(Yes, I have been thinking about writing this post since Noah got close to age 2, and he is now 2 1/2. Better late than never, I suppose.)
I used to hear information and statistics about a child's brain development during the first three years of life, and think "hmm, that is pretty amazing." Or maybe even be a little skeptical. 80% of a child's brain is formed by age 3--the size and structure, but also the pathways and things they have learned. It sounds like a lot, because it is a lot. I recently read that a toddler's brain works 3 times faster than a college students'. (Living with a toddler, I believe that is true and see it every day. Sorry, college students.)
Then I worked at a preschool and began thinking, "oh my goodness, this really is true." And not just because of the sheer volume of "educational" things kids learn--first of all the whole talking and walking thing and then the rate that they soak up everything else that is set in front of them. I could already see in 3 and 4 year olds if they had been shown and taught respect and manners, how they handled conflict, what they had been told about themselves and what was important in life.
Then I had my own child who is currently in this stage of life and I think about it every single day. A lot. The best way I have heard it described is that a child's brain is forming these "pathways" the quickest and most efficiently during this time, and the things that are shown and taught to them the most form the deepest pathways. So when they get older, those paths that are deepest are the ones their minds will automatically take first.
What pathways are being formed the deepest in my sweet boy's mind? What am I forming there, intentionally or unintentionally? Is there really anything more important that I will ever do?
So I am looking for input here. What are the most important things you taught your children during those first three years? How did you go about it? What do you wish parents today were doing a better job at teaching their kids? Mommies at the same place as I am, what do you think? Any comments, anybody?
(I promise I will be all blogg-y and share some things I attempt if you share yours. ;)