Kids Health
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This post was in partnership with Cerebelly but all of the opinions within are those of The Everymom editorial board. We only recommend products we genuinely love.

5 Low-Maintenance Ways to Encourage Your Kiddo’s Brain Development

brain development tips"
brain development tips
Source: Ksenia Chernaya / Pexels
Source: Ksenia Chernaya / Pexels

As parents, we are constantly inundated with parenting advice from every direction, and everyone has the latest and greatest hack for making sure our kids are growing properly. From the Instagram-certified parenting accounts to your well-meaning great aunt who floods your DMs with parenting articles—hey, maybe that’s how you ended up here. Even though it gets fatiguing navigating all the online advice out there, here we are anyway. Why? Because we’re good parents who just want the best for our kids. We all know that these early years are beyond crucial for our LO’s growth, especially their brain development. The rate at which our kids are processing new information is actually astonishing. I mean, one day, they can barely say their own name, and the next, they can all of a sudden count to 10 (seriously, how does that happen so fast?).

During the first few years of a child’s life, their brain forms connections and pathways that lay the foundation for their future learning, behavior, and overall health. Although keeping their development at the forefront of our minds is a tad overwhelming when we already have tons to think about daily, there are very easy (and fun) brain-stimulating habits we can try. Every parent wants their child to reach their full potential, so we’ve come up with a few small, everyday practices that can make a big impact over time. From nutrition to encouraging interactive play, here are five effective ways to encourage a kid’s brain development that you can start ASAP:

1. Choosing snacks with the best nutrients and benefits

A balanced diet is fundamental to overall health, but it’s especially important for brain development in little kids. Because kids are notoriously picky, getting those nutrients into their diet can feel like Mission Impossible. We know the role that nutrient-rich foods play (supporting cognitive functions, improving memory, and enhancing concentration, to name a few) so it’s a major bonus when we find an option that still feels like a treat. Among all of the snacks marketed as “healthy” today, one of our favorites that we will always swear by is Cerebelly.

Developed by a neurosurgeon and mother of three, Cerebelly snacks are specifically designed to support brain development during critical growth periods. These snacks are formulated with 16 essential brain-supporting nutrients, including DHA, iron, and choline, which are super important for neuronal growth and synaptic function. On top of being literal brain food, Cerebelly uses organic, non-GMO ingredients without any added sugar. Reaching for one of their yummy puree pouches or bars is one of the most convenient ways to put their brain development first. We even like to add their purees to our kid’s fave meals for added nutrition. Add them to your cart during your next Target run or Amazon haul, or bundle and save through Cerebelly’s website!

Puree Pouches

Available in flavors including carrot pumpkin, sweet potato mango, white bean pumpkin apple, and many more.

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Smart Bars

Available in flavors including carrot raisin, blueberry banana sweet potato, apple kale, and strawberry beet.

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2. Encouraging at least one physical activity a day

Regular physical activity is not only essential for a child’s physical health but also significantly impacts brain development. However, daily trips to the park or engaging in sports aren’t always feasible. Choosing one simple activity to do each day can make physical exercise feel more manageable for everyone. Here are some easy outdoor or indoor activities you can do:

  • Run through sprinklers or bubbles outside
  • Have a living room yoga session
  • Start a dance party
  • Build an indoor obstacle course with pillows and couch cushions

3. Providing opportunities for imaginative play

With countless benefits for brain development (like the promotion of problem-solving skills, critical thinking, and creativity), it’s no surprise that our team loves using imaginative play as a brain-building tool at home. It allows kids to recreate real-life scenarios, practice social interactions, and explore new concepts within the safety of their imaginations. We know playing pretend isn’t every parent’s cup of tea, but you can encourage brain development through other activities like puzzles and memory games, educational apps, or reading at bedtime. And by providing daily opportunities for stimulating play, it’ll help your child expand their mind.

spring activities

4. Ensuring adequate sleep

This is a tough one if you have a child who goes on a sleep strike when bedtime rolls around each night. But, during sleep, the brain processes and consolidates information learned throughout the day, which is crucial for memory formation and cognitive function. So essentially, the more they sleep, the more their brains grow. While that’s certainly not reason enough to convince any child to fall asleep, we can encourage good sleep habits through a number of ways:

  • Choose an age-appropriate bedtime (the younger kids are, the more sleep their bodies need)
  • Establish a consistent bedtime routine
  • Use a sound machine at night
  • Install blackout curtains to minimize sunlight

5. Promoting social interaction

Although this can feel painful for introverted parents, socialization is an important part of a child’s brain growth. Interacting with other kids during play dates, participating in group activities, and having meaningful conversations with family members help children develop social skills, empathy, and communication abilities. This doesn’t mean we have to pack our schedules with social activities, but we should encourage regular communication with our kids starting from day one. Whether that means carrying your infant around the house and narrating what they see or playing question games with your preschooler—any form of socialization will help our kids grow exponentially.

This post was in partnership with Cerebelly but all of the opinions within are those of The Everymom editorial board. We only recommend products we genuinely love.