Give Your Toddler's Brain a Boost
Your toddler’s brain has been through huge physical and psychological changes in its short little life span. The first three years are vital in brain development, during this time narrow pathways are constantly connecting in the brain. These connections carry electrical impulses between the brain cells; this is the process of wiring the brain, the results of which will influence your child’s entire life.
The brain never stops changing but it is in these formative years that skills like language, problem solving, reasoning and even a sense of moral value is developed. As your child experiences new things, their brain responds and creates new networks, and then builds upon those already established. Some connections made will not last. To create permanent pathways the activity has to be repeated many times. This is why you will sometimes see your child performing a skill but then the following day they seem to have forgotten it. It isn’t that they no longer remember but instead that the pathway in their brain isn’t strong enough yet. Don’t worry, as long as you provide a positive and nurturing environment they will keep strengthening these connections until these skills come as second nature.
There are lots of things you can do to support their brain development though. In this post we will look at a few simple things you can do to give your toddler’s brain a boost.
Give Your Time and Love
Think about the environment that you learn best in. Think about how you need to feel to get the most out of a learning experience. You will want to feel safe, warm, calm, fed and supported. Your toddler is no different. Given the right environment they will be able to learn skills and aptitudes from dawn until dusk (with the occasional nap in between).
While there are many high tech games and toys available, including things like your mobile phone or tablet, that may entertain your child for periods of time (and we all need this sometimes!) it is undisputed that they are not in any way a replacement for a parents time and love, particularly with regard to learning and development. Children will remember and gain most from experiences if they are associated with an emotion, and the emotion they crave and deserve most is love.
Create a space, or take your little one to a place where you and your child can bond and enjoy special time with each other. As you do fun tasks together you are giving them the opportunity to learn by building strong neural pathways.
Use All the Senses
Remember your child’s brain learns in many different ways, to give your toddler a brain boost you should ensure that they have enough opportunities to stimulate all their senses. Think about what they can see, hear, touch, smell and taste. In every activity you do, ask yourself what senses are being explored and what else could you do to compliment the others.
Every child is unique and will favour certain sensory experiences over others. Your role is to give them many opportunities to explore their world. Follow their lead and keep the activity playful. Don’t force them to do something they don’t want to, just allow them the space to choose. They may return to their favourite sense(s) and that is OK as long as all experiences are available throughout their day.
For example; if you are creating a little basket of treasure for your toddler to explore, be mindful to add things that have various textures, smells and colours.
When we talk about boosting brain power we don’t mean sitting your toddler down cross legged on the floor reciting numbers every day. Just like wild animals, humans learn best through play. If they are forced to do an activity that they don’t want to do their brain won’t be receptive. They will miss out on the opportunity to build on or create new neural connections.
A key factor that enhances a toddler’s play experience is how you communicate with them throughout. Talking and singing as you play helps to build language pathways in the brain. Talk through what you are doing and ask questions.
The chance to play is everywhere! Take the opportunity to walk in the park, dig the garden or feeding the dogs. It isn’t so much what you're doing but more the way that you do it. The conversation you have should be at their level and about what they are interested in to keep them engaged.
Tots Play Classes Can Help Too!
In our Tots Play class we provide the opportunity for you to spend focused time with your child enjoying and learning about some of the most effective ways to support your child’s emotional, psychological and physical development. Sessions include lots of activities and resources that give you the opportunity to bond while boosting your toddler’s brain power. The activities range from songs, to yoga to sensory experiences and lots more.
If you can’t make it to a class, don’t worry, you can also find inspiration for your play times at home with the wide range of resources available in our online store, or why not find out more about starting your own Tots Play business, through our franchise programme?
Whatever you and your little one are up to today enjoy all those opportunities for learning and development that each day brings.
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