4 Things You Might Not Know About Baby Brains
By Sarah MacLaughlin, LSW

Babies, especially newborns, can throw you for a loop. They are otherworldly in their intensity. They stare deeply into your eyes one moment and scream bloody murder with theirs tightly squeezed shut the next. It can be a little confusing. Over the next few years it’s hard to keep up. In a hot second babies go from being unable to focus their eyes or control their own arms and legs to walking and talking.

It takes a long while for them to be able to express themselves reliably or manage their oh-so-overwhelming emotional states. This often leaves you guessing what’s going on inside their heads. We still don’t know how to become baby mind readers, but thanks to fMRI technology and dedicated researchers, we do have some fascinating information about babies’ brains.
The adaptability and rapid growth of the first three years of life, is a double-edged sword. It’s wise to approach this period of brain development as an opportunity, but as noted it can also go the other way. Responsive, caring and kind parenting/caregiving in the early years along with those vital “serve and return” interactions can make all the difference for growing brains. 

Alberta Family Wellness video on Brain Development and Architecture:

Harvard Center on the Developing Child article about Brain Architecture:

ZERO TO THREE video about Nurturing Healthy Brain Development:

Sarah MacLaughlin is a writer, social worker, and child development nerd. She helps parents (and others who interact with children) show up authentically and model great communication skills and emotional intelligence. Because it’s the good news AND the bad news that the kids are always watching us. Sarah is author of the award-winning, bestselling book, What Not to Say: Tools for Talking with Young Children, and is currently writing her second book, Raising Humans With Heart: Not a How-To Manual. She lives in Windham with her husband and tweenaged son who gives her plenty of opportunities to take her own advice. Learn more about her work at www.sarahmaclaughlin.com.