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What’s Going On Inside Your Child’s Brain?

Children vs Adult Brains:
A child’s brain has completely different priorities than an adults.
Children think, behave, and learn differently —
Meaning parenting and teaching can be a challenge

Below we see how different sections of the brain trigger behaviors in children and adults.

Most active areas in children:

1. Brain stem
The brain stem is the part of a child’s brain that controls heart rate, blood pressure and body temperature.
2. Midbrain
The midbrain stimulates “arousal,” appetite/ satiety and sleep.

Most active areas in adults:

1. Limbic system
The limbic system controls sexual behavior, emotional reactivity and motor regulation.
2. Cortex
The cortex is responsible for concrete thought, affiliation and attachment.

The Brain Basics

1. Neurons:

    • Building blocks of the brain
    • Nerve cells that specialize to form brain sections
  • Communicate messages throughout the brain

2. Synapse:

    • A connection between 2 neurons
    • Each Neuron has thousands of synapses
  • Creates connections between thousands of neurons.

3. Myelin:

    • An insulating sheath that covers the length of mature neurons
    • Necessary for clear, efficient, electrical transmission
  • Increasing connection effectiveness by 3000x

Synapse Time Line

Brain development throughout stages of life:


  • Developing automatic functions, the 5 senses, and motion
  • Brain is 25% of its future adult weight
  • Implicit (or unconscious) memory allows recognition of mother and family


    • Brain develops up to 2,000,000 synapses per second
  • Building the architecture for future functioning

[by Age 3]

    • Brain already weighs nearly 90% of it’s future adult weight
    • Explicit (conscious memory) develops
  • Future capacities for learning, social interaction, and emotional abilities are already largely established

[4 through 10 ]

    • Children’s brains are more than twice as active as adult’s brains.
  • Of the body’s total O2 intake, the adult brain consumes 20%A child’s brain consumes up to 50%

[by Age 8]

    “Logic” abilities start to form

[Age 11 into adulthood]

    • “Use it or Lose it”
  • Pruning: deleting lesser-used synapse connections making other pathways more efficient

[Age 14]

    • Myelination begins in the Frontal Lobe (higher learning)
  • Reasoning, planning, emotions, and problem-solving skills significantly develop

[Age 16] Drive a car

[Age 18] Vote

[Age 21] Drink Alcohol

[Age 23]

    • Pruning completes
  • Nearly half of the child’s synapses have been deleted

[Age 25]

    • Myelination completes
  • The brain is finally fully matured
    Insurance rates drop – Not a coincidence


    • Brain Composition
  • Continually changes as learning occurs throughout lifespan

No matter what your age, when it comes to brain functions, it’s literally “use ’em or lose ’em”