Sometimes, during the mundaneness of everyday activities like cooking, I narrate what I am doing in detail, I say, “I’m chopping carrots” or “This is a carrot.”

I’m not talking to myself or teaching a cooking class, I am interacting with my 17-month-old child. While he’s too young to be much help in the kitchen, interactive conversations are a great way to develop his young mind.

The most important stage for brain development is the first 6 years of a child’s life, especially in the first 1000 days of life, which starts at conception. In these first few years of life, 1 million new neural connections are being formed every second. By the age of 2, a child’s brain has two times the number of neural connections it will have in adulthood. The early life experiences of children shape and determine the architecture of their developing brains – Laying the foundations for lifelong health, learning, self-control and relationship building – skills that allow children to thrive.

The early life experiences a child has with his/her caregivers are crucial to this early brain development. Positive interactions and back and forth communication between caregiver and child lead to the laying down of critical neurological pathways and lifelong foundations.

Ahead of Mother’s Day this year, we’ve asked some well-known South Africans to share some of the most meaningful and memorable Mom and Grandmom memories from their childhood years. The responses we received differed greatly – some sentimental, some peppered with humour. What they all have in common is proving that it is the simple, loving connections in early childhood that matter most.

 

About the Author

Nadanababalwa Hermanus joined Innovation Edge in April 2018, bringing journalistic roots and a passion to the organization’s work of investing in young lives. A newswoman at heart, Hermanus sees storytelling as the binding thread in her career. She is responsible for supporting the development and implementation of marketing and communications plans that contribute to achieving Innovation Edge’s strategic goals. She is also responsible for executing the following communication efforts: social media, web maintenance, and events organization. Her professional experience includes working in Broadcast Media, working with start-ups and non-profits. She holds a National Diploma in Journalism from Nelson Mandela University.