Anatomy and Stages of Toddler Brain Development

A lot of development happens during infancy and after a baby turns into a toddler...and DHA plays an important role. ClickTap on a circle to learn more about that part of the brain.
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Prefrontal Cortex Higher cognitive thinking including personality expression, decision making, and orchestration of thoughts and actions with goals; involved in your little one playing favorites, observing, exploring, and expression of emotions like frustration, love, and emotional independence Ex: The prefrontal cortex plays a role in your little one playing favorites. It is one way your child feels she can exert her independence; look for other places you can give her choices (i.e. this shirt to wear versus that one). It also stems from her need for routine for comfort—Mommy always does this, Daddy always does this. (21 to 24 months)
Frontal Lobe Executive functions including problem solving, speech and language production, impulse control, judgement, and social behavior moderation; involved in baby skills like interaction with playmates and discovering how to share and evaluate play with others Ex: The frontal lobe helps execute interactions with playmates. Toddlers engage in parallel play—seated side by side, happily pursuing their own activities—until the age of 2 or 3, when they begin to learn to share. It's a step toward learning to interact with others. (15 to 18 months)
Motor Cortex Execution of physical, voluntary movements like rolling over, crawling, walking, sitting unsupported, and accuracy in grasp - picking up and releasing objects with fingers, drinking from a cup, and feeding self Ex: The motor cortex helps your little one learn to stand up tall on their own and cruise from one piece of furniture to the next. Experts believe the deciding factor between early and late walkers is more often temperament than physical ability. A late walker may simply be content to entertain himself in other ways (like exploring objects in his hands). Arrange the furniture so that your baby can easily—and safely—move around by holding onto various chairs and tables. Once your baby has had practice and gained confidence, reconfigure the arrangement so there are larger gaps between the pieces of furniture. (12 months)
Basal Ganglia Strongly connected to the brainstem, and similar to the motor cortex, the basal ganglia is associated with voluntary movements like walking, hand coordination, and other physical motions done simultaneously
Parietal Lobe Touch and spatial understanding like the ability to develop concepts at playtime and apply them in the real-world to toys and interactions with you and other playmates Ex: Use the power of pretend. The parietal lobe helps your toddler develop the concept of pretend play, helping him to build on communication and social skills. (12 to 15 months)
Occipital Lobe Visual processing center of the brain that helps your baby identify pictures in a book and objects in the real world with their appropriate name Ex: As you read to your baby, the Occipital lobe helps your baby learn to point to the correct picture of a dog when you ask where it is. Do the same thing when you're out and about, naming what you see in the park (trees, swings, grass), at the grocery store (shelves, cereal, clerks), and elsewhere. (10 to 12 months)
Hippocampus Memory formation: the Hippocampus allows your baby to learn such concepts like object permanence—that you when you play peekaboo, you still exist—while also allowing them to form the valuable memories that will be the basis of their childhood into the adult years beyond
Hindbrain Fine-motor and hand-eye coordination skills, including banging, mouthing, and throwing objects, and self-feeding Ex: The hindbrain and grasp. Place finger foods or cereal on your baby's high chair and let him pick items up by himself rather than doing it for him. Expect a mess; that's normal.
Temporal Lobe Auditory perception and speech vocalization: allows your little one to receive sensory information from the ears and process information into meaningful units such as words like "Mama" and "Dada"; with help from this lobe, your baby begins to understand that objects have names (including comprehending his own name), helps him form sounds use cadences and inflections of real conversation; besides language comprehension, this lobe also controls smell Ex: The temporal lobe helps in hearing and language. It's considered an early word when your baby links particular sounds with people or objects, like "ba ba" for a bottle or a blanket. Verbs usually come next in the language progression as your baby learns to describe what happens to the objects she recognizes. Whenever he attempts to say a word, help him by repeating the proper pronunciation but without actually correcting him. When he says, "mik," for example, you can say, "You want your milk?" and emphasize the word "milk." (11 months; 10 to 12 months)