Over the past 20 years, science has started to tell us a lot more about what my brain needs to grow. This can really help you to understand my behaviour and help me to grow up safe and healthy.
Up to the age of three, my brain will make connections faster than it ever will again. This doesn’t happen by accident! What I experience and learn creates the connections in my brain. Whether it’s love, fear, joy or sadness – these early experiences will have effects that last for the rest of my life.
Child and adult brains are more similar than you might think. We all need to connect with other human beings to help us make sense of the world.
The main difference is that adults have more experience to control their feelings and manage stress. Children can find this very difficult. We need to be helped to handle our feelings – just as we need to learn to read or write.
We all need someone sometime. Who do you turn to when you are stressed? A family member? A friend? Someone in your community? Perhaps a doctor or nurse? Think about when people have helped you. How did they calm or soothe you – what did they say or do?
Thinking about this can remind you what I need from you: love, reassurance, someone to talk to.
But remember, children may not be able to tell you what they need as clearly as you can – especially while they are trying to handle powerful emotions such as anger, sadness, guilt or grief.