Early care also makes a difference in children's ability to learn. Warm, sensitive, consistent care helps babies develop a secure attachment with their caregivers. Children with this secure bond are more ready to learn. Early traumas such as abuse can slow brain development. This makes learning more difficult.
MYTH: Enrichment is only for gifted and talented children.
FACT: All babies and children need experience to develop a rich network of brain connections. Remember that children learn by doing. Give your baby a chance to explore the world. Expose her to a variety of challenging experiences. Support her when she tries new things. Encourage her to be creative.
MYTH: Children need special help and expensive toys to develop their brain power. FACT: What children need most are loving care and new experiences. But these experiences don't need to be expensive. Talk and sing to your baby. Go on a daily walk and point out some of the things you see. Visit the library and pick out a book on a new topic. Sharing time with your child and exposing him to new things goes a long way toward helping his brain develop.
But beware of overstimulating your child. Some parents are so concerned with brain development that they buy expensive educational toys, videos, and flash cards. But there's no evidence that these toys, by themselves, will make your child smarter. Too many new experiences all at once won't help his brain development. He needs time to process what he's learned before he's ready for something new.
Jensen, E. (1998) Teaching with the brain in mind. Alexandria, VA: Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development.
Shore, R. (1997). Rethinking the brain: New insights into early development. New York: Families and Work Institute.
Willis, C. (1997). Your child's brain: Food for thought. Little Rock, AR: Southern Early Childhood Association.
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