A Child’s Brain and Their First Friendship

by Debbie Twomey on November 7, 2013



If an infant becomes imprinted (with 80% of the neuro synapses connecting within the first 1000 days—how does this affect friendships forged then? My granddaughter has been friends with Joshua since she was 2 weeks old and now he is moving 1500 miles away.This is her first friendship so I am wondering how it will affect her.

Brain development-The experiences young children receive in the first 3 years of life are crucial to brain development. As your child receives loving care and stimulation, neural connections are formed between his brain cells. These connections form the wiring system of the brain. Your child’s early experiences largely determine the strength and function of her brain’s wiring system. Warm responsive parents, who cuddle and talk to their children and provide challenging learning experiences, promote brain development f or their children. http://www.scfirststeps.org/braindev.htm

I researched the age children develop bonds and it varies but most agree around 3. Well, I can say that McKenna is one of the exceptions. It is not that she is not excited to see all kids—she is very social.  And she has certain close ties with a couple adults that seem to mean the world to her.

 Her relationship with Joshua is different. She will cry if he is in trouble, so I know she already understands empathy.  He is the first person she asks about when she wakes and most of the time the last one she mentions before sleep.

Because Joshie lives right next door she will often sit in the window waiting to see when he comes out his door. There is no mistaking when Josh is finally sighted; she is ecstatic and jumping up and down for joy. They have spent the major part of the last 2 years having playdates and usually see one another every day.  They have actually grown up more like brother and sister.

I know children are very resilient. I understand she will adjust to not seeing him every day but she has already had a major change in her life when she was put into my custody at age 8 months. I try very hard to keep things structured, consistent and nurturing so she does not experience any of the turmoil her mother did prior to my adopting her. I know the serious and devastating affects such incidents had on my daughter’s emotional growth.

Facts about Brain Development and How Children Learn

·         Brain development begins soon after conception.

·         At birth, a child has 100 billion brain cells (neurons) and 50 trillion connections (synapses).

·         Early childhood experiences exert a dramatic impact and physically determine how the brain is "wired."

·         In the first months of life, the number of synapses increases 20 times to more than 1,000 trillion synapses.

·         Early sensory experiences create new synapses and repetition of experiences strengthens them.

·         Growth continues and a single neuron can connect with as many as 15,000 other neurons. 

·         A three year old child has twice as many connections as an adult.

·         The number of connections could easily go up or down by 25 percent or more, depending upon whether a child grows up in an enriched environment.

·         Some researchers believe "the number of words an infant hears each day is the single most important predictor of later intelligence, school success, and social competence."

·         Those synapses that aren't used wither away in a process called pruning.

·         By the time a child is 5 years old, 90% of brain connections will be made. There will never be a time in their lives when the experiences they have will be of greater                importance.

·         At about age 10, the brain begins to dramatically prune extra connections and make order of the tangled circuitry of the brain.

·         New synapses grow throughout life and adults continue to learn, but they do not master new skills so quickly or rebound from setbacks so easily.

·***Remember, the more you interact with your child, the more neuro-pathways your child’s brain will develop! 


I believe memories, the nurturing and protected ones are fundamental and essential for all children but even more so for any child who already has discord in their family life. This is a basic right for all children and when it is interfered with, I believe we need to try and insure its affects are limited as much as possible.

I practiced this philosophy for my daughter when she was my foster child hoping to imprint on her that the love and stability found in our home was unconditional. But, I did not actually have the right to promise that till she was released for adoption at 6 years old so much of the imprinting from her birth family was established and damaging.

I found this quite interesting and I have seen it first-hand with so many kids in my care. Repetition is one way to create memory for learning and becomes an imprint in their brains.

Memories-The organizing framework for children's development is based on the creation of memories. When repeated experiences strengthen a neuronal pathway, the pathway becomes encoded, and it eventually becomes a memory. Children learn to put one foot in front of the other to walk. They learn words to express themselves. And they learn that a smile usually brings a smile in return. At some point, they no longer have to think much about these processes—their brains manage these experiences with little effort because the memories that have been created allow for a smooth, efficient flow of information. https://www.childwelfare.gov/pubs/issue_briefs/brain_development/how.cfm

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Toddlers often pair up with other kids who have the same interest or they adapt their interests to the child they have bonded with. They are able to show real affection for one child over another and develop an emotional connection less sophisticated than older children but a friendship never the less.                   

Joshua and McKenna became friends because of location (living 20 feet apart created the circumstances) but they are best buddies because they love one another and of that I have no doubt. I truly do not know how his moving away will affect her but I know it will.                     

"I have dedicated my life to the care and welfare of children. I feel privileged to share what I have learned with you. I am also committed to continuously learning.iStock_000004213744XSmall  I will keep informed of the latest information in parenting children from newborns to teens and pass it on to all of you.”   I will also use that same passion to help you create a dynasty generate increases in your business with straightforward and specialized media managing skills that guarantee your connection and scope will grow. Keep up to date reading our posts and discover valuable insights that can make parenting and succeeding in the business of the blogger– the most exciting adventure. (Debbie Twomey) https://www.facebook.com/debbietwomeySMM


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