Responsive and attentive child-adult relationships with many back-and-forth interactions build a strong foundation in a child's brain. The Harvard Center on the Developing Child defines five easy steps to practice serve-and-return with babies.
Babies’ brains are not little sponges waiting for someone to pour information into them. They are built during the earliest years through very specific kinds of interactions.
Babies are born ready to learn. At birth, the brain contains about 100 billion neurons that are connected by synapses carrying electrochemical signals in response to stimuli from the world around us. During the earliest years, those synapses are firing at an astonishing rate, and they become the neural foundation upon which everything else is built.
The more we learn about early childhood development, the more we realize the truth behind Lincoln’s words. We now know that brain architecture is profoundly affected by our earliest experiences and interactions, and mothers and fathers are a child’s first and most influential relationships.