Expert child psychologist Dr. Dorothy Einon’s books have proved to be a favorite with many parents. A lecturer in psychology at University College, London, she has a background of research in child development. That research includes studying different educational cultures in order to provide parents with beneficial activities they can participate in with their children.
The Role of Brain Development for the Expert Child Psychologist
According to one article, a baby’s brain at birth contains 100 billion neurons. The formation of the brain begins at approximately three weeks after conception. Each neuron begins with about 2,500 synapses, but by the age of three, that number increases to about 15,000. Part of the brain’s function is to eliminate those that are rarely used. Scientists have determined that there are specific windows of opportunity, or periods of time that are optimal for learning specific tasks. For example, neurons that control vision begin sending messages between 2 and 4 months of age.
Dr. Einon, in her capacity as an expert child psychologist, believes that these studies demonstrate the importance of early stimulation in building a good foundation for optimum brain development as well as the development of crucial social skills. Experience is an important factor in brain development, and emotions have been found to develop in layers. The stress response develops almost immediately, while other emotions such as empathy and envy begin to develop during the second year.
The Importance of Research to the Expert Child Psychologist
One area of Dr. Einon’s research has been on the value of play in the development of social skills as well as brain development. In one experiment with rats, littermates were separated into three groups. During the ages of 20 to 50 days, one group was given an hour of play-fighting experience each day, while another was isolated. Those who were not given the play-fighting experience demonstrated aggression more frequently. The results of that research was then applied to practical life situations.
For example, in one article , she points out that the ability to initiate a friendship begins to be developed between ages 2 and 3. Children normally display more interest in the games then in the individual children participating in them before that age. After age three, children begin to choose activities based on their feelings towards other children. Dr. Einon advises parents of shy children against protecting them from interactions that they may at first find difficult and offers methods of gradually introducing them to positive social situations.
The Development of a Baby IQ Test
Einon was approached by Fisher Price in response to the number of parents who had expressed a desire for guidelines that would help them determine whether their children were developing normally. While she did develop a 10-question test for that purpose, she also stressed that children don’t all develop at the same rate. To account for those normal differences in developmental rates, she estimated that the results would show that about half of children would score, if only temporarily, below average.
As an expert child psychologist, she points out that average IQ scores have risen by an average of three points each decade since the introduction of the tests in 1917. She attributes that increase to parents being educated about the ways in which they can help stimulate their children’s minds with the use of games and toys. The test itself sparked some controversy regarding whether it was a legitimate measure of ability or a clever marketing tool for children’s toys.
Educational Activities Designed by an Expert Child Psychologist
Despite the controversy surrounding the test, there is a large body of research that demonstrates the importance of interactive activities on brain development. One study, which spanned two decades, revealed that cognitive stimulation children received from parents at age four would continue to positively affect their brain development even 15 years later. Brain scans are able to measure the growth of specific parts of the brain.
Other studies show that babies learn more quickly in response to human interaction than when presented with similar information through videos. The majority of Dr. Einon’s books offer hundreds of educational and skill building activities that parents can participate in with their children. These activities not only contribute to brain development, but to emotional and social development as well. This whole-child approach is one of the things that make her books so popular. They not only make research accessible, but offer parents ready-made activities that allow them to apply the knowledge gained by research in an enjoyable way.
Even as an expert child psychologist with a specialty in “normal” developmental guidelines, Dr. Einon stresses the importance of recognizing children’s unique differences. For example, for parents of more than one child, she advises against dividing things equally, which she believes can lead to constant comparison. Instead, she advocates responding to each child’s differing needs. She also believes in allowing children the opportunity to release frustration through physical activity. Participating in enjoyable activities that encourage brain development, help release frustration and strengthen social bonds benefit both parent and child–and ultimately– the world.