Creative Child

Three Things You Didn’t Know about Your Child’s Brain

by Erin J. Bernard on Jan 26th, 2015

Have you ever wondered why kids learn new languages so quickly? Or whether it’s worth serenading your pregnant belly with classical music? Or how much stress is too much for your child to handle? Science has answers, and they may surprise you. Here are three things you probably didn’t know about your kid’s gray matter – and how to capitalize on its unique composition. 

A child’s brain is uniquely primed for learning.

The science: In a child’s first years of life, 700 to 1,000 neural connections are formed each second, according to the Harvard Center on the Developing Child, and by age 3, children have 1000 trillion neuronal connections in their brains. These connections prime them to take in new information, but you have to act fast: after the first few years of life, most of these connections are gradually “pruned” away.

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How to use it: Neural pathways are a use-it-or lose it proposition, HCDC warns, so exposing your child to plenty of new foods, languages, and experiences during the first three years of life may shape them into better-rounded adults. And instill good habits early. Humans are calibrated to learn and adapt throughout their lives, but it becomes increasingly difficult to alter the brain’s architecture – and the behaviors that result – as time passes and the brain becomes less sensitive to the effects of new experiences, according to HCDC.

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