longer duration of music lessons have been related to reveal greater effect.
4) Breakfast: A healthy start can make all the difference. Children who do not eat breakfast become irritable and tired easily. A solid meal, ideally, a balanced of protein, fat and carbohydrate, can be highly beneficial for child’s growth. A good breakfast can provide children with energy and essential nutrients required for learning and school work. Studies reveal that breakfast can give account for 25 percent of the recommended daily intake of essential nutrients like calcium, protein, vitamins and iron. Consuming breakfast builds a healthy habit for children to last long later in their lives. Even if a complete breakfast is not feasible, it is good to have something in the stomach than being hungry. Research also brings out that eating breakfast improves memory, concentration and learning.
5) Junk food: Choose wisely for your kids. The right nutrition can be chosen with the right ingredients. Studies suggest that poorly nourished children have difficulty fighting infections. Replace junk food items (if they consume any) with high-nutrient alternatives. A healthy diet can largely benefit early childhood mental and motor development. The first two years of life are crucial. Reduce sugar and tans fat intake. Iron is essential for healthy brain tissue development among children. Give adequate attention to your child’s eating habit and plan a diet which includes the right nutrients.
6) Physical fitness: Indulge your child in an organized physical activity. The school sport can be much helpful to the child. These can go a long way in developing confidence, teamwork and leadership. Another study found that 81 percent of women business executives played team sports as girls. You may begin to gradually replace the television by some useful physical activity.
7) Curiosity: Encourage curiosity among children. The more they question, the more liable they are to find answers. Knowledge is important. You can support your child’s hobbies and interests to nurture their skills. It is good to take them on educational outings. Devise ways to develop intellectual curiosity.
8) Confidence: It is easy for children to adopt negative thinking. As parents, it is essential that you inculcate confidence in your child. Engaging you child in extra-curricular activities is a wise way to develop confidence. Child psychologists suggest that children should be guided with optimistic assurances. Confidence building can also be done by participation in team sports and other social activities.
9) Read: Reading helps a lot. Books are the old and trusted friends for life. You can spend hours working on the latest IQ-boosting technology. Give few minutes of regular reading to your child. It is a tested, economical and low-tech way to improve learning and cognitive developing in children of all ages.
10) Video Games: There may be negative opinions about adopting video games as brainpower development tool. But if you can carefully stick to those which develop children’s strategic thinking and planning skills, promote teamwork and are creative, these can actually help. There are companies which create motor- skill and memory enhancing games for small children. You can get one even for the toddlers. The British classrooms have begun using some video games for their students.
You may choose among the diverse ways to train your brain for the best. Regular exercise for the brain is helpful, just like for your body. The internet can provide abundant reading material on the subject. If you like, you may get one book from a trusted author adorning your bookshelf.