Whenever anyone asks me to name my favorite book on parenting, I get a little flustered. What do you mean? Parenting a newborn? A toddler? How to handle sleep issues or school readiness? There are so many books on the topic of parenting that it would be impossible to read them all. I do, however, think there are a several books that every parent should be familiar with. One of my many favorites is The Whole Brain Child by Daniel J. Siegel, MD and Tina Payne Bryson, Ph. D. In the book, Drs Siegel and Bryson discuss in detail the concept that as caregivers, the way we interact with our children during different situations will have lasting impact on their brain development.
Before I had children, I had heard of the concept of being “left-brained” (logical or objective) or “right-brained” (creative and thoughtful). I thought that the goal was to figure out what side of your brain was dominate and plan accordingly. What I learned in The Whole Brain Child, is that humans thrive when their brains are integrated. To integrate means to use both sides of your brain together to process and respond to what is happening. As parents we have a beautiful opportunity to shape how our children’s brains develop. By responding in an intentional way to different scenarios with our children, we stimulate different neurons within their brain and effect their actual brain structure for the rest of their lives. By learning a few simple strategies, we can help our child’s left and right brain work together.
WHAT??!! When I was a new mom, just seeing that sentence in print would have made me feel overwhelmed and inadequate. I felt stretched to the limit to just meet my boys physical needs. I did not feel that I had any energy left tackle the huge job of brain development. This task is not as daunting as I originally thought. The Whole Brain Child offers many strategies to help even the most overwhelmed parent enjoy the process.
Over few posts, I am going to discuss the biggest topics in the book and offer straight forward simple things to weave into your day that help your child to integrate their brain.