Friday, June 13, 2014

Babies brain: Decision making, eye contact

Here is extensive knowledge from many Infant Research sources. In addition, there are even more studies, including Dr Peter Grazzeley's, who heads a brain lab at UCSF and has cutting edge information on how the brain works. His most recent DVD ( you can purchase it from KQED ), " The Myth of Multi-tasking " reveals what is happening with electronics being such a strong presence in our lives as both adults and children.

Babies brains are far more cognizant than we previously thought. " Science is now giving us a much different picture of what goes on inside infant hearts and minds. Long before they form their first words they are mastering complex emotions ---jealousy, empathy,frustration....Babies as young as 4 months have advanced powers of deduction....a strikingly nuanced visual palette, which enables them to notice small differences, especially in faces, that adults and older children lose the ability to see."

Ed note: This is why it is very important to have strong eye contact with younger children, whether you are in a baby and me class, or watching from the deck. Over praising is not good but just seeing them, connecting with our eyes, give children a sense of self, an important emotional growth factor.

" When infants near their first birthdays, they become increasingly sophisticated social learners.They begin to infer what others are thinking by following their gaze."

Ed note: More eye contact creates better emotional development. The small games we play in our infant/toddler levels at La Petite Baleen, are conducive to increasing emotional skills.

I have talked about dog paddle being a strong agent for brain growth. Alternate movement of arms and legs create more synapses across the midline of the brain. Later, the brain prunes neurons that don't have connections. The accuracy of sensory visuals allows babies to have trusting relationships, starting at 4 months.

Nathan Fox from the University of Maryland," parenting style has a big impact on what kind of adult  a child will turn out to be. Parents of over-protective children, or those who didn't encourage them to overcome shyness and childhood anxiety, often remain shy and anxious as adults. Behaviorally inhibited kids are aslo at higher risk for other problems."

Ed note: Dr Grazzelley's research shows MRI's  of children from 5 to 20 yrs of age. The pre-frontal cortex is the decision-making and discernment area of the brain. It doesn't fully develop until age 25-26. It t underscores that parents must not ask children to make important decisions such as swim lessons. It creates anxiety and entitlement and coping skills are weak. Give children a foundation for making limited choices until children show they can do more.

" Children crave --and thrive--on interaction, one-on-one time and lots of eye contact....A child's social, emotional and academic life begins with..the first time baby locks eyes with you"

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