Springtime brings baby birds chirping, daffodils sprouting, and trees turning emerald green. Perhaps in your home, baby is busy growing, too. Many of your child’s developments are obvious, as she begins to pull up and babble and outgrow her onesies. But your baby is transforming in other ways as well.
During the first 36 months of life, your child’s brain undergoes an extraordinary amount of change. By age 3, the brain will be four-fifths of its adult size, but even more important are those changes that determine how it functions.
Synapses, the points of contact in the brain that make it function, are being formed by the billions, giving your child more active connections than any human needs. At around age 3, the synapses that aren’t used much begin to shut down and energy is directed to the connections that get the most traffic.
This means, that from birth to 3, your baby is a tiny, cuddly bundle of potential. Her growing brain could take to just about anything; languages, ideas, interests, passions. But the brain can only soak up the input it’s exposed to. As caregivers, our call is to offer as many enriching, safe experiences as possible to feed baby as her brain morphs. Springtime is perfect for this, as the city wakes from its hibernation and the world comes alive.
Interacting with your children is always a good thing. Playing with them, engaging in conversation, providing comfort and affection, all do wonders for their sense of self and connection to the world. Changing the scenery often further widens their world.
Memphis in springtime is festival heavy, and settings like the art shows or the farmers market offer exposure to all kinds of fascinating slices of life; different people, exotic smells, yummy foods, artists with their vibrant colors.
Neighborhood walks also lead to interactions with new friends and can inform a sense of place and culture, while exploring other parts of the city has a complementary effect, demonstrating localized diversity and the rich breadth of human life, even in a mid-sized city like ours.
Early, varied experiences produce adaptable, capable people.
Our children won’t be babies forever. In the not so distant future, they’ll grow and mature. Equipping them with an awareness of the world is crucial to their success. Maximizing this vital three-year period of brain development is one of the greatest gifts parents can give their kids.
Push and Go Go
So your tot’s amazing (naturally) and already wanting to ride a big-kid bike. But when they’re as young as 2 or 3, preschoolers can’t always manage a bike with training wheels. That’s why we love this wooden pushbike from Kinderfeets Balance Bikes. Designed to look like a real two-wheeler, it’s foot-powered instead, so your little guy can begin to develop balance and learn how to steer. On a pushbike, he’ll be able to zoom around without having to pedal or brake. Each bike comes equipped with foot pegs, an adjustable seat, and EVA airless tires. Your kid provides the zoom-zoom. • $99/natural finish, $109/chalkboard finish in six colors. Shipping extra.