Life with twins is crazy. It is also completely amazing, challenging, hilarious, and by far the hardest job I’ve ever had! I’m sitting here listening to the girls chatter each other to sleep… wait, strike that, now they are both wailing. Such is the way with twin 2-year-olds. If I had a dime for every time someone said, “I always wanted to have twins!” I’d be a rich woman. Far fewer people have actually offered to babysit.
These programs do come with a price tag – which is why local, state and federal governments, as well as private donors and foundations, help fund them. According to Fight Crime Invest in Kids, every $1 spent on research-based home visiting programs like Healthy Start and the Nurse-Family Partnership generates a return between $4 and $6. Children come to school ready to learn, have fewer health and social needs, grow up to commit fewer crimes and create a return on the investment as healthy, productive adults. These programs reduce child abuse rates, improve parenting skills, increase the time parents spend reading to their child, and help families access medical care. Better yet, they protect children from abuse. This not only saves money, it can save lives. And ultimately, that what is most important, no matter how much it costs.
At the University of Oregon’s Brain Development Laboratory, we study attention in children as young as 3 by measuring the brain’s response to sounds as we ask children to shift their “spotlight” of attention from one side to the other. Shifting this spotlight of attention markedly changes the brain’s response to events in the environment – the brain produces a response to an attended stimulus that is twice as large as the response when it is unattended, and this boost occurs within 1/10 of a second! The ability to focus attention is critical in lifelong learning. We have shown that this enhanced brain response is not present in some young children who are at-risk for academic problems.
A baby’s first words are exciting for everyone. When will it happen? What will your baby say? Here are some language milestones to track your child’s progress.
Unlike some other animals, the brain of a human infant is very immature and isn’t fully adult-like until 25 years after birth. This long period of development means there is a lot of time for children’s experiences to shape their brains, and this is exactly what research has found: In fact, we now know that the architecture of the brain is dependent on the experiences children have. This is called “neuroplasticity,” which refers to how “plastic” or changeable by experience the brain is.
All parents have to manage their children’s behavior, and setting limits is a particular challenge. Parents may find themselves spending much of their day saying “no” to their kids. Sometimes it’s about safety, such as saying “no” to a toddler who is about to walk out into the street. Other times it’s in response to difficult behavior, such as biting or hitting. Sometimes hearing “no” can result in an angry child who may have an emotional meltdown in response. This is stressful for both parent and child.
How much and how well our children learn throughout life is determined largely by the variety of beneficial experiences in which they participate in their first few years of life.
Vision impairment, even small irregularities, can have a profound impact on development. Early diagnosis and prevention are the best approach to infant vision and eye health care because most conditions respond best to early treatment, before additional complications arise.