By age two the brain has done the majority of its growing. (Don’t worry; it remains “plastic” throughout the lifespan.)
The greatest period of brain development is prenatal. Most of us learned that we needed to take extra vitamins so that the developing baby would get enough nutrients. In the 70’s and 80’s my doctor told me to have a glass of wine every night. I’m so glad I didn’t do that! That’s like mixing formula with alcohol; not a good idea.
Pediatricians also recommended that we let our babies cry in the night, so they would learn how to soothe themselves. Dr. Spock recommended for us to stop picking up babies because they would get spoiled. Hospitals also told their staff to stop picking up babies because of the danger of spreading germs. Brain research now tells us that there is a reason that a baby stops crying after 20 minutes. It’s a safety feature in the brain that shuts the whole system down when there are prolonged levels of stress chemicals (cortisol). Too much cortisol destroys brain cells.
Letting a baby cry for long periods of time sends this message to the baby, “No one listens to me; no one will meet my needs.” This is the foundation of trust. Without trust, there is damage to the parent-child relationship. Children who go without trust and without one primary relationship are crippled in their ability to give and receive care, to use language to meet their needs, and to regulate their emotions. We see many of these untrusting children in our foster care system and in the international orphanage care systems.
Read more at http://www.oaoa.com/articles/child-76160-parenting-years.html
About this Study
Jacksonville Community Council Inc. (JCCI) is completing its latest community inquiry, Children 1-2-3: Early Learning for Future Success. This community engagement process has been examining the question, "How can Jacksonville best foster early learning success for children from birth to age 3 in our community?" Over the course of the process (October 2011 through April 2012), the meeting schedule, meeting summaries, key handouts and relevant articles have all been posted here. To find out more, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.