The first two years of a child’s life are the most crucial years in shaping the brain of a child. These are the years of right brain development where lies the core of a child’s personality, his self-esteem, his sense of self and his relationship with others. As parents, you need to be aware of what helps the optimal development of your child’s right brain. Furthermore, development of the right brain impacts the development of the left brain.
Implicitly stored, in the right hemisphere of the brain are pathways that shape and influence future behavior – the core of human development are relationships, regulation of one’s self, and resilience. These factors are the foundation of all exploration, learning, and future happiness.
So if you want your child to be joyfully alive, empathetic, sociable and intelligent nurture his emotional right brain.
After being in the safe cocoon of the mother’s womb a child is born into a world that feels unsafe and threatening. A baby needs the continuity of womblike environment after it is born to feel secure. It needs the constant warmth of a human body to give him this feeling. This is the cornerstone of a child developing secure attachment. Skin-to-skin contact should be standard care for babies, and the babies will determine when they have had enough because they will start to have an interest in other things.
According to the developmental psychologist, Mary Ainsworth, physical contact, especially when they want it and seek it. This doesn’t spoil them. Nor does it make them clingy. Or addicted to being held.”
From my own experience, carrying, holding, hugging a baby enough in the first six months makes him secure to explore the surroundings. By the time they are crawling, they hate being carried. They want to do their own thing.
Becoming Attuned To Your Child
However, just carrying a child is not enough, the mother or primary caregiver needs to attune to a child’s needs. According to Dr. Allan Schore, faculty of the Department of Psychiatry and Biobehavioral Sciences, UCLA, babies are born with a massive level of emotions and they are overwhelmingly dependent on the mother/ primary caregiver to show them how to handle it. A mother’s attunement to her baby’s needs is crucial for forging connections in the early developing right brain.
The core of good parenting is attunement. Responding to a child’s cries when he is hungry or has soiled his nappy is vital for the development of self-soothing and self-control behaviors later in life.
Furthermore, if babies are let to cry too much and too often without comfort, are prone to developing stress and anxiety. This has toxic effects on a child’s physical and emotional development.
A child’s brain develops best when the child is constantly interacting with his mother. If in the critical periods of development, the first 2 years, a child is not given the proper inputs of love and care his brain circuits do not develop.
The early months of a caregiver-baby relationship are crucial as this sets the pattern for the rest of his life. The only thing your child needs in order to thrive emotionally is your physical and emotional availability and responsiveness.
Play, Peekaboo & Horsing Around
Playing comes naturally to all kids. It is important for a child’s learning and development. Moreover, when kids play, they learn about themselves and the world around them. Play encourages social growth, language growth, problem-solving, and imagination. Peek-a-boo is a favorite game for toddlers, It helps babies develop Object Permanence which is a fundamental part of early life learning. Object permanence means that the baby begins to understand that objects continue to exist, even when they cannot directly be seen, heard, or touched
Children who had a playful childhood become extremely resilient. They are more likely to be optimistic, perseverant, creative and resilient, According to studies those who had playful childhoods are more innovative, and they don’t separate play from their work. Play encourages spontaneity and allows individuals to respond quickly to a crisis as adults.
We don’t need to give our children more toys and gadgets, we need to spend time and enjoy horsing around with our kids. The best toys a child can have is a parent who gets down on the floor and plays with them.”
Giving Kids Space to Dream, Explore
In today’s competitive world parents think training a child to be performers is the way to go. Children are forced to do things they are not inclined or interested in. From a young age, they are pressurized into attending classes or to go for different training. We make them read, write and learn numbers before their brains are developed for the challenge. In fact, pushing literacy and numeracy on children before age seven may just be harmful to their little, developing brains. Without the capacity to use their academic minds in the ways that are being asked can cause children to gain what’s called “learned stupidity.” They believe themselves to be incapable and lose their natural desire to learn
What Is The Most Common Mistake Parents Make?
As parents, we need to ensure our kids have the best start in life, that is ensuring that we nurture and ensure optimal development of their right brain. That happens when we give our kids our presence and time. When we are present our child feels securely attached. When we attune to our child’s needs we make him feel confident Giving him space to be himself, to explore and play is the foundation of all creativity and learning. If you follow these rules, you can be assured that the later years will be smooth sailing.
Allan Schore: What is the “Self”?