Brain Development

Your Child's Brain 

Your child's brain begins to grow in pregnancy and continues into early adulthood.  Different parts of the brain grow at different ages. The most critical time of growth is the first 2000 days of your child's life.  During this time, the brain makes 1 million new brain connections every second!  A child's genes, their environment and experiences all work together to make these connections and build healthy brains. There are ways that you can help support the growth of a healthy brain, by:

  • Building a secure and trusting relationship.  What does this mean? It's like playing a "serve and return" game like tennis. If your baby babbles or is upset, respond in a positive comforting way by holding them and giving them a hug or kiss.
  • Supporting your child's senses by allowing them to explore new sounds, foods and toys.
  • Playing with your child, this is a powerful activity. It encourages exploration, teaches communication and problem solving. 
  • Responding and supporting your child during stressful situations. Protecting them from all stress is not possible and some stress is a normal part of child development. It can help build resiliency and self-regulation.
  • Too much ongoing stress can affect a child's health especially when an adult close to them does not respond in a caring way.  

Creating a nurturing environment is important. Allow them to have positive experiences in their life. This will set the stage for a healthy start in all parts of their life. Remember it is never too late!

To find more parenting information, please visit:

Do you have more questions about parenting?

  • Connect with a registered nurse from Health811 for free, secure, and confidential health advice. Service is available 24/7 in English and French, with translation support also offered in other languages. Call 8-1-1 or visit Health811.ontario.ca.
  • Connect with a Community Navigator from 2-1-1 for information about community programs and resources across Eastern Ontario. Helpline service is available 24/7 and in many different languages. Call 2-1-1 or visit 211ontario.ca.
  • Connect with other parents on the Parenting in Ottawa Facebook page.
  • There are a variety of services to make it easier for your child to grow up healthy in Ottawa.
  • You can update your child's immunization record using either the CANImmunize App or the Immunization Connect Ontario (ICON) Tool
  • If you have received a message from Ottawa Public Health such as a letter or a call regarding immunization, an infectious disease, or infection control lapse, please call 613-580-6744 and listen to the menu options carefully.

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