The importance of the first three years.

You will find a lot of information about the importance of the first three years.

Rightly so they are critical.

I remember when I first saw brain development represented as stockings full of rice like the photo above.  I loved it as it is such a clear image of the rapid rate of brain development.

At birth a baby’s brain weighs 380 grams, by 3 years it is around 1270 grams and then at adolescence it is approximately 1450 grams.

So in the first three years your babies brain will grow around 890 grams and then close to 180 grams across the next 10 years.

The first three years matter. But the thing is, I think we need to not get caught up in thinking we need to be doing anything too fancy, truthfully a caring and responsive adult is a powerhouse for supporting early brain development. The Center on the Developing Child: Harvard University call it Serve and Return. I call it chatting with your child.  When we talk about what they are interested in and share with them the world around them. Share our stories. All of these things build neural connections and support the brain development of our young children. The reason the Center on the Developing Child call it serve and return is because it is like a game of tennis. We take turns in doing something and in this case talking.  I say something, you say something back. This two way conversation and interaction is really valuable to developing brains and minds. I sometimes wish I knew then what I know now, however I also know not to dwell there. My kids are 10, 12, 14 and 16. I am grateful I was always such a ‘natterer’ to them.

Small Connections is about being your Speechie friend. It is through conversation and connection that we can support each other.

I support families to build language foundations one step at a time. If we can improve children’s language and their connection with others we can improve their world. If we prioritise interactions and conversation we can support brain development.

If you are keen to go on the waiting list for my next Program for Parents, a two week, online program to build your confidence and provide  tools to support your young child’s talking, speech and language development. Pop your name on the waiting list here.

 

Motivation: A key ingredient to building CALM connection.

Motivation is an interesting thing. The older I get the more critical it appears to me. I might know something but until I am motivated by it I don’t tend to overly engage in it. Motivation drives everything we do. I am motivated to create Small Connections so that I can share actionable information to parents when they need it! In bite size chunks. Information overwhelm is also real. I am motivated by the fact that I believe parents are very capable at knowing what they need and what they will find helpful. We can trust we know what is right for our children and our family. Especially when we pause and connect.

At the moment I am even more motivated to get going and create Small Connections for families looking for information to support their understanding of how their child is talking and learning language. Over the last few weeks I have been ‘living the dream’ of assessment and diagnosis with one of my kids. I get it. I have worked in the medical model. I know the value and importance of it. BUT after four sessions I am yet to get anything useful and of value to actually help our family move forward. Now this is okay for me as I am one of those people who keeps looking for the right support and as such I am completely all over what actions will propel us forward into a better space. However, what about those people where this may not be as straight forward. So I am motivated to stop second guessing myself and actually create a business that can serve families who are looking for information about early child language. Families where their child may have had middle ear infections, families where their child is not saying as much as others their age, families where things are just a little different to the siblings or families where their child is so super cute but they cannot understand a word. These families I can help.

Motivation is critical for our kids as well. When we follow what they are motivated by we can have conversations about things that matter to them. From this place we build talking and language.

I had a great conversation with my little neighbor about leaches. He found one on my driveway. I am not sure if it was a leach actually or just a poor worm but there was a lot to talk about. I told him he could keep it as well.

Have a think about what motivates your child to talk. What gets them engaged? Then talk about that. Describe the things you see, feel and hear.

Over the next few weeks we will continue to explore the four key ingredients to CALM connection with your child to support their early language development.

If you are having any niggly feelings and want to connect with me, my goal is to be your Speechie Friend.

I support families to build language foundations one step at a time. If we can improve their language and their connection with others we can improve their world.

If you are keen to go on the waiting list for my next Program for Parents, a two week, online program to build your confidence and provide  tools to support your young child’s talking, speech and language development. Pop your name on the waiting list here.