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How Bonding Builds Babies’ Brains

By Too Small to Fail

How Bonding Builds Babies’ Brains

Often, there is a lot of emphasis placed on the cognitive or physical skills young children pick up—how to roll over, walk, or recite a nursery rhyme, for example. But in truth, social and emotional skills are just as important to early brain development, and for reasons that scientists are just beginning to understand. And this type of early social-emotional development has a direct connection to how parents and caregivers interact with their children early on. 

Scientists believe that the attachment that parents form with their young children helps ensure a sense of safety in children and builds their self-esteem. Newborns usually seek nurturing from their parents and caregivers from the moment of birth, and when their basic needs are met with gentleness and affection, their sense of security increases, and stress levels decrease. These chemical changes in the brain have long-lasting, positive effects on the brain, and can improve early learning and the ability to form positive relationships with others.

Loving moments experienced between parents and children—from birth through adolescence—contribute to feelings of closeness between the two. Parents can use daily activities, like changing a diaper or preparing a toddler for bed, to enjoy quiet moments that reassure a child that he or she is loved. Eye-to-eye contact, holding a baby’s hand, and talking to him throughout the day (even if he’s not yet talking back!) are all ways that parents and caregivers can help their children grow up to be confident, loving adults.

Resources for Sharing:

  • This cute Sesame Street video for parents explains how showing interest in your young child’s activities improves bonding and builds self-esteem!
  • Great tips for parents on activities that encourage bonding with young babies, using everyday activities.
  • How singing (yes, singing!) can help your baby bond with you, and learn.

VIDEO: Find more videos from Sesame Street on our website, www.talkingisteaching.org>>.

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