OHSU

The Child Brain

The Child Brain - OHSU Brain Awareness

A child's brain is ripe for learning! Neuroscientists have discovered that between toddlerhood and puberty, brain metabolism, as measured by blood sugar consumption, remains very high. The synaptic net of axons and dendrites is thick and ready to absorb new experiences. Many researchers believe that certain skills are easiest to learn during this time.

A dramatic example is the ability to learn language before the age of ten. Children's brains can soak up new words in both their native language and in another language they frequently hear.

It is important to remember, however, that learning continues throughout life, and that each child is unique and learns at his own pace.

Tips to improve your child's brain:

(From The Dana Guide to Brain Health, 2002)

  • Provide a warm, loving, consistent environment. Children always need to know you love them. Show pride in their efforts. And help them build relationships with others.
  • Challenge your child with new opportunities, but don't overdo it! Give your child the time and freedom to pursue his or her own interests.
  • Provide a healthy diet. Establishing healthy eating habits in children can have lifelong benefits in avoiding obesity, diabetes, and hypertension.
  • Schedule regular check-ups with your pediatrician.
  • Require your child to wear a helmet while bicycling, skateboarding, or doing similar activities.
  • Always use seat belts. This can greatly reduce the chance of suffering a serious head injury in the car.