Neural Plasticity in Infant Part II - Healthy Planet School


Neural Plasticity in Infant Part II

In the first part of this article we examined what neural plasticity means and how we can help our children’s brains grow. This article explore specific activities that enhance connections in children’s brains.

Tips For Supporting Neural Plasticity

There are many simple ways to enhance your child’s neural plasticity. However, we must be mindful not to overstimulate young children with excessive exposure to maximize synaptic connections. Reading your child’s signals is critical to adjusting and adapting to their unique temperamental needs and limits. It’s essential to their learning to create healthy boundaries. The more comfortable and secure your child feels, the better he/she will learn.

Use the following list of suggestions as a starting point for at-home activities with your infant and toddler. You may also wish to consult with your child’s teacher or caregiver for more ideas.

Music & Movement

Play a variety of music and encourage your child to move their body in ways that come naturally. Create music too, using a variety of unconventional musical objects, such as pots and pans.

Expressive Art

Product-oriented art activities don’t support the numerous possibilities for creative artistic expression. Instead, provide your child with a variety of open-ended art media and encourage them to explore colors, shapes, and textures through a self-led creative process without having to “make” something that is recognizable.

Neighbourhood Walks & Trips

Face-forward stroller walks are an excellent way to expose your child to the world. They enjoy the secure and comfortable seat of the stroller, while taking in all the new sights and sounds of the neighbourhood, supermarket, and more. Just ensure you peek your face around every once in a while to remind your baby you’re still there.

Physical Activity

Enjoying the freedom to move their body in intentional and creative ways fires off your toddler’s neural connections at lightning speed. Provide a safe and secure space, materials, and adult support for your child to jump, kick, roll, run, swing, and more.

Play Peekaboo

This fun and simple activity supports the development of object permanence, your baby’s ability to know that people and objects continue to exist even if they’re out of sight.

Have Lively Conversations

An expressive and responsive talking partner helps your child learn to respond appropriately and sensitively in social situations, thereby increasing their social intelligence. Using open-ended questions, encourage your child to speak about stories, objects, meals, and more. Model turn-taking conversation, appropriate expression, and new vocabulary.

Engage, Explore & Extend

These three Es are an excellent approach to supporting neuroplasticity in your child’s developing brain. Give your baby plenty of opportunities to explore their environment safely and securely. Engage their attention and interest in various open-ended activities, and extend their learning by providing achievable challenges, namely ones that bring them to a new level of understanding.

To discover more about how an early learning environment can support your infant or toddler’s growth and development, contact us here.