Your Child’s Brain: What’s Going On In There?
Children are wild, untameable bundles of energy. Every child has a different way of thinking, acting and being as a result of their upbringing, their nature and their brain.
It can often be the case that a child responds differently to varied stimuli such as stress, sharing, big life events, small life events, learning, play and so on. And this is mainly due to the ways in which their brain has adapted and is still adapting to the ways they’ve been educated and nurtured.
With so much to juggle as a parent, reading up on what can help your child’s brain to function optimally can easily go amiss. But, it may be that as a parent or parent-to-be by doing this, you’re missing a trick.
The 3 books we’ve selected are all about the child’s brain and how we can help to develop and support it. They are like next-level parenting books. These books will allow you to think outside of the box and over the other side of the hedge. They offer a new perspective on childhood and suggest science-backed, innovative, approachable and seemingly effortless parenting methods which worldwide we just seem to miss.
Not only will these 3 books change your perspective on parenting and the way you look at parenting forever, they may also change the way your kid’s brain functions, for the better. Let’s begin.
The genius of Natural Childhood by Sally Goddard Blythe
“Blythe draws on neuroscience to unpack the wisdom of nursery rhymes, playing traditional games and fairy stories for healthy child development.” – Hawthorn Press
What’s it about?
Researcher and therapist Sally Goddard explores the powers that can be unleashed within children when they are nurtured differently. For example when a child is living in the moment and is present without the influence of technology, that child can truly flourish.
The book offers justification with neuroscience backing as to why the old fashioned way of raising kids is in fact the best way. Goddard explores the influence of the first 7 years of a child’s life and why those 7 years are so crucial, quoting Jesuit Francis Xavier: “Give me a child until he is seven and I will give you the man.”
She explains how during these first 7 years the “development and maturation of the central nervous system proceed at a faster rate than they will at any other time in life.” Which is why it’s vital to do all you can to promote their central nervous system and how it functions.
Any tips from the author?
- Outdoor play works wonders for kids’ brains and creativity.
- Free movement is the best way for a baby to learn how to do new things vital to their growth.
- Music and nursery rhymes are key to learning a native language. “Music helps speech sounds to remain in the memory for longer as well as providing an access ‘key’ for retrieval of auditory stimuli.” Plus, it boosts their confidence.
- Reading out loud can help trigger memory recall more easily. And the dying art of reading bedtime stories is great for their imaginations.
The book has a whole host of nursery rhymes to help your child to interact and push its brain’s development further. It also includes pages full of easy-to-do tasks and fun ideas, all of which allow the genius of a natural childhood to work its magic.
Edu-K for Kids by Paul & Gail E. Dennison
“When children learn with the whole brain they are open, receptive and curious about their environment. Simultaneously they are able to express themselves, make new experiences their own and be aware of their own uniqueness.” – Paul E. Dennison, Ph.D.
What’s it about?
This book uses an illustrated approach to explain the complexities of the brain to a child. “It is intended to explain brain function as it relates to specific learning tasks. Each page on the brain captures a moment in time in the life of Tim as he deals with the trials of learning to read, write and spell… Everything which is depicted is neurologically correct.”
The book uses Brain Gym which is a series of activities and exercises used to encourage kids to have a more “integrated use of the eyes, ears and body for improved reading, writing and spelling.” The book’s intention is to make parents and children aware of the capabilities of a fully functioning brain.
Any tips from the author?
- Pressing your Brain’s Buttons can make you more alert. Find them by rubbing below the collarbone whilst holding your navel.
- Eye exercises called tracking can benefit reading quality and speed.
- Sitting in certain ways can help re-energise the brain so it’s ready to learn.
- Teaches how to learn the basics of Kinesiology.
This book offers a new way of thinking and behaving with small, digestible kinesiology steps both you and your child can take together. And you’ll both benefit from it. Kinesiology is a highly underrated tool which has been proven to work time and time again, by looking at the body’s movements and studying “the mechanics of body movements to provide information about the state of health of all body organs and systems. It also employs many other healing therapies to achieve recovery.”
Smart Moves – Why Learning Is Not All In Your Head by Carla Hannaford, PH.D.
“Examining the body’s role in learning, from infancy through adulthood, Hannaford presents the mounting scientific evidence revealing that movement is crucial to learning. Dr. Hannaford offers clear alternatives and remedies that people can put into practice right away to make a real difference in their ability to learn.” – GoodReads
What’s it about?
Learning is not all in your head! The book explores how learning for children is not just about sitting down and opening up a text book, hoping to absorb all the words on the page. Learning is in fact a sensory experience, which relies on and can be impacted by emotion, connections, movement and physical and mental exercise.
Any tips from the author?
- Movement anchors thoughts. Hannaford says “to pin down a thought, there must be movement. A person may sit quietly to think, but to remember a thought an action must be used to anchor it.” By materializing the thought with words, writing or moving a hand it can help build the brain’s nerve networks and make it easier to remember.
- The limbic system in children is vital. Khan Academy describes the limbic system as a “set of structures in the brain that deal with emotions and memory. It regulates autonomic or endocrine function in response to emotional stimuli and also is involved in reinforcing behavior.” And Hannaford believes that encouraging spontaneous imaginative play is priceless. When kids can create their own toys, rather than just play with fully constructed commercial toys, their development of the limbic system is much healthier.
- Let children write imaginative stories and allow a full emotional expression until the age of 4.
- Create a stress-free environment for your children to encourage learning and positive brain support.
With each tip given, the author uses science-related examples for you to fully comprehend each point. She also explores the Danish public school system and how it has many proven positive side effects, which the rest of the world’s education systems seem to lack. The book is a great one to grab and read pre, during and post-kids as many of the theories are applicable to adults too.
Because kids are only young once and childhood is meant for play and unforced learning, it’s no wonder the current educational system doesn’t always hit the mark. However, these 3 books offer a different perspective on the way children can use their brains in order to learn more efficiently. Have fun with it.
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