How a Mother's Affection Benefits the Development of Her Child
7 minute read
There is a reason that most people thank their mothers when they graduate or achieve something in life. Maternal support and love go a long way in creating safety for a growing child. Children look to their mother for guidance, security, and support and love is a powerful tool.
As the primary caregiver to young children, the affection of a mother can go a long way in creating a person’s temperament, self-esteem, and as it happens, intelligence too.
How Love Makes the Brain Grow
Today, many women not only work full-time, but they’re also mothers. Ideally, every mother wishes they had the resources and time to be able to spend every waking moment with their developing child. Sadly, this is not always reality, and many women feel they skimp on mom duties.
Recent studies have found that nurturing and affection can impact the brain development of a child, and have shown increases in intelligence. The spotlight now turns on making sure love is always on the menu.
Science has long known that the experiences of a child influence brain development. There are specific stages during brain development in which affection and attachment have a greater impact than other possible factors.
The brain power of a child can, therefore, be improved or reduced as a direct result of how much attention and affection their mother gives them. This nurturing effect, of course, applies to all primary caregivers and is not reserved for mothers alone.
The brain is the command center for all of us, and the millions of connections between brain cells are what allow us to think, feel, move, and communicate. The experiences of a child can be a major influence on how these connections develop, with the most important time being the first five years of life. Stronger relationships develop as a result of positive, secure, and nurturing environments.
Recent studies have found that the level of nurturing a child gets impacts how their brain develops. A specific study looked at brain scans of children in preschool and found that those who were nurtured had a larger hippocampus. There was a definitive change anatomically in the brains of children with regards to the level of nurturing they received.
The hippocampus is an important brain structure in developing children. Responsible for long-term memory and the processing of emotional responses, the hippocampus is where childhood memories are stored and where they are recalled from as points of reference.
A larger hippocampus as a result of nurturing and love means a child is better able to interpret new experiences and their emotional responses will develop in a healthier way.
Quality Over Quantity
Just because a mother’s love is important in child development and brain health doesn’t mean that working moms should feel guilty about sending their kids to daycare or preschool. When it comes to a mother’s love, quality is more important than quantity.
Making the most of the time you have with your children is what will benefit them the most. Even when time seems limited, there are several ways you can connect with your child.
Not only can your child learn about baking but this is a fun way to spend time together. You can bake treats for a family member and then deliver them or bake something for you to enjoy together.
Go on a Treasure Hunt
Organize a small treasure hunt in a local park on even in the house and backyard.
Make a Photo Album
Whether it is a specific vacation or event, take time to go through digital images with your child and have them pick out the ones to include in a scrapbook or album. This is a great way to spend time, relive great memories, and allow them to express their creativity.
Build a Fort
You can build a fort with your child in their room or in the living room. Let them organize the construction process and then take the time to hang out with them. You can even spend the night inside the fort with them. If the weather is great outside try pitching a tent in your yard and have a small outdoor overnight adventure.
In addition to spending quality time with your children, you can encourage healthier eating and regular exercise. A good diet goes a long way in promoting gut and therefore brain health and can boost their cognitive powers even more. There are a few important things to remember when it comes to ensuring your child eats healthy and promotes optimal brain power.
These beneficial fats are great for brain development and can be easily found in nuts, avocado, and fresh fish.
Eat Whole Grains
The complex carbohydrates in whole grains contain folate which is necessary for brain development. These foods are also rich in the B vitamins which help to increase memory function.
Iron-rich foods are the best for improving alertness and increasing energy levels. Lean meats, spinach, dried fruits, and whole grains are the best options for giving your child all the iron they need.
Including fresh fruits and vegetables ensures that your child gets plenty of antioxidants, which protect their brain from damaging free radicals. Getting them used to fruits and veggies early on is key, as antioxidants will be beneficial as they grow older.
Three Is the Magic Number
Make sure your child gets three regular meals each day and includes a few snacks in between. This ensures that mental and physical function is provided with energy all day long.
The Bottom Line
Incorporating simple activities into your daily life will show your kids the love they need and give their brain the power to grow. Children absorb experiences and watch parents closely. What they see and your actions directly impact their development.
The power of a mother’s love goes beyond emotional development and can boost cognitive function as well, so be sure to show love to your child and watch them bloom.