A child is born with a fully developed brain. How the brain matures further depends on the environment around him.
The brain is one of the first organs to be built while your child is still in your womb. When he is born, his brain comprises of a billion brain cells. From the time he is born, your child's brain is constantly working and learning new things. This is a lifelong process. The brain's learning ability is greatly influenced by both external and internal factors.
Parts of the Brain
The human brain has two main parts; the brain itself and the brain stem. In the brain, the cerebrum is the largest part. It is further subdivided into four regions. Each region has a specific role to play. The occipital lobe controls the development of vision. Development related to the senses of smell, hearing and language are governed by the temporal lobe. The frontal lobe is responsible for the development of fine motor skills while the parietal lobe influences an individual's perception ability.
The brain also controls unconscious movements. The brain stem is in charge of basic body functions. These include the beating of the heart, breathing, etc. The hypothalamus, which is the master control for all the hormones in the body, is also present in the brain.
Stimulating Brain Development
Although a child is born with a large number of brain cells, most of them are lost after birth. When the brain learns something new, the brain cells make a connection, storing the information. Over a period of time, those cells which do not have any information stored in them are naturally discarded. This allows the remaining cells to develop further.
Depending on how you want your child's brain to develop, you must provide the required stimulus. For example, developing a child's language skills involves reading and speaking to him. Developing other areas will require a variety of different stimuli. Stimulating a child's brain starts from the moment a child is born. Most of a child's development takes place during the first year after birth.
From the moment your child is born, his learning process begins. You can stimulate his visual senses by hanging mobiles above his crib so that he can watch them move. He will not be able to focus on them since his visual range at this stage is only around twelve inches. However, he will be able to perceive some movements. Talking to your child introduces him to language. He cannot reply to you at this stage but his brain is already making the necessary connections to associate words with meanings. Touch is also important for your baby's brain to develop. If you constantly touch your baby, it reassures him and creates a positive environment for his brain to continue to learn new things.
As your child grows older, his senses will develop further and he will be more responsive to his environment. He will want to play with objects and interact with people. If you hold a toy in front of him, he will reach out and try to grab it. Over time, he will learn to recognise which objects are of greater importance to him. Continue to interact with him as often as possible. Research has shown that a child's intelligence quotient (IQ) is influenced by the amount of interaction he has with his parents.
After your child has reached six months of age, he should be given opportunities to increase his co-ordination skills. When he crawls and attempts to walk, it is not just helping him learn to co-ordinate his limb movements, but it is also strengthening them. At this stage, you can improve his cognitive skills by identifying objects you place in front of him and speaking about them. Tell him stories using illustrative books.
Talking about past experiences encourages your child to develop his memory. The more new situations he is exposed to, the more he will learn. Provide your child with plenty of opportunities for him to interact with other children of his age. Take him to new and interesting places like the zoo, gardens, etc.
Parents play a big role in a child's development. While the stimuli you provide may not necessarily make your child a genius, they will definitely make it easier for him to learn new things later on.
Do you think that parents play a big role in their child's development? What games do you play with your child to stimulate him? To share your tips, views, and experiences, click here.