Ride The Brain Train: Nurture Your Child’s Developing Mind

Last updated on March 3rd, 2018 at 11:53 am

In this New Era of neuroplasticity, we have grown to learn that early brain development is so important for infants, toddlers and children. The brain is an amazing organ, growing changing and adapting to life experience.

Did you know that your baby is born with more than 100 billion neurons, or brain cells — all that he or she needs for a lifetime. Many people do not. That is why in 2011, we have partnered with several colleagues and parents to help education about brain based interventions become common knowledge in families across the US and the UK.

We call our educational initiative The Brain Train and this is our goal: To inspire parents, educators and grandparents to share one brain-based fact with three people in an effort to bring brain-based education to 100,000 families in 2011. Now, you don’t have to become a neuroscientist, you simply have to feel motivated to learn and share kernels of knowledge with people you love. Our colleagues Wendy Young, Sue Atkins and Deborah McNelis have helpful brain-based parenting tips on their sites. Everything from The benefits of interacting face to face with your little ones to preventing Melt-downs with activities and fun! We’ve already started airing brain-based shows on Dr. Lynne Weighs In #Blog Talk Radio. If you have brain-based knowledge to share please do so on our FB page.

Four Valued Yet Simple Facts You Can Share Today:

  1. Your child’s brain is primed at birth for learning. Research conducted at the College of Family and Consumer Sciences at the University of Georgia concludes that your baby’s brain will develop more in the first five years of life than throughout the rest of his life, and a significant amount of research points to the first three years of life as being most critical to your baby’s developing brain.
  2. According to Zero To Three – “The first three years of life are a period of incredible growth in all areas of a baby’s development. A newborn’s brain is about 25 percent of its approximate adult weight. But by age 3, it has grown dramatically by producing billions of cells and hundreds of trillions of connections, or synapses, between these cells.”
  3. As an infant and young child, brain cells are not yet linked to form the complex networks required for mature thought processes. As your baby grows into a toddler and preschooler, brain synapses grow and connect, forming the neurological foundation upon which he will build a lifetime of skills. By the time an infant is two or three years old, the number of synapses is approximately 15,000 synapses per neuron (Gopnick, et al., 1999). This amount is about twice that of the average adult brain.
  4. The brain is so efficient that it prunes connections that are not used and deemed not needed by the brain. That is one reason it is so important to develop language, motor and social-emotional pathways through interaction, communication, love, nutrition, exploration and play in the early years.

According to Deborah McNelis of @braininsights:

The brain organizes through a “use it or lose it” process. The brain eliminates and strengthens connections in an effort to become more efficient. So, experiences that are repeated frequently lead to brain connections that are retained. Connections that are not used often due to lack of repeated experience are eliminated. This is how a child’s brain adapts to the experiences in daily life.

Brain development is valuable for school-aged children as well. Activities such as soccer, martial arts, horseback riding, swimming and activities that include movement across the anatomical planes of the body increases synaptic connections. It turns out that yoga and meditation are not simply calming but likely brain building.

If you are ready to Take A Ride on The Brain Train consider these books and check back often for new tips and insights.

For coaches, clinicians and social workers, join our May training to bring brain-based parenting to your practice.

Thank you! For making brain-based parenting knowledge universal.  Share the knowledge!

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This post reflects Dr Kenney’s “The Family Coach Method” used in practice for a number of years, and released for publication just over a year ago. The Family Coach Method is ‘rug-level,’ friendly and centered on the concept of families as a winning team – with dozens of age-appropriate sample conversations and problem solving scenarios to guide a family to the desired place of mutual respect, shared values and strengths. The goal is to help children to develop the life skills, judgment and independence that can help them navigate the challenges of an increasingly complex world. The Family Coach Method is also being taught as an Educational Series where parents can join with other moms and dads in live calls with Dr Kenney.

About the Author

Lynne Kenney, Psy.D., is a Harvard trained psychologist, a mother of two, an international educator, and pediatric psychologist in Scottsdale, AZ. Since 1985, Dr. Kenney has worked as an educator in community service from the inner cities of Los Angeles to national organizations such as The Neurological Health Foundation, Understood.org, HandsOn Phoenix, and Points of Light (Generation On). Dr. Kenney’s works include the Social-Emotional Literacy program Bloom Your Room™; Musical Thinking; Bloom: 50 things to say, think and do with anxious, angry and over-the-top-kids and 70 Play Activities For Better Thinking, Self-Regulation, Learning and Behavior. Learn more at www.lynnekenney.com. Lynne is a member of the PedSafe Expert team

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