Baby Photograph

The Brain and Child Development

Photograph of a Child and an AdultChildren's overall development is closely connected to the development of the brain. Although all aspects of development are interrelated, different areas of the brain contribute to children's development across the different domains.


  • Physical development is influenced by the motor cortex or band in front of the parietal lobe, the occipital lobe for hand-eye coordination, and the temporal lobe for hearing.

  • Social development is influenced by the limbic system, the frontal lobe, the site of reasoning and planning functions, and by the development of language.

  • Emotional development also is influenced by the limbic system and the frontal lobe.

  • Cognitive development is influenced by the frontal lobe, the site of planning and thinking functions, and by the temporal lobe for development of language abilities.

Example: Reading and the Brain

Children learn language through experience. When adults read to children, neurons connect and a vocabulary builds.  When adults and children read a favorite book again and again, connections in the child's brain become stronger and more complex.


Talking about the story also contributes to brain development. As adults discuss the storyline with children, even more new words are introduced. Vocabulary increases, and children starts to learn the process of conversation. 


Watching television or listening to a recorded story does not have the same benefits of live conversation.The interaction in give and take conversation is the key experience that wires the brain to develop language.