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There is a critical time period between 1 and 3 years, when your baby’s brain is growing and developing. They are soaking in all the feels and emotions with their parents and primary caregivers, developing language skills, learning important lessons and so much more. The brain is undergoing massive transformation and development, and there are ways you can nourish and encourage this important growth period.
Here are 5 ways you can help cultivate and nourish your toddler’s brain development during this crucial time:
First, Nutrition Is Key:
I know for me, with an 18-month old, I am trying to wean him from nursing. It is common to wean babies at some point from 1-3 years (though totally fine if you don’t!). 85% of brain growth happens in the first three years of life, it is important to ensure the toddler is getting important DHA to help nourish this brain growth. DHA is an important building block of the growing brain. Experts recommend that toddlers have 70-100 mg/day of DHA to support early brain and eye development. On average, a toddler’s diet only provides 25% of the recommended amount of DHA, leaving a nutrition gap. (The main source for DHA is fish and most toddlers do not like to eat fish. Toddler favorites like cereal, cheese, bananas, regular milk, chicken nuggets, mac & cheese, carrot sticks and fruit puree all have 0 mg of DHA.) Enfagrow® Toddler Next Step™ has DHA to help bridge this gap. Enfagrow is a milk-based toddler drink tailored for toddlers 1-3 years that has DHA and complements their diet to help ensure good nutrition for their changing needs and tastes.
You can grab a free sample to give it a try, and help make sure your little one is getting DHA in their nutrition! I personally am a fan of nutritional milk drinks to support development like this. I believe in the reality of how difficult life is, picky eaters and more, so allowing some products to help ensure my baby is fully nourished properly is a no-brainer!
2nd, Music for The Mind:
Music is a super simple, important way to really nourish your toddler’s brain development. When they are young, it enhances their ability to decode different sounds and words, which is essential for language development. Nursery rhymes, with simple words help toddlers to learn to say words by mimicking how you sing the songs. For example, my little guy loves the song, “We Will Rock You,” by Queen because his brothers do. He says, “Rock You!” “Rock You!” and sings randomly, “We, weee, weee, we…” It is AMAZING how much music helps their development. He also loves his piano, both for climbing and playing. He likes to sing and play the keys for me.
3rd, Dancing & Movement:
Along with music, dancing helps toddlers learn to respond to music through dance, which encourages their cognitive development. According to Dance To Evolve, “At a young age, children understand that movement can be used as a response to an idea or problem. This creates a cognitive link to a solution or outcome. This type of cognitive development creates an awareness of how to function in the world.” Children are naturally learning and exploring through movement at this age, so it is super important to cultivate and encourage this! Feeling, touching, moving, climbing. It is all a part of the major brain development happening! My little one likes for me to hold him and dance, so I really encourage him to dance on his own with me!
4th, Imaginary Play:
This is key, and probably obvious, but playing is so very important for little ones and their brains. The kind of play that really promotes their development is acting out daily, adult-like activities. For example, my little one loves to help me sweep, vacuum, put dishes away, pretend to cook and more. All of these activities are teaching him a lot about the world and helping him process what is going on around him. I also let him help and “feed” the dog or give the dog water too. He loves to do big-boy activities because his mind is so eager to learn!
5th, Reading Books:
Reading is an amazing way to foster brain development. I prefer flip books and sensory books at this age. They learn words along with being able to flip open and see something unexpected. The extra entertainment factor keeps them still for longer. At this age, it can be hard for them to sit and listen to a story, so the interactive ones are best. They learn to connect words with fun surprises and feelings. Just what their brain is craving!!
Cultivating and nourishing your toddler’s brain during this time is CRUCIAL!! My 1-year-old is my third baby, so I’ve discovered my favorite ways to encourage brain development over the years, but I wasn’t always aware of how important this time period is, and that I could HELP. I thought things would just happen naturally. Proper nutrition is the foundation to development. Enfagrow Toddler is a great helper and peace of mind for me knowing that my little one is getting DHA and other important nutrients.
Visit Enfamil.com to learn more and request a free sample.
This is sponsored by Enfagrow® Toddler Next Step™.