Advice Column, Early Learning, Education, Junior Colleges, Recently

Support Healthy Brain Development by Connecting with Your Child

  • Junior Colleges
  • Category Advice Column, Early Learning, Education, Junior Colleges, Recently

The first five years of a child’s life are crucial for learning and development since the brain is at its most flexible. The brain creates up to one million neural connections every second. First, however, our little ones need our help.

Scientists refer to it as ”Serve and Return” This is to interact, converse, and engage in play with your child. Every time we engage with them, make them laugh and play with them, we help develop and enhance their relationships and mental health while teaching them some of the most crucial life lessons. 

In collaboration with Minderoo Foundation, Molly Wright, aged seven, presented a TED talk as a resource for parents and caregivers worldwide and was supported by UNICEF. In her talk, Wright highlights what happens when a connection is taken away, just for a moment. I know it’s essential for adults to use their devices sometimes, but kids are hardwired to seek meaningful connections. Not receiving them causes confusion and stress.

What if that small moment of disconnect lasted a whole childhood? How challenging it would be for a young child to feel secure, protected, and capable of putting their faith in others, not to mention the long-term effects. Having positive relationships with the adults in their lives gives kids the confidence they need to try new things, explore, grow, and be kids. Additionally, as your child discovers the world, they learn how to reason, comprehend, speak, act, express emotions, and build strong social skills.

Here are some ideas to help you keep building this kind of relationship with your little one:

Commit to Connection

Set aside 10-15 minutes each day with your child. Taking time out from everything else to interact with your child shows how important they are to you. For example, play a game, talk, or go for a walk. Rather than structuring the time, make it a time for you to connect.

Play Games 

Taking the time to play with your child by doing things they love shows that you take an interest in what excites them and build their confidence. There are also many benefits to using structured play. 

  • Copycat games develop empathy and imagination.
  • Naming games improve vocabulary and attention.
  • Peek-a-boo games help build memory and trust. 

Snuggle Time Before Bed

Nothing is more effective for fostering a stable connection than a nightly ritual. Reading, discussing your child’s day and snuggling give your child a sense of belonging and stability. 

We cannot connect every minute, every day, but a little bit goes a long way. Plus, you will capture beautiful memories that will bind your connection together for a lifetime.

Happy connecting!

by Danika Wolmarans (Junior Colleges Raslouw)

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One Comment

  • Pertunia Khoza May 30, 2023 at 8:38 am

    Agreed! That’s a healthy way to raise a child.


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