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Brain Development in Children

By Kayleigh Burns


In the beginning years of adolescence, a child’s brain grows in significant ways that gradually form the way that they think. It is vital that children learn lessons throughout these years so that during adulthood, they are more motivated and able to solve problems. It is essential for the parents to be attentive and caring towards their children, as these experiences will benefit them later in the long run. Additionally, a child’s brain develops the fastest during adolescence due to rapid proliferation, which is efficient growth that makes neural connections [3].


Parents should be aware that the experiences a baby goes through will have persistent effects on their lifestyle. Specifically, if a child endures a traumatic event, there are high chances of it having long-term consequences that may impact their way of thinking in the future. Alternatively, if a child has better experiences (reading, playing, and talking), their adulthood will be more likely to go well when it involves communication and problem solving [2]. Babies often try to get their parents’ attention by making noise, and this leads to the parents taking care of their child. This is known as the “serve and response” process, and it is essential for the development of the brain [1]. By responding and engaging in the child’s activities, parents are able to assist the brain’s growth and, therefore, benefit the child’s future [1]. Furthermore, it has been stated that children who are raised in a positive environment will be more successful later in life. However, children who do not grow up in a good environment from the beginning may have troubles achieving success since their early brain development was influenced in a negative way [1]. The way a brain develops is influenced by the child's environment and experiences; this ensures that child-nurturing is, indeed, essential [2].


During adolescence, the brain is developing extremely fast due to rapid proliferation, i.e. simple neural connections formed that lead to more complex circuits [3]. In fact, more than 1 million neural connections are formed each second. After some time, however, pruning, which is when brain circuits become more efficient, occurs so neural connections decrease [3]. These connections made early on will determine what the connections later on will be like. While connections and circuits are vital during childhood brain development, as stated before, the environment the child is in is just as important. Harvard mentions that emotional well-being can provide a good foundation for cognitive abilities [3]. The brain has to perform countless jobs, and each part coordinates with the other. Thus, having a healthy brain in a positive environment is vital.


During pregnancy, a child’s brain is at high risk of diseases that influence their brain development; the brain can be exposed to toxins, the Zika virus, and other risks. The mother should try her best to remain healthy in order to guarantee that her child’s brain development can be as perfect as possible [2]. If the mother consumes alcohol or abuses drugs, the brain will be impacted negatively. Once the baby is born, however, it will be easier for the child to have a head injury or be exposed to toxins [2]. Moreover, a baby can experience too much stress. Stress is important for development, but having high levels of it can lead to adverse consequences on the child. If the child has no support from the parents, then toxic stress can form and lead to issues in both mental and physical health because it affects neural connections [3].


Brain development in children will determine their future when it comes to handling stress and communicating with others. The experiences children are involved in play a large role in the brain, as a toxic environment will leave a negative impact on their adulthood. All in all, brain development in children is a priority to physicians who want babies to have the most beneficial environment possible to ensure efficient brain development.


References

  1. Brain development. (2019, September 16). Retrieved February 16, 2021, from https://www.firstthingsfirst.org/early-childhood-matters/brain-development/

  2. Early brain development and health. (2020, March 05). Retrieved February 16, 2021, from https://www.cdc.gov/ncbddd/childdevelopment/early-brain-development.html

  3. Brain architecture. (2019, August 20). Retrieved February 16, 2021, from https://developingchild.harvard.edu/science/key-concepts/brain-architecture/

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