Afternoons are the most precious time for parents to spend time with kids. Even if parents are working it is helpful for kids and parents to develop a habit of sharing the day’s events. Just talking regularly each day and providing the child the opportunity to recollect and share the day’s events has a profound positive impact on the child’s brain development.
Talk with your child when they first come out of school. Getting into the habit of reflecting on a day’s activity, accomplishments, relationships, feelings, and organizing tasks relating to the day, is healthy. It also helps the parent stay involved in the child’s life and provide guidance as needed.
Even when a parent calls the child from work via their smart watch the important part is for the child to know that the parent really cares about the child. Often just being able to share the impressions will help the child unwind. Martha Farah, Director of the Center for Neuroscience and Society at the University of Pennsylvania, followed the development of normal children to determine whether cognitive stimulation had any effect on the human brain development. Her 20 years-long study included taking brain scans on a regular basis. She found that cognitive stimulation from parents at the age of four turned out to be the key factor in predicting the development of several parts of the cortex as far out as 15 years later. The transcript of the study also stated:
“A further analysis revealed that early cognitive stimulation has a stronger effect on frontal lobe cortical thickness in female subjects (p < 0.0069) than in males (p < 0.5000) and that the temporal lobe regions are related to verbal comprehension as measured near the time of imaging. This is one of the few studies to confirm the effect of normal variability in the home on neuroanatomy.”
Parent child interaction and communication has a profound impact on your child’s health, both emotionally and physically. In the same article by The Guardian we learned this:
“Andrea Danese, a clinical lecturer in child and adolescent psychiatry at the Institute of Psychiatry, King's College London, said the study suggested that the experience of a nurturing home environment could have an effect on brain development regardless of familial, perhaps genetic, predispositions to better brains. Danese added that this kind of research highlighted the "tremendous role" that parents and carers had to play in enabling children to develop their cognitive, social, and emotional skills by providing safe, predictable, stimulating, and responsive personal interactions with children."
The study showed why parental interaction with children is so important. Naturally you want to provide the children with toys, books and games that provide them with an opportunity to learn colors, concepts, physical agility, give them strength, and the chance to forge long lasting friendships. The core to a healthy child relationship may be the 15 minute or half hour you spend talking with them each day when they first get out of school or get home an again when they get home from their sports activities or play dates. Allowing them to verbalize their experiences, think about them, discussing and most of all – sharing them with a caring adult – literally improves their brains and their ability to cope with life in a healthy way. It is fun for you as a parent as well.