“Motherhood: All love begins and ends there.” —Robert Browning
We’re feeling a bit sentimental this week, what with Mother’s day coming up next month. But let’s forget about the cards and the chocolates, and examine what the love and attention of a mother, father or caregiver can truly do for a child.
What is the role of a parent or guardian in the early development of a child? What role can they play in stimulating, encouraging and helping their child learn, and what are the benefits later in life? Observational studies have shown that children raised in a nurturing environment typically do better in school and are more emotionally developed than their non-nurtured peers. Recent use of brain imaging technology has now given us the scientific reasons behind this.
In a pediatric study, it was proven through brain scans that children raised in a nurturing environment had a hippocampus 10 percent larger than children whose mothers or caregivers were not as nurturing. The hippocampus is the site in the brain that regulates stress and where consolidation of information and transfer from short-term memory to long-term memory takes place, and a bigger size indicates better performance in these key areas. It is no great leap to realise that these are vital processes that can only benefit children in the school environment. Indeed, another study has shown that children raised in a supportive home environment did better on standardised tests when older, and were more likely than their peers to attain a higher educational degree.
Through research and modern medicine we can now place a specific numerical value on the benefits of a mother’s love, and the impact that it can have on a child’s brain development and subsequently their education and future. Luckily children don’t really care about the theory – all they need to know is that Mom’s love solves everything.
We will be celebrating our #XanderMoms during the month of May, so dig out the family albums and get a bit nostalgic with us.