Your toddler’s first three-word sentence or his new-found artistic talent all have their beginnings in his neurological development. Although temper tantrums don’t normally bring a smile to anyone’s face, it is cause to rejoice this show of independence which signifies that his brain cells are learning to talk to one another—that the synaptic pathways between brain cells are connecting. And that, mom, is a very good thing.
How the Brain is Wired
Your toddler’s brain is twice as active as yours. That’s probably the reason you’re so tired at the end of the day and he still has enough gas left for another round. Your baby is born with a 100 trillion brain cells or neurons that function as the transmitters of information. They transmit, or communicate, by sending electrical impulses between tendrils, or dendrites (about 15,000 for each cell). The more an experience is repeated or stressed–like recognizing mommy and daddy gets a big hug, pulling the cat’s tail gets a big meow, smiling cute gets an extra spoonful of ice cream–cements the experience and increases the synaptic responses between neurons. By the time he’s a toddler, his brain is wired with about 1,000 trillion connections. All of this in the head of your 3-year-old.
Amazing!Factors Influencing Neurological Growth
Any experiences that stimulate you toddler’s sense of taste, smell, sight, hearing and touch, in other words, his five senses, also stimulate the brain to reinforce and strengthen its “wiring.” This circuitry promotes learning. Providing stimulation such as reading a colorful storybook (sight), the scent of flowers (smell), the sound of singing (hearing), the taste of food (taste) and the feel of the cat’s tail being pulled (touch), all contribute to your toddler’s daily neurological development and learning. Other factors that are important for neurological growth are healthy nourishment, varied experiences, love and nurturing, sensitivity and positive feedback.
A Toddler’s Learning Window
Windows of opportunities open and close as your toddler ages. His brain becomes receptive to certain learning experiences, more so than others. These are generally referred to as developmental milestones and are contingent on his neurological development. For example, he learns to see, to recognize shapes and patterns and to organize information. He learns how to make sounds and noises that come out as intelligible words. His motor functions allow the first steps in potty training (thank goodness) and he learns to play make-believe with other kids.
Parents’ Contribution to Development
There are two rules of thumb when contributing to your little one’s neurological growth–provide a stress-free environment and enriching experiences. Your toddler’s brain development will slow due to chemical interactions if he feels stressed, so make sure his environment is safe, nurturing and predictable. Expose your toddler to new experiences. This helps his brain to compare old information with new and strengthen existing neural connections. But don’t go overboard. Too much stimulation can also be stressful and frustrating, causing the brain’s learning abilities to slow to a crawl.
As the pressure to pass standardized tests increases, even preschools are spending more time on strictly academic subjects. Instead of a general introduction to the alphabet, many preschools include a ...Read More
Just because your little learner's lead teacher makes it look easy, doesn't mean that acting as an early childhood educator is simple. Teaching preschool age children requires highly specialized training ...Read More
The best time to send your child off to school depends largely on whom you ask. Proponents of starting kindergarten as early as possible believe it gives a child a ...Read More
Your little one may face a culture shock in daycare if your Christian values prevent him from doing things that are common in many daycare centers. That does not mean ...Read More
In the world of foster care and adoption, when it comes to siblings, keeping them together is always the first choice. Even though in your mind, you see yourselves all ...Read More
Most parents adore that toothless gummy grin, but whether you like it or not, teeth begin to surface as your baby turns around 6 months old and his first milk ...Read More
You can use the camera on your iPod Touch to take VGA-quality photos and store them on the device, but you can also transfer high-quality photos from your computer to ...Read More
Because it's not enough that your preschooler or kindergartner can build an amazing sand castle and (almost) tie her own shoes -- now you have to worry about her math ...Read More
While an early educational program might not ensure that your preschooler is Harvard bound, it can help her to learn better. Whether you are looking to build on a specific ...Read More
In the beginning of the PC revolution, when monitors where often 12 to 14 inches in size, using your keyboard directly in front of the screen was not an option; ...Read More
Instilling self-control by establishing and sticking with rules is the name of the game when it comes to reigning in misbehaving toddlers and preschoolers. Self-control -- something many adults could ...Read More
As the mom of a toddler or preschooler, you are probably well acquainted with the magic of dipping. There's just something about dunking her meal that can get even the ...Read More
Potty training is a normal part of every child's physical and emotional development, but not every child develops at the same pace. If your child is resistant to potty training ...Read More
The grief that accompanies parental death can trigger psychological side effects for your child. If these psychological effects are long term or if they interfere with your child’s emotional or ...Read More
According to the Encyclopedia on Early Childhood Development, 80 percent of children living in the United States have at least one sibling. Many children have more than one sibling, and ...Read More
There are a number of psychological tests used to measure intellectual ability in children, but there are a limited number that are available for preschool-aged children. Although measurement of skills ...Read More
Toddlers are curious by nature. Young children in the toddler stage are discovering their independence and are interested in exploring the world around them. However, their exploration can lead to ...Read More
You don't have to break the bank to throw your little one a top-notch bash. Free or low-cost places such as public parks are creative alternatives to the more pricey ...Read More
If you're looking for a fun activity for you and your preschooler, (and an unforgettable party treat) these puppy cupcakes are sure to please. If you want to get creative ...Read More
Sensory play activities are enjoyable and educational for your toddler or preschooler. You're encouraged to join in the fun but expect to get your hands messy! Any pastime that stimulates ...Read More