Parents can often read and react to their child’s emotional states. Parents often understand a baby’s cry or laugh as illness, fear, hunger, or more. A study reported on ABC news in 2005, shared that Allan Schore, a leading neuroscientist at the University of California, Los Angeles’ Center for Culture, Brain, and Development pointed out that the connection between parent and child during the first year of life affects a child’s psychological state and plays a role in physically shaping the brain. His own research concluded that the parent-child interaction plays a key role in shaping the right side of the infant’s brain.
The right side of the brain is stimulated when interacting with others, especially care-givers. When a care-giver interacts with an infant, the child’s brain is being affected, shaping emotional responses. This interaction appears to help the child’s ability to handle stress and feel emotionally secure.
Shore also shares that the child’s brain is not only shaped by ‘genetics but also the experience of the last trimester of pregnancy through the child’s first year and a half of life’. At 7 months in utero, the ear’s neurological system is developed, supporting the stimulation both to the left hemisphere of the brain, important for speech and language development, and the right hemisphere of the brain, important for this emotional connection. The child’s brain will be shaped by these early stimulations and personal attachments.
As the parent, you do not need to wait until your child is born to talk, sing or interact with them. Start interacting while you are pregnant. Singing lays the underlying tonal and rhythm patterns of the world, but talking provides the smaller, subtler sound changes that can also support your child’s emotional well-being. Have fun with your baby. Chat, talk, sing and interact with them. Enjoy the experience!