As a parent, you definitely wish your children to always be healthy and grow optimally. An optimum brain development will determine their intelligence in the future. Therefore, they need support for this process to run well.
The important period of children’s brain development happens only once, which is during their first thousand days of life or since they are still in the womb until they reach 2 years old. What they receive during this time will greatly affect their brain development.
Why is the first thousand days considered as the golden period? According to a research, the growth and development of children’s nerve cells develop rapidly in the first thousand days of their life, starting in the womb.
Imagine it, Moms, in the first year, the amount of children’s brain nerve cells doubled the amount of when they were born. This development process will continue until they reach their peak at the age of two years old.
Then, when they reach the age of two years old, their brain volume will reach 80 percent of the adults’. After they pass this period, children’s brain development can only increase up to 20 percent.
In addition, another important thing also occurs during this golden period of children’s brain development. At the age of 2-3 years old, the number of children’s synapses doubled the number own by the adults.
What are synapses? Synapses are important components that support the brain’s function in the learning process and memory storage. The number of synapses will gradually decrease until they remain half when they turn to adults.
Then what can be done so your children’s brain development can run optimally during this critical period?
Nutrition and stimulation are the two key determinants for an optimum brain development. Moms should make sure that the children receive enough nutrition and stimulation according to their age group, so they can reach their maximum potential.
Each of the brain’s nerves is wrapped by a sheath that serves to accelerate the brain function. This sheath is formed form the essential fatty acids. Therefore, children need a complete nutrition intake and contain essential fatty acids, such as Omega-3 and Omega-6, which is essential for children’s brain development during the critical period. Some foods that contain fatty acids are salmon, tuna, mackerel, soybean oil, and other food ingredients that have been fortified (added) by the fatty acids. Moms should also provide the children with alpha lactalbumin (helps to develop and repair the body tissue which is an important component in the brain development), choline (helps in the memory storage, thinking, moving and speech ability), and iron (the hemoglobin component in red blood cells that carry the oxygen throughout the body, works to increase children’s concentration during their learning process).
At the beginning of birth, the brain formation is also affected by genetic factor. Then, the stimulation received by the children will determine whether their development is optimum or not.
The brain has several areas that regulate children’s cognitive functions, such as speech, logic, motor, sensory and so on. The rapid brain development during the golden period will certainly affect the area that manages those various functions. Stimulation will make the synapses in the area to be strongly tied, which will make the cognitive function to develop optimally.
The stimulations that Moms could do are: converse with the children often and introduce them to new vocabularies. By doing this, the area of the brain that regulates the speech, logic, and memory functions will reach its best potential.
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