Learning in Families Together: Infant Brain Development
The brain is just waiting to receive and connect signals to form the kind of person the infant will become.
- Infant brains are referred to as “plastic,” meaning they can be shaped.
- Every part of the brain is shaped by experiences.
- There are certain windows of time when development occurs. For example, there is a time when vision connections develop in the brain.
- A newborn’s brain grows to about 80 percent of adult size by age 3 and 90 percent by age 5.
Infants prefer human interactions, such as with your face, voice, touch, and smell.
- Talk to your baby, coo and soothe, sing and rock. Stroke his or her cheek and kiss his or her soft head.
Children will pick up many behaviors of the adults around them.
- Using loud voices teaches children to use loud voices. Using soft, warm touches teaches children to do the same.
- If children see patience in adults who are looking for solutions to problems, they will see that learning is a process with many steps.
Infants begin to make connections in the brain based on what they hear and see.
- Read with your baby. Talk and listen. Have a conversation — even using babble sounds!
- Be silly. Children respond to exaggerated sounds and motions.
Virginia Cooperative Extension materials are available for public use, reprint, or citation without further permission, provided the use includes credit to the author and to Virginia Cooperative Extension, Virginia Tech, and Virginia State University.
Virginia Cooperative Extension is a partnership of Virginia Tech, Virginia State University, the U.S. Department of Agriculture, and local governments. Its programs and employment are open to all, regardless of age, color, disability, sex (including pregnancy), gender, gender identity, gender expression, national origin, political affiliation, race, religion, sexual orientation, genetic information, military status, or any other basis protected by law
June 4, 2019