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Inside the Preschooler’s Brain - what insights can neuroscience offer parents?

Posted: Tue, July 16, 2013 | By:

By Hank Pellissier

Activate their minds

A youth human brain is a chaotic jungle of neurons getting “wired” together into intricate circuitry patterns. Early experiences have an enormous influence on children’s absorbent sponge-like brains and also strongly affect the way they mature. By providing everyday activities that arouse your child’s curiosity, you’re helping to create neural pathways that will increase their learning efficiency and capacity. Expose your preschooler to a variety of stimuli and allow your child hands-on interaction with three-dimensional materials. Cooking, finger-painting, clay construction, musical instruments, and going to festivals, petting zoos, museums, tide pools, concerts, and outdoor natural areas are all sensory-rich activities.

Be gentle Children need to feel safe and confident. Stanford University research indicates that traumatic stress and fear can release toxic levels of the hormone cortisol, which can destroy neurons in the hippocampus, a region that supports factual and episodic memory. You can minimize stress by giving your child positive, loving, sensitive, and encouraging feedback. Keep reprimands and threats to a minimum, avoid unnecessary power struggles, and shouting or spanking in discipline. Also, be patient about bedwetting, be sympathetic about fear of nightmares, the dark, and thunder-and-lighting storms, and allow your child to have a security object like a cozy blanket or a stuffed toy.

Home page photo credit: Jenniferschwalm

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