Children go through a lot of transformation in their early years. Understanding these transformations and stages of brain development in early childhood can aid in providing an effective environment for better growth. The early years of a child, especially the first 3 years are very crucial for building the brain.
Everything the child sees, hears, smells, touches and tastes helps in shaping up the brain for thinking, learning and feeling. It helps the child in understanding and exploring the world better.
The Brain Development Process Of A Child (0-6 age group)
- The brain develops rapidly during the first 5 years of a child’s life. This is the time for linguistic, social, cognitive, emotional and motor development. Every time the child uses any of the senses, a new neural connection is made in the brain.
- Babies start to learn rapidly right from their birth. Their growing and learning is best when they get proper nutrition, protection, stimulation, affection and attention. From birth to age 3, children develop their sensory experiences like different sounds, smells, objects, tastes etc.
- After 3, the brain starts responding to new learning experiences. Language, vision and emotions continue to develop. Also, various skills like drawing, playing an instrument, picking up a sport etc., are easy to be learned during this stage.
- Socializing with other children of their age is another important factor that can affect the development of the brain. Group learning, playing or activities help children a lot. Playing is another key to better learning and development. Playing and other physical activities lay the foundation for future learning and life skills. Encouraging children to play helps them develop physically, socially, intellectually and emotionally.
- Children mostly learn how to interact socially and behave emotionally by watching and imitating the behavior of people who are closest to them. It helps in developing their creativity and imagination, hence this should be encouraged. But they can learn both acceptable and unacceptable kind of behavior. All of this playing, socializing and interacting help children a lot while entering school. Entering primary school is very critical to the continuity of brain development. Adequate support from parents, teachers and other well-wishers is very important at this stage.
- All children grow in a similar pattern and their brain development is also similar, but each child develops at their own pace, some grow faster and some slower. Also, every child has their own interests, learning approach, temperament and sense of interacting socially.
Here is a chart that gives an idea of how brain development happens in children. Each stage continuous to build on the previous stage and affects the next stage. Children should be able to do certain things at a certain age as follow:
- Turn head towards someone stroking cheek or mouth
- Turn towards familiar voices
- Explore objects with hands and mouth
- Start imitating sounds and facial expressions
- Respond to their name and familiar faces
- Try to imitate words and sounds
- Respond to simple requests
- Repeat sounds
- Make gestures for attention
- Point to objects when named
- Say several words together
- Scribble with a pencil or crayon
- Imitate other’s behaviour
- Recognize common objects by pointing
- Make sentences of two or three words
- Say their own name and age
- Name colours
- Understand numbers
- Speak in sentences
- Understand opposites
- Play with other children
- Answer simple questions
- Count 5–10 objects
Different Parts Of Brain And Their Functions – Infographic
The Learning Process Infographic – How A Child Learns