A child’s ‘critical’ first five years

Last January 22, I shared my views on simplifying life this 2021. One of the major aspects of our life is parenting. I believe that the start of simplifying parenting is knowing “important basics.”

Did you know that the first five years of a child’s brain development will determine how successful the child will be for the rest of his life?

There’s a phase called the “critical period”—a phase where the brain cell connections are more flexible and receptive to the influence of life experiences. If you miss out on this window of opportunity, it might be harder for your child to cope with the ever-changing world.

Based on Why Early Childhood Matters, published in First Things First (bit.ly/3jefWwE), 90 percent of brain growth happens before kindergarten. Newborn babies have all of the brain cells they’ll have for the rest of their life, but the synapses, or connections, between these cells are what make the brain work. These connections enable us to do just about everything, including moving, thinking and communicating.

Research confirms that the first five years of life are considered to be a rapid and dynamic period for brain development. Most brain processes during that period will have an impact on the developing brain. Much like electrical wires—or the fiber optics that connect us to the Internet—billions of brain cells called neurons send electrical signals to communicate with each other. These connections form circuits and become the basic foundation of brain architecture.
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