The effects of Stress on Brain Development

The effects of stress on the developing brain is something that has been highly researched and more evidence comes to light each day.

Here’s what we know about the effects of stress on our babies and children.

Some stresses are GOOD

The brain needs a certain level of stress in order to healthily develop, and some stresses are better than others. We experience the stress of meeting new people, of tests, of going somewhere new for the first time, these types of stress are good for our brains and help us to prepare our brains for future life. We absolutely cannot protect our babies and children from all stresses in life, but we can protect them or support them I dealing with bad stresses.

Bad Stress

Bad stresses can also be described as toxic stresses. Toxic stresses include neglect, emotional abuse, physical abuse and these can cause the brain to become stunted in its development. Bad stress can also cause health problems, addiction and mental health problems in future life.

In order to prepare or help to support our children’s brains effectively, we must expose them to ‘good stresses,’ whilst protecting them from bad stresses that can negatively impact development.

Executive Function and Self Regulation

The brain can be likened to a busy watch tower, the air traffic control has to prevent collisions and the brain has the same job. Children need to be able to self regulate, that is to calm, themselves down, to manage their emotions, to know and understand the tools and techniques they need to use to calm themselves. However it is simply not enough in a moment of anger and rage to tell a child to, ‘calm down.’ Instead as parents and caregivers, we must talk through and teach the strategies used to effectively ‘calm down.’ We simply cannot expect our children to know how to do this without being taught.

Children cannot build their brain on their own, they need support and this comes in all shapes and sizes. From caregivers, from parents, from family members, from strong societies and communities. It is our mission at Beautiful New Beginnings to create Generations of Holistically well children and to do this we must support our parents in their own education, knowledge and understanding of child development. We as a community will not see generations of holistically well children develop if our understanding of brain development does not reach our parents. When children’s healthy brain development is promoted and championed, when we gain greater understanding of how to build a healthy brain we will effectively build a brighter future for us all.

If you would like support in building a secure attachment and healthy baby brain in a welcoming, friendly and play based space, join our group – online classes for little ones.

We cant wait to meet you.


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