THE BLOG
09/16/2014 05:18 pm ET Updated Nov 16, 2014

Your Baby's Brain, Part 4: Parents Are the True Gene Therapists

This is the fourth part in a four-part blog series.
Read Your Baby's Brain, Part 1: Nurture is as Important as Nature
Read Your Baby's Brain, Part 2: Environmental Influences
Read Your Baby's Brain, Part 3: Windows of Opportunity

With each day, your child moves toward his or her potential one experience at a time. Early childhood experiences assert an intense and specific effect on your child's brain, which will determine how the neural-connections will be created.

Your baby is born with approximately 100 billion brain cells, which sounds like a lot but is not nearly enough, as your baby's neural-connections will increase to more than 1,000 trillion during the first three years of life. Because there aren't enough brain cells at birth to designate how those connections are formed, it is your baby's experiences that make the determination. Stimulation enhances connections and pruning discards what is not being used. As a result, either the environment will spontaneously alter your baby's brain architecture -- or you will.

It is important to know that stimulating your baby's brain doesn't necessarily require teachers' lessons or flash cards. Here are some simple yet truly effective ways you can help stimulate your baby's brain each day, and help guide his/her development:
• Provide objects for your baby to observe and manipulate in a safe environment, such as playing with blocks, large beads, and balls.
• Play baroque music in the background throughout the day and in the car.
• Consistently offer your baby bonding experiences, such as reading a book together
• Cuddle with your baby.
• Talk with your baby regularly so he/she hears and becomes familiar with your voice as a source of comfort.

The choice for how your baby will grow and who your baby will be, is really up to you. As discussed over this four-part blog series, nurture is as important as nature. The important lesson is this: in my experience, parents are the true gene therapists. Remember this, and help your child develop accordingly.