3 Crucial Things You Need To Know About Child Development and Your Preschooler
Have you ever wondered what’s going on in your kid’s head?
Especially when they’re younger, it can be hard to image what it is they think about.
Are they only filled with imaginative thoughts?
Maybe they only think about when the next meal is? Or their next playtime? When they get to finally go to bed?
No matter what it is, it’s often troubling for parents to try and decipher.
You wouldn’t be wrong to think that they’re thinking of the basics, of course. The most active part of a child’s brain is the brain stem and midbrain, which control a human’s desires for the necessities in life.
Where the brain stem controls blood pressure, temperature, and heart rate, the midbrain controls things like appetite and sleep. For this reason, it’s easy to assume that children think of nothing else other than getting their hands on the tools for survival. It makes sense and we could even stop there, if it weren’t that we also knew that the most important years of child development occurs during their preschool years from zero to four years old.
What can you expect from your child’s brain development?
Let’s Start With the Basics
- Your child is born with over 100 billion neurons
- By the time your toddler is three-years-old each neuron will have formed thousands of connections throughout their brain
- Your preschooler’s brain and connections continue to re-wire throughout their continued growth
What are neurons?
Neurons are the building blocks of the brain and serve as the foundation for each section of each developing section. Neurons also serve to communicate messages to the brain across synapses. As your child grows, so do the connections that are made and formed, which is why and how we, as humans, learn and grow into the people we will ultimately become.
Your child’s preschool years are the most important for this reason. As they learn their ABC’s and 123’s, their brain develops and strengthens forming them into actual people. Knowing this, it’s important to pay attention to these three factors for what your preschooler’s brain development means for their formative school years.
Perhaps one of the most important things to recognize is that child development does not happen at the same rate across the board. What might come early for one child will be more difficult for another. Whether it is language, walking, or potty training, it’s not fair to expect one child to react the same as another of the same age. Remember, there are billions of neurons in each person’s head when they are born, and those neurons will form connections at the rate of the individual child. Be mindful of this
and keep from comparing your child’s development to that of their peers. Not only can you expect your child to catch up eventually, but you also can anticipate that the other child might be behind in other areas where you’re child is ahead. It’s all about the different learning rates.
Think about those two sections of the child’s brain that are working over time and consider the implications of them. Everything a child’s brain truly cares about during their early years—food, drink, sleep, and bodily functions—are a human being’s instincts. For this reason, it only makes sense that sensory activities will help hone your child’s natural abilities. Taste, touch, sight, hearing, and smell are all instinctually based developmental skills that can be sharpened through the right activities. This is, in part, why
electronics have such a detrimental effect on a preschooler’s development. Though your San Diego preschool will explore these sensory activities with your child, it’s important that you, as the parent, continue them well beyond the classroom. Invest in art supplies and tactile boxes; encourage your child to try new tastes, and to listen to music early on in their lives. Helping your preschooler explore their senses will help them see the world around them and develop strong neural pathways for the future.
Frameworks Are Built
If you’ve ever wondered why we learn the subjects we learn, you will want to read on. Children study subjects like mathematics, English, science, history, and language in their respective categories to help with the framework that is built in our brains as a child. Our brains are not created to remember random information that is thrown at it, which is why we often forget things we learn in passing. Instead, our brains are designed to formulate sections of similar information. This begins at the early
stages of child development and learning, which is why learning is categorized and not taught randomly throughout the day. Help your child’s framework continue to develop by focusing on specific categories of learning at a time. For example, if you’re working on reading with your child then do not toss in mathematics until you’re ready to move onto the subject. Likewise, continue to build your child’s framework to expand and include new subjects, sensory, and experiences. Try to introduce your child to something new each week to keep their understanding of the world interesting and growing.
So, the next time you wonder what your child is thinking about, or wonder if you’re helping further their development along, then consider these three factors: different rates, sensory activities, and frameworks being built. Remember, your child’s preschool teacher is well aware of the developmental areas that are important at this age, and can be helpful in discerning what your child’s strength and weaknesses are.