Basically, children’s reactions are governed by their Left Brain (logical part), Right Brain (emotional part), Upstairs Brain (sophisticated analytical thinking), and Downstairs Brain (reactive thinking).
This is a video excerpt featuring Daniel Siegel, M.D., and Tina Payne Bryson, Ph.D. from their video lecture entitled "The Whole-Brain Child Approach". You can hear Dr. Siegel himself explain this model of the brain.
There are two important ways to understand the competing parts of the whole brain. They are Left Brain vs Right Brain and Upstairs vs Downstairs Brain. As parents, you need to integrate these parts of their brains to make them a whole brain child.
Left Brain vs Right Brain
Left + Right = facts + comprehension: Helping kids learn to use both their left (logical) brain and their right (emotional) brain prepares them to live fulfilling and healthy relationships.
The left side of the brain is responsible for controlling the right side of the body. It also performs tasks that need logic and the right brain coordinates the left side of the body and performs tasks that have to do with creativity and the arts.
Upstairs vs Downstairs Brain
Upstairs + downstairs = reason + instinct: The Author,Dr. Seigel refers to the upstairs brain as"under construction" as it is not fully developed until the age of 20. Kids are born with the downstairs brain.
We need the upstairs and the downstairs brain to work together. The downstairs brain saves us from urgent situations. It loops our feelings into logical equations.
Image Courtesy: Momentous Institute
The book is a great resource for parents to understand how and why one part of their child’s brain is taking control and how to effectively change some elements of their behavior by activating the other brain in order to nurture your brain child.
12 Revolutionary Strategies to Nurture Your Child's Developing Mind
Connect and Redirect: When your child is upset, connect to their right brain (i.e. emotionally connect by empathizing with their feelings) before redirecting with their logical Left brain.
Name It to Tame It: To help a child understand their emotions and give them more control, use Left-Brain story-telling to calm their emotions.
Engage, Don’t Enrage: A child in throes of stress will resort to using their Downstairs brain, so parents need to encourage them to keep thinking and listening, which will activate their Upstairs thinking.
Use It or Lose It: Making choices, solving problems, and practicing control over emotions helps your child to exercise the “Upstairs Brain”.
Move It or Lose It: Physical activity helps to shift your child’s focus from the Downstairs reactive brain, and reconnect with analytical thinking.
Use the Remote of the Mind: After any difficult situation, replay, rewind, fast-forward, and pause to bring awareness to your child and help them process.
Remember to Remember: Teach your child to practice creating memories of important moments of their lives on a daily basis.
Let the Clouds of Emotion Roll By: Help your child understand that feelings come and go and the negativity they are experiencing is temporary.
SIFT: Kids need to be aware of Sensations, Images, Feelings, and Thoughts within them.
Exercise Mindsight: Giving your child insight into their own mind (and that of others) and equipping them with tools like calm breaths, thinking of a happy place.
Enjoy Family Fun: create positive memories by increasing the fun that the family has with each other.
Connect through Conflict: Encourage empathy and use conflicts as a chance to teach kids others’ points of view.
These strategies are undoubtedly useful for all families. The summary above gives you a flavor, but it is highly recommended to read the book especially because the authors outline practical strategies, based on proven scientific facts, which can really help you to nurture happier and healthier kids.
Therefore, these nurturing your whole brain child will cultivate healthy emotional and intellectual development so that your children can lead balanced, meaningful, and connected life.
Cuemath, a student-friendly mathematics and coding platform, conducts regular Online Live Classes for academics and skill-development, and their Mental Math App, on both iOS and Android, is a one-stop solution for kids to develop multiple skills.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
1. Why is brain development important in early childhood?
The foundation of brain development is social and emotional development grounded in caring relationships.