Children under 5 are going through more changes than they ever will again– especially in their brain. Here are five easy ways YOU can promote healthy brain development in children under 5!
- Spend quality time with your child!
When you imagine quality time with your adult friends, what are the hallmarks? You are probably picturing flowing conversation, bold laughter, and activities you both enjoy. That’s exactly what you should be doing with your young children! Talk to them! Hearing your voice supports healthy brain development. Laughing solidifies key neural pathways– it literally strengthens the structures of the physical brain and builds social and emotional skills. It’s an important mode of communication! Find time every day to chat and laugh with your children! Download our at-home activity sheet to find something you and your child can enjoy together.
2. Read books with your child!
When we say read, we mean, really spend time with your child and their books! Do funny voices, ask questions, imagine alternate endings, let them flip the pages. Including them in the process as much as possible allows them to immerse themselves in the story and own their own communication. Thinking through cause and effect is an important part of healthy development, and reading stories is great practice. Find ways to incorporate reading into your daily routine at our website.
3. Take your child on a walk or wagon ride!
Let them use their five senses to see, hear, smell, touch, and (if it’s safe) taste their surroundings outside the home! The more your child gets to experience, the more prepared they are for learning, little challenges, and skills building. Use the development tracker on our website to know what reactions and behaviors you should be looking for from your child on your adventures!
4. Learn more about your child’s development with a free screening!
Checking to see how your child is going on meeting certain developmental milestones can show if they are having any delays. Identifying your child’s developmental needs before they turn five can help you to connect to the services they need before they go into Kindergarten. Catching developmental delays early can make a big difference for children and families. Research shows that when children with delays receive services before age 5, they are more likely to be ready for school. And they are less likely to need services later in life. Once your child is screened you can get connected to local resources, and HMGIE is here to help you navigate those processes every step of the way. Read more about the Ages and Stages Screening, and all the ways we can support you before and after.
5. Take care of yourself physically, mentally, and emotionally.
Parenting can be hard work! It is easier to enjoy your new baby and be a positive, loving parent when you are feeling good yourself. Find time to reflect, meditate, exercise, have fun, or practice some other type of care for yourself. Even the smallest things can have a huge impact. You are doing a great job, and Help Me Grow Inland Empire is here to help you along the way. Whenever you have questions, call us! We’re here! 1-866-HMG-IE16.