Yesterday I had a fascinating insight into the science behind “brain architecture”.
Did you know that our brains are built throughout childhood? Every experience positive or negative becomes part of the “brain architecture” Just like a house it’s vital to have good, solid foundations. Good foundations are built through nurturing and what scientists call “serve-and-return” interactions. Children who don’t receive enough of these, might not develop the solid brain foundations which they need to prepare them for a happy and successful life both physically & mentally.
“Serve-and-return” works just like tennis, if a child serves you a smile, you return them a smile, if they talk, you respond, etc etc. Turns out doing these simple actions consistently with your child from baby through to their teens could be one of the most important things you can do. It will help them to build positive foundations for their brain. Ages 4-7 are particularly important times for building the child’s executive function which helps form self regulation and resilience.
Too much time on tech can mean we miss out on these serve-and-return interactions, over time too many missed opportunities can add up to a negative impact on brain development. Similarly for children spending too much time on tech and devices means they are less likely to “serve”, which in turn limits the number of child-adult interactions they experience during crucial periods of development.
Technology is here to stay, so it’s important to work out rules & boundaries around it and keep it healthy and balanced as best you can. For healthy brain development: children need plenty of sleep, play, time for family meals and activities, time for homework, and, most importantly, time for lots of serve-and-return interactions throughout their day.
For more info head to Alberta Family Wellness website. Here’s one of their videos on serve-and-return https://bit.ly/2Ubw3lu