Toddlers are always on the go and in search of new things to do and learn. It is important to engage children in this age group in learning activities that will stimulate the mind and enhance learning potential. While most of the cells in the brain form before children are born, important connections between brain cells are not completed until infancy and into the toddler years, making this time critical in the development of a child’s brain.
Several factors contribute to the development of children in infancy and early childhood. Nutrition, genetics, love, activity and parental response are all key to the positive development of a child’s brain. Children have extremely active minds during early childhood. A toddler’s brain is two times more active than an adult’s and early interaction with the world around him are crucial to the brain’s development. While there are many educational toys designed to enhance early learning skills, love and exposure to a variety of new experiences is the best way to stimulate a toddler’s mind and promote early learning. Exposing children to things that are based on the five senses is essential to the brain’s development.
The first three years of a child’s life is when the brain absorbs information easily. Children learn language, word pronunciation and grammar skills easily during the toddler years with simple and repeated exposure. The ability to learn language skills easily continues until approximately 10 years of age. Some ways to stimulate brain development and early language skills are singing to young children and reading to them daily. Parents who respond to a toddler’s babbling will help children learn their native language more easily. Those who nurture their children early in life with love and emotional support will help stimulate emotional intelligence. The amygdala is the part of the brain responsible for regulating emotion. When stimulated early in life, children will learn to be happy, trust others and have empathy for others. When toddlers are exposed to interaction with other people, they are developing important social skills. Playing with other children their own age will help toddlers learn to share and care for others. Most toddlers three to four years old have developed the ability to share with others by this time.
While it is important to stimulate a toddler’s mind, over-stimulation may be stressful for children and cause adverse effects. Toddlers should have scheduled activities to help them learn, but they also need free time to play and create on their own. Even watching too much television can be stressful for toddlers. Some signs of over-stimulation include turning away, crying or frustration. Nurturing toddlers with love and providing a stable home environment is key to enhancing brain development. Hands-on experiences supervised by parents are another important part of brain development and learning.
Authors Bio: This article was written by Briana Kelly, who has over 5 years experience writing articles and guest blogs on the subject of childcare and parenting. She also writes parenting guides on behalf of Giraffe Childcare Dublin, Ireland.
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