The Whole-Brain Child

Thursday December 27, 2018

The advice of this book overlaps substantially with that in Brain Rules for Baby. In comparison, the science here feels less rigorous, but the advice still seems reasonable. There's more focus on memory, which I mostly like.

"... children whose parents talk with them about their experiences tend to have better access to the memories of those experiences." (page 8)

If there's an overall theme, it is a kind of Western presentation of a middle way between logic and emotion, then between reactive thought and higher executive function (shades of Thinking, Fast and Slow). There's a kind of meditative concept they call mindsight.

The way they think about human development reminds me a little bit of Montessori's "spontaneous discipline" - people become better.

"As you create a whole-brain family, you also join a broader vision of creating an entire society full of rich, relational communities where emotional well-being is nurtured for this and future generations." (page 148)

Here are their "12 revolutionary strategies to nurture your child's developing mind":

  1. Connect and redirect: Surfing emotional waves
  2. Name it to tame it: Telling stories to calm big emotions
  3. Engage, don't enrage: Appealing to the upstairs brain
  4. Use it or lose it: Exercising the upstairs brain
  5. Move it or lose it: Moving the body to avoid losing the mind
  6. Use the remote of the mind: Replaying memories
  7. Remember to remember: Making recollection a part of your family's daily life
  8. Let the clouds of emotion roll by: Teaching that feelings come and go
  9. SIFT (Sensations, Images, Feelings, Thoughts): Paying attention to what's going on inside
  10. Exercise mindsight: Getting back to the hub
  11. Increase the family fun factor: Making a point to enjoy each other
  12. Connect through conflict: Teach kids to argue with a "we" in mind

There's also a one-page (front and back) "refrigerator sheet" at the back of the book, which is cute.

cover of The Whole-Brain Child