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First Year

Revised: August 28, 2014

Brain Development

The first six years of life are the most important for healthy brain development. As children grow and experience new things, connections are made between brain cells. 

Early Brain Development

Did you know?

  • As a parent or caregiver you can have a positive influence on the brain development of your baby.
    Your baby will benefit when you and her other caregivers know how to support healthy brain development.

  • The first six years of life are the most important for healthy brain development.
    Brain development begins at conception and continues into young adulthood. However, most of your child’s brain development will occur during the early years.

  • Brain development begins during pregnancy.
    Your health before, during and after pregnancy is very important for your baby’s development. Healthy nutrition, avoiding alcohol and other drugs and having regular prenatal and postnatal check ups are some of the things you can do to keep yourself healthy and give your child the best start in life.

  • Babies are born with over 100 billion brain cells.
    As your baby grows and experiences new things, connections are made between these brain cells. Brain cells help control basic functions like breathing as well as more difficult skills such as solving a puzzle or learning the alphabet. By about age three, most of these brain cell connections have been made.

  • Connections are made when your baby has new experiences that involve all of her senses (sight, hearing, taste, smell, touch).
    For brain cells to work, they must be connected to each other. Cuddling, talking, smiling, and providing a variety of new sights, smells and tastes, help create these important brain connections. The more these experiences are repeated, the stronger the connections become. Find out what your child needs for the best connections to be made in their brain.

  • Childhood abuse and neglect can slow brain development.
    Just as positive early experiences help your baby’s brain grow and develop, negative experiences can lead to serious emotional, behavioural, and learning problems.

  • The care your baby receives from others is equally important for healthy brain development.
    Anyone who cares for your baby or young child - family members, friends, child care providers - will have an influence on your child’s life. To help you choose child care that best suits your family’s needs, please visit Child Development Resource Connection Peel.

Development Milestones

Developmental Milestones give you an idea of what things your child may learn at different ages. As a parent or caregiver, it’s important to remember that every child is unique. Although children grow and develop at different rates, there are common developmental milestones that parents and caregivers should watch for in their young children.

If you have any concerns about your child’s development or well being, please speak to your family doctor or call Peel Public Health at 905-799-7700 to speak with a Public Health Nurse.

For more information about your baby’s brain development take a look at the following:

Learn how your baby’s brain develops
Learn how you can support your baby’s brain development
Learn the importance of healthy brain development

Community Agencies in Peel

Child Development Resource Connection Peel (CDRCP)
Region of Peel Children’s Services (Child Care Services)
Region of Peel Healthy Babies Healthy Children Program
Peel Early Years Centres and Programs
Peel Children’s Centre
Success By 6 Peel

Region of Peel - Public Health
Monday to Friday 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
to speak with a Public Health Nurse

Caledon residents call free of charge at 905-584-2216

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Revised: Thursday August 28 2014


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