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Session notes for Early brain development Stages: 7 to 12 months

A strong, loving relationship between baby and parents is a very powerful factor for building a healthy brain and setting baby up for healthy development throughout life.

Understanding parents’ influence on baby’s brain

Advances in brain scanning technology have given neuroscientists better access to the human brain, increasing their knowledge of how it grows and develops.

Helping parents and whānau understand how much influence they have on their baby’s brain development is very important. Parents are responsible for building their baby’s brain — and they don’t need to be a scientist to do it.

Find out from whānau what they might already know about early brain development, and help fill in any gaps or clarify information for them.

Ask the whānau:

  • Where do you think parents can find out about a babies’ brain development?
  • What do you do that might influence your baby’s brain growth?

Share some facts about babies’ brain development with parents and ask them what that those facts could mean for them, as shown in the following examples:

Babies’ brains develop through nature and nurture.

  • Do you understand what that means?

Most brain development happens after birth.

  • What does that mean for parents?
  • What can you do to help baby’s brain grow?

A secure attachment relationship is a very powerful factor for healthy brain growth.

  • What helps to build a secure attachment?
  • What can you do to build a secure attachment with baby?

Strong connections tend to become lasting, and connections that are not used often may fade away.

  • How do you think connections are made strong?
  • What can you do to help make baby’s brain connections strong?

High levels of the stress hormone cortisol can be harmful to babies’ brain development.

  • What sort of things might cause baby to become stressed?
  • What can you do to help calm baby when they’re stressed? 

How does this topic relate to the SKIP resources?

Baby Wall Frieze – Tāruatia taku reo - copy my sounds 

Six things children need - Te kōrero me te whakarongo - talking and listening 

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