A baby’s brain is ready to connect. Babies build their brains by connecting with you and the world around them. At birth, a baby’s brain has 100 BILLION nerve cells called neurons that are waiting to connect. Each neuron can make thousands of connections or only a few depending on a child’s environment and experiences. Spending quality time with your child can increase your child’s brain power. You can help your baby build brain connections by talking, hugging, singing, reading, playing, and exploring the world together.
The brain is a “use it or lose it” machine. There are windows of opportunity in early brain development. Some of these windows close very quickly. For example, areas of the brain involved in vision are connected by 18 months of age. If an infant’s vision is blocked by a cataract or an eye patch at the time when the brain needs to be making connections for vision, a child will lose the ability to ever see out of the affected eye.
Children need the right experience at the right time. Learn as much as you can about age-appropriate activities to take advantage of windows of opportunity for your child’s brain development. For example, children can learn to speak a second language without an accent. This window of opportunity starts to close as a teenager and it becomes much harder to learn and speak a second language without an accent.