By Leslie Lindsay
The Whole-Brain Child: 12 Revolutionary Strategies to Nurture Your Child’s Developing Mind by Daniel J. Siegel and Tina Payne Bryson (Sep 11, 2012)
We have been discussing the book, THE WHOLE-BRAIN CHILD by Dr. Daniel J. Siegel and Dr. Tina Payne Bryson. The premise: if you “speak” to both sides of your child’s brain (right=emiotion-driven and left=logic-driven) through 12 strategies, then you may have a better chance at picking your battles, helping your child, or problem-solve. And who wouldn’t like to get better at those things? Last week, we focused on strategies 1-6, today we’ll tackle the final 7-12 strategies. Here goes:
- Strategy #7: Remember to Remember–Making Recollection a Part of Your Family’s Daily Life. For some, remembering things is well…a no brainer. For others, it’s a little more challenging. It’s an exercise, if you will–the more you work it, the better your memory. Give your children practice with remembering things. Telling and retelling a story works, so does remembering a list of letters or numbers (+/- 5 items). This all helps create memory for experiences; important for later problem-solving skills and developing friendships/relationships. Try it at home: Instead of saying, “How was your day?” Ask something more active, “What was the best part of your day?” Or, “Who did you eat lunch with?”
- Strategy #8: Let the Clouds of Emotion Roll By–Teaching that Feelings Come and Go. Important, yes that kids learn to identify their feelings, but just as important is that kids learn that feelings are fleeting. That’s right–they come and go. On average, an emotion comes and goes in 90-seconds. Try it at home: Instead of labeling oneself forever, try this, “I’m not dumb, I just feel dumb right now.”
- Strategy #9: SIFT–Paying Attention to What’s Going on Inside. Kids need to be aware of what they are actually feeling inside. Yep–all of those emotions, desires, ideas whirling around need to be acknowledged. Enter SIFT: Sensations, Images, Feelings, and Thoughts. Try it at home: if your child is feeling out-of-sorts about something, help her identify it by talking about SIFT. “It must be scary having pictures of that monster in your head. You know what you can do? You can change the picture!” And then talk about how the monster may not be scary after all…maybe even funny? (see earlier post on Marlow and the Monster)
- Strategy #10: Exercise Mindsight–Getting Back to the Hub. Sometimes kids can get fixated on one set of problems–their “points of awareness.” Help them re-set. This doesn’t come naturally to children, but they can be taught to develop coping skills and strategies to get “back to the hub.” Try it at home: When my daughter, Kelly was anxious about kindergarten (see previous post), I tried to ease her anxiety by talking with her at bedtime. She was tucked in, comfy and cozy. The lights were dim. Her special bedtime music was playing. I spoke to her in a soothing voice, assuring her that she is a “sunshine girl who can do anything.” Next, I had her relax every part of her body starting with her head and working all the way down to her toes. Add something silly like “relax your earlobes,” and you’re sure to get a giggle.
- Strategy #11: Increase the Family Fun Factor–Making a Point to Enjoy Eachother. Most of us feel as if we just cart kids around or discipline them…but what about just having fun?! It’s easy to forget how to have fun as a family. But it’s an important part to learning to connect with others. Take interest in your kids’ interests, play games, tell jokes…Try it at home: we recently had a “fun” weekend. Sure, we still did laundry and grocery shopping, but we also went to a giant trampoline place, took a hike, and went Go-Karting. Can you tie in some fun, too?
- Strategy #12: Connection Through Conflict–Teach Kids to Argue with a “We” in Mind. Each new arguement is just a way for us to survive. Belive it or not, there’s almost always a lesson there. But, you’ve had it with mediating those diagreements. Teach your child to see through the other person’s eyes (recognize other points of view) and how to read boyd language. It’s tough to do in the middle of a heated arguement. Try it at home: Have your child watch the other one recreate the tower of Legos or the art project he just smashed. How do you think your sibling feels having to do all of that work again?
This concludes our series in “The Teacher is Talking.” If you liked what you learned here, consider reading the whole book (sorry, couldn’t resist)! I merely high-lighted some snippets here, but there is soo much more in the book itself, including some really clever comic-strip-like diagrams. At just 168 pages, it’s not a big, overwhelming book, either.
This is a personal book that belongs to our family. No form of compensation was given for writing about THE WHOLE BRAIN CHILD (Delacorte Press, 2011).