Unit 5.1 Brain development and Attachment

Infants develop their brain. They are born with billions of brain cells, but these brain cells are not yet connected. All early experiences cause the connections to be made. Positive, loving experiences are key to developing connections.

Example: Loving, gentle touching can stimulate an infant’s brain to release important hormones that will allow them to grow.

Recently researchers have been making stronger connections between brain development and attachment. Attachment is the word used to describe the bond that an infant forms with the caring adults in their lives. Strong emotional bonds built through attachment, strengthens biological systems that help a child handle their emotions and cope with everyday stresses throughout their lives.

Parents and Child Care Providers help an infant develop healthy attachments by:

  • providing consistent, responsive loving care
  • providing pleasant physical touch
  • talking to the infant to encourage language development
  • providing consistent daily routines and setting clear age-appropriate limits

ensuring that an infant is physically well

Children grow at their individual pace, but in predictable patterns.


While one child may start walking at 10 months another might not until 16 months. However, both children did first learn how to sit and then how to pull themselves up to standing.

To be able to do something at different ages is the individual pace, the sequence of first sitting, then standing before walking, is the predictable pattern.

Children should not be compared to one another.

Child care providers can learn about typical child development.
Typical development = what most children are able to do at a certain age.
Child care providers can learn about the predictable patterns of child development.

The more child care providers know, the better they are equipped to provide the infant, toddler, preschooler and child with activities that will stimulate and support their development.