Learn the basics of your child’s brain development and how to ensure better holistic growth

Your child is growing up in a world that changes fast with unpredictable twists and turns. It will soon be time that he leaves your cocoon and steps into a different environment outside his protective home. To make him adept at leading a successful life you need to start taking care of his health needs early on. Between 2 and 6 years of age, your child will need the optimum nutrition to help his brain cells develop and nurture those that have already developed. This is the age when your toddler’s brain is more active than yours. So learn the reason behind his enthusiasm in everything around him.

A child goes through the phase of rapid brain development between 2 and 3 years and then by 6 years of age 95% of adult brain weight is achieved. The brain cell connections that form now are the foundation of learning for a child. This is the time when you will be baffled by his thinking which will seem sophisticated in parts. Besides, he will learn to walk, run and jump thereby strengthening the associated neuronal connections.

In this respect, DHA is an essential component that helps in brain development in children. The inclusion of plentiful DHA in the diet improves learning ability. Nutritionist Hena Nafis says, “DHA provides a number of health benefits to children, particularly in early childhood. It supports normal cognitive function and brain and eye development and its function.”

Your child’s cognitive and motor skills develop around the same time. You will be amazed and amused to see that he is able to learn different new words and retain them in memory – his conscious memory – and scamper up the stairs without help. While this will call for celebration make sure you help him further nourish his brain cells with the right amount of nutrients as nutrition and parenting are factors important for brain development. According to Hena Nafis, “The role of nutrition is to fuel the brain and DHA helps develop the brain cell membranes. Food or fortified milk formula rich in essential fatty acids like DHA are essential for every child.”

The need for adequate nutrition in early childhood is more and the rest of his life’s food habits depend on the practice during his toddler years. Besides, you need to spend time with your children to induce good dietary habits like sitting down for a family meal every day, arranging the child’s plate with colourful food and cutting food pieces into cubes and other interesting shapes.

Dr Monidipa Banerjee, consultant paediatrician who runs a child guidance clinic, agrees, “The one form of stimulation that has been proven to make a difference is language. Infants and children who are conversed with, read to, show somewhat more advanced linguistic skills than children who are not as verbally engaged by their caregivers. Avoid modern babysitters like television, mobile etc.”

For parents like you, it is essential to take care that your child receives the right nutrient and that you involve yourself in your child’s activities for his holistic growth.

  • Encourage your child to learn, play and be active
  • Ensure right nutrient intake like DHA for brain development
  • Practice proper dietary habits through nutritious food and fortified milk formula
  • Update yourself of good parenting skills