Brain Development in Children – What Parents Must Know

Brain Development in Children – What Parents Must Know

Most people will agree that our brain is the most crucial organ in our body. It controls and coordinates our actions and reactions. It enables us to think, feel and have memories.

Two hundred and fifty thousand neurons were added every minute to our developing brain during gestation. We have all the neurons we will ever have at birth. The brain continues to grow for a few years after our birth.

By the age of two, the brain is about 80% of the adult size. The brain experiences a rapid change in early and middle childhood.

Synaptogenesis, pruning, and myelination form a complex network of connections.

Synaptogenesis is the formation of synapses between neurons in our nervous system. It occurs throughout our life but is extraordinarily prolific in our early childhood.

Pruning means a process of removing the neurons in our brain that may have been damaged or degraded. It is nature’s way of improving the networking capacity of areas of the brain. Pruning is a fundamental process that shapes a child’s brain.

Myelination is the process of coating the axon of each neuron with myelin (a fatty coating). It protects the neuron and helps it to conduct signals more efficiently. It starts in the brain stem and cerebellum before birth and completed in the frontal cortex in late adolescence.

The ability to speak and understand language develops readily in the first few years of life. It is much more complicated and less successful between five years and puberty.

As a parent, it is essential, you speak and read to your child early. You can read to your child in the womb!

From birth to age three, a child’s brain produces more than a million neural connections per second. Brain development is influenced by such factors, as relationships, experiences and environment.

Most experts suggest that the human brain does not fully develop before twenty- five years. Earlier for some and later for others.

Parents of teenagers learn that adults and teen brains work differently.

Adults think with the pre-frontal cortex, the brain’s rational part, still undeveloped in teenagers.

Adolescence is another stage of brain development. Pruning of the available connections in the thinking and processing part of the brain (called grey matter) occurs. It enables remodelling of the pre-frontal cortex It is necessary to understand why adolescents behave, make decisions and solve problems differently than adults.

They also experience a rapid increase in the connections the brain cells and making the brain pathways more effective.

To read more about brain development in children, visit this website. 

To learn more about a teenager’s brain, click here.

Understanding how your child’s brain develops will help you to treat them as children and not mini-adults.

Every month I publish a Monthly Homeschool Review for parents of primary school children. You can learn more about it here.