Q: Good evening, Please Doc I read that ninety percent of a child brain growth takes place by the time he is five years old, Does it mean that anything given to a child above five years will not help develop the child’s brain anymore or just ten percent?
A: Hi dear, thanks for writing in.
A baby’s brain starts developing in pregnancy and continues after birth as a result of interactions around them. This is why it’s important to ensure that babies get the right nutrition and stimulation from when they are born all the way to adulthood.
So are you correct in your assertions? The baby’s brain develops very rapidly in the first 3 to 5 years of life and the entire structure and building blocks are present by the time the child is 9 years old. Some studies show that the size of the brain does not alter much between 5 and 20 years, but the connections between developed parts continues. Getting different areas of the brain to be functionally connected happens over a period of time, and may continue up till 30 years of age.
So, to your question, even though the baby’s brain may not develop beyond the 5th year, vital connections are happening which enable a human being act as one complex being with parts that work together even if they have different functions.
So, what can you do to encourage brain development?
- Feed your child well. Breastmilk has all the nutrients that babies need until they are about 6 months old. 6 months, introduce other nutrients like fibre, vitamins and minerals that are found in foods like fruits, vegetables, grains, dairy and meat to ensure baby is developing well
- Mother should stay off alcohol when pregnant and also teach child to stay off too as he grows
- Talk to your children, starting from when they are in the womb and after they are born. Talk to and with them. Explain things and try to understand and acknowledge their thoughts and feelings
- Provide a safe environment
- Believe in them and encourage them
- Reward them but also provide clear boundaries. They need to know what lines they cannot cross
I hope this helps.
Have a great evening J