Your Baby’s Brain

In a child’s first year of life, 700 to 1,000 neural connections are formed each second, and by age three, children have approximately 1,000 trillion neuronal connections in their brains. These connections prime them to take in new information, after the first few years of life, most of these connections are gradually pruned away. Neural pathways are a use-it-or-lose-it proposition, so exposing your child to plenty of new foods, languages, and experiences during the first three years of life may shape them into a better-rounded adult and instil good habits early. Humans are calibrated to learn and adapt throughout their lives, but as time passes, the brain becomes less sensitive to the effects of new experiences. Prolonged stress is toxic to developing brains.

The immaturity of an infant’s higher brain (the prefrontal cortex) puts the lower brain (the limbic system and brain stem) in charge by default. This means that fear-driven survival instincts and strong emotions can easily overwhelm the infant and young child with impulses they cannot control. That will be the parent’s calm, joyous grounding that brings the infant back to balance again and again and again. It’s also the reason why parents should massage their babies because through the skin-to-skin touch, your voice, your eye contact and even your unique odor, babies can release their stress, feel safe and relax.

 

Source : Harvard Center on the Developing Child

 

寶寶的大腦

在寶寶初生的第一年, 他們大腦每秒鐘會形成700到1000個神經元連接, 到3歲時, 兒童的大腦有約1000萬億個神經元連接。這些連接使他們獲得新的資訊, 增強學習能力,但在3歲之後,這些連接會逐漸被修剪掉。 因此, 在小朋友3歲之前, 讓他們接觸大量新食物、語言和體驗, 儘早灌輸良好的習慣,有機會使他們成為一個更全面的成年人。我們的大腦一生都處於學習狀態和怎樣去適應生活, 但隨著時間的流逝, 大腦變得對新事物的學習能力會越來越低。 長時間的壓力對大腦發育有很大傷害。

當初生嬰兒的大腦發育還未成熟的時候,邊緣系統(支援多種功能例如情緒、行為) 會負責控制他們的情緒和行為。 這意味著, 嬰兒和幼兒是無法控制他們因恐懼驅動的生存本能和強烈的情緒而產生的壓力,要依靠是父母平靜安穩及歡樂的情緒, 把寶寶一次又一次地帶回輕鬆舒緩的狀態。 這也是父母應該按摩他們的寶寶的原因, 因為通過輕柔的撫觸, 你的聲音, 你的目光接觸,甚至你獨特的氣味, 嬰兒可以釋放他們的壓力, 感到安全和放鬆自己。

資料來源 : Harvard Center on the Developing Child