Face-to-face interaction with your baby is the most powerful tool for brain growth.
Even when you leave daily childcare tasks and activities to someone else while you work, you, as a mother, have a special role to play in your baby’s development and the benefits of a mother’s love is undeniable. Here’s how to make the most impact in limited time.
What mothers have been doing instinctively for centuries, science now confirms: Face-to-face interaction with your baby is the most powerful tool for brain growth. Forget the elaborate outings and expensive toys; you bring the magic.
“A mother’s emotionally expressive face is the most potent stimulus in the infant’s social environment.” When a mother and child look into each other’s eyes, both know that the loop between them has been closed and this creates a “potent channel for reciprocal influences,” says neuropsychologist Dr Allan Schore in research published in the Infant Mental Health Journal.
This intimate, private mother-child conversation is not only necessary to form those incredibly special bonds we have with our little ones, it also opens the flood gates for the hormones and brain chemicals essential for optimal brain growth.
Schore explains that the infant’s right brain is especially tuned to grow when it receives stimulation “coming from the smiling and laughing joyful face of a loving mother”.
One researcher describes the way that mothers instinctively interact with our babies, as being able to “blast the infant into the next orbit of positive excitation.” In this way, a mother’s face is ‘biologically significant’ to her baby: Your presence is more important than any other’s to your small child.
Meaningful interactions with mom create not only a sense of safety, but also “a positively charged curiosity that fuels the burgeoning self’s exploration of new environments,” says Schore.
Exploration can only happen when a young child feels secure in his bond with mom (or primary caregiver), and leads to more advanced learning.
None of us can be with our children every minute of every day, but there are ways you can make the most of every moment you do have.
Here are some simple ways to connect meaningfully with your small child.
The evidence suggests a deep mother-and-child connection staves off stress, provides protection from illness, shapes future relationships, as well as boosts brain growth and enhances IQ.
When you are together your intimate bond and your love could just be the most powerful health intervention available.
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