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Children’s brains mature significantly before birth to age 2, however it’s also a period of great vulnerability.

The brain is shaped by genes and experiences, and how they interact with each other. It is particularly sensitive to environmental influences, such as toxic early life stress. It may also be affected through sensing pathways by sound, touch, vision, smell, food, thoughts, drugs, injury, disease and other factors.

Parents can support their children’s brain development by: 

  • playing and interacting with them

  • exposing them to experiences that stimulate their senses

  • protecting them from stressful situations

Responsive relationships early in life can prevent – even reverse – the damaging effects of toxic stress on early brain development.