Importance of Brain Development in the First Five Years

Importance of Brain Development in the First Five Years

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hi everyone and welcome to the Expo my name is Jodi Ben vernest I'm a psychologist parenting author and the director of parent well-being calm and I'm here on behalf the department of education and child development to talk to talk about the importance of the early years and when we're talking about brain development we're actually talking about the whole development of your child so including their physical social emotional their whole development but what's really interesting is over the last few years we've actually found out some really interesting things about what's happening within our children's brains and how development actually happens and so now the idea is is it's great to be able to share with you guys because you're with your children every day the best some of the things that you can do to help your child's development now what's really interesting about brain development is that it is it's it's from the minute your baby is born there are all these connections going off within their brains and what that does is it creates a foundation for their learning and development and then from there that builds and everything you do daily with your children helps build those skills and those connections until they've got millions firing off every day and what's really good about this is that there's some really simple things that you can do they do not take a lot of time they do not take a lot of effort or money but lots of really simple little things that you can do to help your children's development which can really help them get off to the brightest start now we know that the first five years are really important and by that we don't mean it's really important to get it right in the first five years otherwise you know your children are I was gonna say stuffed I'm gonna say that it's not that's not the idea but it is about more about these early years are in a fantastic opportunity to get our kids off to the to it to a great start so that's what I'd like to share with you today um if my clicker works okay so we know from the brain development research the neuroscience that there are three factors that influence our children's brain development and their development overall the first one is genes so we do all start life with a genetic blueprint and that's our starting point that's our children's starting point but what happens the minute they're born is that these two other factors kick in and they're incredibly important the first one is the experiences that your child has every day they help as I said create all those connections and lay that foundation brains are actually built from the bottom up so and then from there they build and grow so everything you do with your baby from day one helps create that platform for their future growth and development but the third factor is probably the most important one and it's that we know that kids really thrive on relationships on strong loving relationships and that actually helps and has a big impact on their brain development and their overall development so every time we love care do anything for our children we're helping build that strong relationship which helps their development so the experiences they have and the relationships they have with you and with other important people in their life is what creates that creates that strong growth so I'm going to talk about some simple easy things that you can do to help your children's development but before we get into that I just want to acknowledge that for all of us who are raising kids or with soomi raising kids it has got to be one of the most challenging roles in your life ever I don't think there's anything more challenging but it's also incredibly rewarding amazing all of those things in fact oh I see it as it's everything raising kids brings up everything so we farm I work with a lot of parents and the department has spoken and done a lot of research with parents – all of us find parenting amazing and also really challenging and frustrating if you're not experiencing that you're in a very small minority and many of us do feel guilty about whether we are doing the right things by our kids and whether we are doing enough of the right things this is often compounded by the fact like I know we're at a baby Expo and there's lots of information around but there's lots of really confusing and conflicting information about parenting and raising our kids and it can make it really difficult to make the right choices for ourselves so that's why I want to share with you some really simple easy things based on research based on sound science that you can do and you can be confident that you're really going to be offering your kids the best start so if you ask parents what they want for their children this is normally what they say we really want our kids to be happy to be healthy and – until and to live a good life so that's what we're aiming for and it's very achievable it is very achievable so what we've done is group these ideas into these four areas so as I said it's probably many of the things I will talk about are things that you may already be doing or things that you and intuitively do anyway so this is going to be confirmation of all of those things that you're already doing and also maybe just a few other ideas that you might want to incorporate into your everyday but they're built around these four areas of care learn talk and play and as I said they're not expensive we it's I think we get again we're an Expo where there's lots of products there's lots of stuff and yes some stuff does help to raise kids but oftentimes kids don't need lots of expensive toys expensive activities we can't get caught up in that so these are going to be just everyday things that's what I wanted to share with you today now the first factor is about how we care for our babies our children now for many of us our the way we think about parenting is the way that we were raised ourselves that's our touchstone and it may be that you think back and like I never ever want to raise my child like that for some of us that's our experience for others it's well you know how am I going to emulate that my parents were amazing so but what we do know there's been a lot of research that's been done into parenting styles and we do know that there is one parenting style that actually makes a huge difference for children's growth and development and the most important thing the absolute best thing you can do for your child is to love them to be warm loving and affectionate because as I mentioned before about those 3 factors that influence their growth and development and the most important one is the relationships and so that's what you're doing when you love your children is you're helping build that strong relationship which then is the foundation for their future learning and growth I think that's ultimately that's what we're doing when we raising kids we're developing that strong relationship so that then they can go on to develop strong relationships with other people in their life so if you're warm loving and affectionate brilliant your kids are going to do really well the other two are also helpful in terms of parenting style the second one is around creating rituals and routines I prefer the word ritual to routine but some people love routines some people love really tight routines other people don't it's completely up to you but the idea of a ritual is repeated things activities that you do with your child it might be at bedtime where you have a little ritual of bath into pajamas read them a story have a cuddle that's a bedtime ritual meal times you might set up some ritual these really help kids because it gives them a sense of safety and security and gives them confidence about what's happening in their day and it's a great way to just have those you know repeated lovely moments with your children that help build your relationship as well so kids actually do love a bit of a ritual routine the third one is around as you answer your babies grow a bit and they start to behave in more challenging ways or babies can be challenging but when they start to really behave in ways where you've got to I suppose guide what's appropriate behavior and what isn't setting some boundaries really helps so and by that you know we can't be across everything every minute but it's picking those things that are really important for you and your family so it might be like healthy eating is really important in my family so these are the rules in our house here's your plate of food healthy nutritious food if you eat it fantastic if you choose not to eat it you're not getting anything else or you're not getting you're not allowed to then have a suite or a treat or whatever it is so again that's about you deciding on what's important in your family and holding tight firmly on those factors that matter because your kids it is their job to push the boundaries that's what they're supposed to do and they do it really well some better than others and it's our job to hold firm when it's important so this is the parenting style which really helps kids but the most important one is that top one being loving warm and affectionate we do know that kids who grow up with parents or families or a situation where where their parents or loved ones are cold harsh neglectful don't really take an interest in their kids that's not good for children's development at all so warm loving and affection is the go the second factor is about how our children learn but as as parents we don't actually need to take sit down and teach our kids what we need to do is just involve them in everyday life and so the first set of ideas there about reading books telling stories singing songs having a laugh all of these help your children's literacy skills so their language skills and their really simple things that you might already do or you can easily do with your child but it's helping to you're talking to create that platform for when they get to school they're going to go on to learn how to read and write and do all these other amazing things and everything you do in these early years is creating that platform for their future learning the second list is it's about numerical skills number skills mathematical skills and we often don't think that our children are learning these from very early age but they are and by doing things like counting measuring comparing you know that one's bigger than that one that one's shorter that one's taller sorting things into groups whether it's the washing the clean washing those mums clothes dad's clothes baby's clothes that's they're learning mathematical skills and abilities through those simple things telling the time walking around the neighborhood and looking at the the numbers on the letter boxes all of these things help your child's development really really simple things and as I say it's not like we have to sit down with an iPad and a special app to teach them this stuff this is stuff you can just do every day the third one is play and again it's not we don't actually need a lot of expensive toys we don't need a lot of kids do not need screens they do at law and we live in a very very very screen based world and I know why we you'll use them but kids don't benefit a lot from screens particularly in the early years they can learn so much more from playing with boxes pots and pans things from the cupboard kitchen cupboard playing outside in the sand and watching the ants crawl along the pavement all of these sorts of things kids really learn from exploring and trying things and experimenting and just having the opportunity to run around and self-direct themselves and just follow their interests so and again we don't need lots of expensive things to make this happen every time we you know we do the reading with them we we we tell them about what we're doing I'll get onto that in a minute we are helping them to play and learn because secret see the thing secret thing kids know that play is not only fun it's how they learn and many of us as parents and as adults we've forgotten how to play we don't do it we're so busy doing things and working but this is how kids learn so it's really important part of their development to allow them to play free play the other really good thing is too is for them to play with others so as they um as they get older they need to learn how to share and negotiate and all these sorts of things that you that you learn from playing with others so and the other and the other thing is is that our kids don't need to us to be sitting there all the time on the on the floor playing with them so it's great if you can find some time to do that but it's also great to allow them to just roam and play themselves and to direct themselves so really simple things it's the way kids learn they're learning every day and they do it through play the last factor is about talking to our children our kids learn a lot from us when we just involve them in the conversation so we can be like a a documentary running commentary like the commentary on our on a documentary just telling them about what we're doing about what's happening around them you can even if they cannot talk you can ask them questions you can ask their opinion you might be at the supermarket and say oh should we have pasta for dinner or should we have something else over here you can just involve them in the conversation when I had my first child the the Midwife said to me when you're changing her nappy tell her what you're doing when you are out walking around so look at that what's interesting but what's happening over there the more you talk to your child the better you might feel like you're talking to yourself you're not there listening and it is helping their growth and development so these are the four areas care being loving and affectionate learning with them talking to them as much as you can and also playing but if you want three key takeaways from what I've just discussed it's these three things so been loving and affectionate if you do nothing else with your child just be loving and affectionate your child will be fine better than fine but if you also speak playing engage with your child which is a way of showing them love and affection and you involve them in your everyday life they develop a strong sense of identity of who they are of being part of a family and that really helps their growth and development if you would like any more ideas the Department of Education stand is over in row eight right down the other in there and there's also a website called great start where they've got lots of ideas and they also talked about the reasons why these activities help your child's development so thank you all for coming I hope that you've got some simple easy ideas that you can take away with you these first five years are not meant to be a test I mean they are tests but they're not meant to be I've got to get it right it's more about let's use these years as a great opportunity to give our children a great start so I wish you all very well and enjoy the rest of the expo you

14 thoughts on “Importance of Brain Development in the First Five Years

  • Turok, not the dinosaur hunter, the adult film star

    Oh, my baby knows how to Cher. She’s a queen.

  • Angie Makhubela

    Thank you

  • salma nur

    Such a great video,thank you.

  • k Bact

    10:46 so true.

  • RS

    setting boundaries and following through with them every time really changed my sons behaviour and listening to what i'm saying to the better! of course sometimes he still gets mad if things don't go his way but it's a manageable amount now.
    it's incredible just how much they learn in their first years. i knew it would be a rapid learning curve but experiencing it myself i'm amazed every day.

  • Karen the carrot


  • Carolyn Lee

    Great presentation. Straight and to the point.

  • Risel Bynoe

    amazing video !

  • Be Ren

    Gov't needs to test pregnant women and put them through parenting classes with continued monitoring for any who do not pass the parenting class tests.

  • Imran Mohamad

    Such an excellent video! I strongly support the importance of brain development in our youngsters. As a young parent, I strongly believe that there are several ways to exercise & develop cognitive development in our children. Incorporating technology & gamification would create a foundation for our children to be focused, build their confidence & independence & later on, be successful. Here's an article that resonates with your video:

  • meow meow

    Thank you for this video! I see so many parents trying to sit their toddlers down and teach them colors, shapes, abc, numbers, etc. It seems exhausting for the kids

  • lassus prophetam

    You forgot nutrition you also forgot fluid intake.

  • SKPBoy

    Such a great video. Thank you.

  • Halima Mohammed

    excellent excellent video

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