3 Things I Learned From The Whole Brain Child

As a yoga teacher, a mom and a person that is around children a great deal I found The Whole Brain Child by Dr. Daniel Siegel, M.D. and Tina Payne Bryson, PH.D. incredibly helpful on so many levels.

Upon finishing the book I had two immediate thoughts:

  • Every mom and dad should get this handed to him or her as he/she is leaving the hospital after delivery.
  • Every person in the educational sector or any person that interacts with children on any level should read this book.
In an easy to read style Dr. Daniel Siegel and Tina Payne Bryson explains how the brain develops, how it works and how to relate and help kids as they learn to identify, deal with, and learn from their emotions. The book provides concrete examples and lessons so the reader has a healthier understanding of what children are facing on the inside. It shows how to connect with them, helps them to feel safe and communicates how to become proficient in teaching the most effective lesson(s) possible.
To offer a basic summary of the text, The Whole Brain Child explains how we have an upstairs and a downstairs brain. The upstairs is the higher functioning and more logical brain and takes longer to develop in the course of a person’s life. Then we have the downstairs brain that is developed from birth. This is where our survival functions live such as the fight or flight response. It’s here that many children get stuck. Essentially, we want to help them move from this roadblock and into their upstairs brain where the logical thinking and understanding come into play.

3 things I learned from the book:


  1. Connect:  We should connect with our child so they feel acknowledged and understood. When your children are struggling, it is not the time to teach or to attempt to discipline. Once a child readapts the brain back into a cohesive state that is the ideal time to “redirect” and provide the lesson.
  2. Asking questions and telling stories: Teach children to talk through their feelings by using storytelling. This allows them to have a healthier way to process their emotions properly and efficiently. Teach them to recognize how they feel and why (and reminding them these are temporary states and not what defines them).
  3. Problem Solving: Instead of enraging the downstairs brain, engage the upstairs brain. Teach children sound problem solving skills so they grow up to become confident decision-makers in life.

This book delivers so many helpful strategies and also provides the reader with a valuable toolbox to use when nurturing children.  The authors offer age appropriate exercises and an easy to read reference graph at the end.  You literally can identify the need of the child in the headings, scroll to the age and find the strategy recommended to help connect with your child so you can offer helpful and effective ways to teach a valid lesson. The real life examples and strategies help any caregiver so they may easily teach kids to identify and regulate their emotions, connect to themselves and the world and live a happy life with love, confidence and compassion towards others.

What else can you ask for!

I'm also so excited that the authors of “The Whole-Brain Child” are  getting ready to release their new book “No-Drama Discipline: The Whole-Brain Way to Calm the Chaos and Nurture Your Child's Developing Mind.” It will be available in Sept, and you can find the full description here on Indiebound

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