It’s no doubt that those toddler years can be down right, make you wanna pull your hair out frustrating! When a child throws a tantrum we often feel confused, embarrassed, frustrated and fed up, thinking or sometimes even saying, “what on earth is the matter?” and “this is just ridiculous! I can’t deal with this right now!”. Every parent has had those moments, these thoughts and feelings are totally ok and normal. What can help in these intense moments is to first off have an understanding of what your toddler is going through physiologically, biologically and neurologically. This knowledge can arm you with better ways of handling these outbursts.
Most parents have a basic understanding of the different developmental stages their child is going through i.e. sitting up, crawling, walking, teething etc. But many people are unaware of what is going on neurologically during these first few years that allows these major milestones in development to occur.
From the early embryonic stage until around 2 years of age new neurons and synapses are being formed at an astonishing rate ( i.e. 40,000 synapses formed per second). That’s a lot of synapses! This ultimately leaves the child with many more neurons and synapses than are actually needed which causes the brain to begin Synaptic Pruning. In synaptic pruning the extra synapses are eliminated allowing for more efficiency in the neural network. Meaning that once those extra synapses or “roadblocks” are pruned the child can move on to the next milestone in development.
This process starts around 2 years of age and lasts until the child is about 10 years old. The imperative piece in understanding these neurological changes is the knowledge that as a parent you can impact this process. A child’s synapses are either strengthened or pruned based on what their sensory, motor, emotional and intellectual experiences are. Therefore, as a parent if you are continually reinforcing positive, challenging, supportive and loving experiences at home then those synapses will be strengthened and preserved during the pruning process. Just as optimism and positive thinking has been shown to reduce stress, improve health and create peace of mind for yourself, this same positive attitude can influence your child’s growth and development. In the video below Dr. Masaru Emoto, a researcher and alternative healer, demonstrates the power of positive and negative thinking on rice granules and points out how this can affect children…
Now that you are armed with this knowledge be mindful of your interactions with your children and remember that as their parent you have the power to guide them into being happy, healthy, loving humans.