Ways to Help Your Child's Brain Develop
I recently read a book titled "Ticklish" by Dr. Jennifer Barham-Floreani that discusses many new, simple, proven, research-based ideas for you to help your child learn, love and play, so that they can thrive in today's challenging environment and express their full potential.
I decided I wanted to share some of my favorite nuggets I learned regarding ways to help your child's brain development. They are listed below!
The involuntary component of this act results in beneficial neural feedback. Research and our instincts tell us that human affection is critical for our well-being. Affectionate gestures such as ticking your child, hugging them, holding their hand, kissing them and praising them all affect their core physiology.
(Note for parents - Children with ADHD, autism and Asperger's syndrome may not enjoy light sensory activities such as tickling. Instead these children love deep pressure holds or moderate to firm holds on sides of their bodies; in fact they have a strong need for this type of deep touch stimulation which is also a form of affection)
laughter increases the heart rate, improves blood circulation and works muscles all over the body. It is also credited with increasing the release of endorphins, a 'feel good' hormone which is the body's natural pain killer and protector against depression. Clinical stories have also shown that laughter decreases serum cortisol levels, increases T lymphocytes and increases the number of natural killer cells. Put simply, these results suggest that laughter decreases stress hormones and stimulates the immune system.
First and foremost, the greatest gift you can give your baby is yourself - meaning your attention, your time and your energy. Your baby has an innate desire to learn, to explore and discover. As parent's we can help this process along with love and stimulation. It is this development of the sensory-motor loop (brain networks) that results in children learning to read, write and solve problems later in life.
4) Your Child's Head Shape
Anomalies of head shape can be the first indication that your child is susceptible to development delay. A misshapen head is not merely a cosmetic issue, it is a brain stem issue. If your child's head looks uneven or you notice flat areas, this can indicate restrictions between the skull and the soft layers that cover the brain and spinal cord. A healthy brain requires good movement of the skull and spine; when this movement is impaired, brain and nerve function are also impaired.
We as pediatric chiropractors at Tree of Life Chiropractic - Seattle see kiddos with these concerns all the time. Although, our focus is not aesthetics rather being to help increase the neurological function of your kiddo.
5) Tummy Time
From a neurological perspective it is vitally important that babies start having bursts of tummy time (approximately after 3 weeks of age) in order to build up neck muscles and activate brainstem pathways which are critical for healthy brain development.
(Side Note: I is important to stimulate all extensor muscles on the back side of the body regularly as they neurologically fire straight to the cerebellum and improve how the brain works.)
There many other great ways to help maximize your child's brain develop. I recommend checking out welladjusted.me and Dr. Barham-Floreani's books.
Also feel free to reach out to us anytime as we are here to serve you any way we can.