Be Supportive: It Helps Your Child’s Brain Develop
How much you nurture baby could affect his brain development. According to a new study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Arts and Sciences, parental support during early childhood is important for a kid’s mental health. Researchers analyzed 92 children from when they were in preschool to grade-school. They videotaped mother and child groups as they completed an experiment where the kids (who were between four and seven years old) were given a gift, but told that had to wait eight minutes until they could open it. The moms were asked to fill out forms. It simulated a real-life situation where moms are trying to multitask -- like doing chores while supervising their children. The researchers scored the mothers on how they helped their child deal with the stress and frustration of not being able to open the gift; moms who did it well were calming, reassuring and supportive. When the kids were between the ages seven and 13 years old, they had MRI’s taken. The researchers observed each child’s hippocampus, a part of the brain that deals with memory and stress.
The study found that 51 kids who had no symptoms of depression as preschoolers and got more support from their moms had larger hippocampi, which means they were less likely to have deep-seated stress. Non-depressed kids who had little help from their mothers had 9% smaller hippocampi. But it’s interesting to note that of the 41 kids who were depressed, support from their mothers did not actually help. Of the group of depressed kids with highly-supportive mothers, they had 6% smaller hippocampi than non-depressed kids with helpful mothers. An explanation may be that the negative effects of depression outweigh the positive effects of maternal support -- but experts still believe that maternal support is still beneficial to them.
Plus, more from The Bump:
Baby Milestones: Is Your Kid on Track?
How Can I Help Baby Learn to Speak?
Baby Doctor's Visit Checklist
See More: Baby Basics , Mommy Life , Parenting Styles
recently added questions