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The Whole-Brain Child: 12 Proven Strategies to Nurture Your Child's Developing Mind

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Complete with clear explanations, age-appropriate strategies for dealing with day-to-day struggles, and illustrations that will help you explain these concepts to your child, The Whole-Brain Child shows you how to cultivate healthy emotional and intellectual development so that your children can lead balanced, meaningful, and connected lives. Let's imagine the brain as a house, with an upstairs and downstairs section. The downstairs area is the more primitive part of the brain, responsible for the basics like breathing, automatic responses, and intense emotions. The upstairs brain contains the study and library, and lets in more light, allowing you to see things clearly and make wise decisions. As a parent, you need to help your child to explore the new brain functions as it gets them and guide her through the process of getting used to using these new functions. The brain is enormously complex with different areas performing various tasks, yet constantly interlinking. For example, the "reptilian" part of the brain makes split-second survival choices, and the 'mammalian' part is more concerned with relationships. Good mental health means getting all areas of the brain to work well together.

Connect and Redirect: Let your child feel that you hear him/her (connect emotionally to show them they are seen) before redirecting (deciding how to react) (translation: listen before you speak!)

“The Whole-Brain Child PDF Summary”

I'd have given this book five stars if the writing were a bit more engaging; as it is, though the material is often fascinating and incredibly relevant (I've a 28-month old toddler at home!), I found the reading a bit of a slog at times.

The key notion behind “managing” your child’s brain growth is integration. In other words, the brain has many different parts, and for a child to grow to a smart and happy individual, it needs to learn how to integrate all of these parts to cope with the experiences that come to its way.Featuring clear explanations, age-appropriate strategies and illustrations that will help you explain these concepts to your child, The Whole-Brain Child will help your children to lead balanced, meaningful, and connected lives using twelve key strategies, including: Are you a frazzled parent, juggling demands, fighting over unfinished homework, and refereeing sibling fights? Or are you constantly comparing yourself unfavorably to the super-parents you know, the ones on the PTA who cook like a dream and never get irritated with their children? Sometimes it feels like we're just trying to survive as parents, when what we really want is for our families to thrive.

Their premise is that these twelve strategies help “integrate” children’s brains, that is, “coordinate[] and balance[] the separate regions of the brain” so as to optimize mental health. Using the image of a child inside a canoe floating down a river, they explain that veering close to the bank of chaos leaves the kid feeling too out of control to relax whereas drifting close to the bank of rigidity makes the kid too rigid to function ideally (instead “imposing control on everything and everyone”). “By helping our kids connect left [brain] and right [brain]” - as well as their “upstairs” and “downstairs” brains and implicit and explicit memories - “we give them a better chance of [finding] . . . harmonious flow between the[] two extremes,” which in turn will minimize tantrums and other results of “dis-integration.” Of course, they warn, the results won’t be perfect both because we should expect imperfection in ourselves as parents and because kids are biologically unable to always “be rational, regulate their emotions, make good decisions, think before acting, and be empathetic.” Parenting isn't always easy, and we often place unreasonable expectations on ourselves and our children. Much of our expectations are because we expect a child's brain to work in the same way as ours do. Nurturing children comes in many forms, but we often overlook how to stimulate and encourage children's whole-brain development. There's also the process of SIFT. SIFT is the acronym for sensations, images, feelings, and thoughts. We can use this acronym to help children sort through physical sensations such as butterflies in the tummy, images that might be worrying them, such as an embarrassing moment at school, and feelings. It helps if they have a broad "feeling" vocabulary, so they can use specific words like "disappointed," as opposed to a more general one like feeling "sad."We want to help make the information in this book accessible to as many parents as possible, so we have provided below links to parent discussion guides by chapter as well as links to blog posts (written by Annie McClellan at Tapestry) detailing each of the 12 strategies in the book. The whole-brain approach fosters horizontal integration between the left and right brains, helping you use both your logic and your emotions to understand your experiences, your thoughts, your behaviors, and those of the people around you. Let’s explore two strategies for helping children integrate their left and right brains. Horizontal Integration Strategy #1: Connect With Emotions, Redirect to Logic The first two complementary regions of the brain we’ll talk about are the left and right hemispheres—or, as they’re commonly referred to, the left brain and right brain.

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