The Child’s brain development: 24 to 36 months
At this age, the number of synaptic connections that together make up your child’s neural network are at their peak. The child’s brain at this age is twice as active as an adult brain, and will remain in this active state till the time they reach puberty. From this age onwards, the brain will not involve growing new neural connections as much as it would work on pruning the ones that already exist. The pruning happens naturally and the connections that aren’t used start to wither away. The brain continues to mature and it strengths the remaining connections.
The way a child’s brain develops is largely shaped by their experiences. It is also equally important to provide nutritional support for the growing brain. Every thought and movement from the child exercises and strengths the associated neuronal connections. For example, whenever they walk or run or jump, the synapses involved in balance are bolstered. Which is why, the more they practice these actions, the better they become at keeping their balance. Here is a glance at ways in which the child’s brain is supporting advancement in all areas
Parents of 2-year-old kids often get baffled that their children’s thinking seems quite immature in some areas and yet very sophisticated in others. The inconsistencies can’t be imagined and the brain does not develop in a uniform way. Some effects are more apparent at this age.
By the time your child reached their second year, the regions of the brain that are associated with memory, reasoning and planning are still less mature whereas the language and motor skills have undergone myelination, a process that coats the nerve endings with a fatty substance which speeds up the transmission of nerve impulses. This allows for more complex cognitive functions and it occurs in different regions of the brain at different times. Most of the process of myelination is completed during the first two years of one’s life, but it continues through childhood and sometimes even into adulthood for regions of the brain associated with more complex and abstract thoughts. While your child’s vocabulary explodes with new words and they are quick to scamper with stairs and rocks, they still can’t anticipate that taking a toy away from a dog can cause the animal to bark or even bite.
At this age, children will also develop a concept of explicit memory or conscious memory, which enables them to contrast the present with the past and future. They will begin to start talking about past and future events and tie memories to specific people and places
After their second birthday, your child will start improving their motor capabilities in various way. Mastering small muscle skills like tying their shoes and cutting their food to larger muscle skills like throwing a ball and climbing a structure in the playground. Developments in the pre frontal cortex improve the child’s understanding of spatial relationships, and allow for better hand eye coordination and cause effect analysis. When your child is stacking blocks and fitting shapes together, they’re learning more than what just goes there. In the same way, when they catch a ball, they learn about cause and effect, they use the sophisticated spatial perceptions
At this age, your child would want to know the names of everything around them. This vocabulary building process strengthens synaptic connections in their frontal lobes, the portion primarily responsible for memory. By this age, they may know as much as 250 words, but might not use them in day to day conversations. As the language part of the brain becomes integrated, they begin to string together longer and more complex sentences.
Due to the rapid myelination of nerves in the auditory cortex during this age, the child auditory skills keep pace with their verbal skills. “I”, “Me” and “Mine” are three words that you are you hear often. This is because the child is very excited by their new found awareness of the distinction between themselves and others.
Though words start coming more easily to your child now but they are far less articulate when it comes to emotional expressions. The terrible 2’s get their bad rapport because of the profound frustration that they feel and act out – the sophistication of their thoughts and feelings outpace their ability to communicate them to others. Gradually, the limbic system (the seat of emotion and impulse) and he prefrontal cortex (planning and self-control) will start working together in an integrated way, allowing for more successful social interactions.