Our brains are fascinating. When children are born, the brain is still highly underdeveloped. Through an incredible interaction of  genetic unfolding and environmental influence, we start to see the emerging brain and all of its possibilities. A child’s early experiences set the foundation of brain health- however the brain continues to develop fairly rapidly all the way through until about the age of 30 years. Parents play an integral role in shaping the architecture of a child’s brain. There is no set “parenting with the brain in mind” recipe , but there are essential ingredients that optimize brain health:

  • Attachment and Connection: Understanding the importance of secure attachment and nurturing relationships in promoting healthy brain development. Providing love, support, and responsive caregiving helps children feel safe and secure, which is essential for their emotional and cognitive growth.
  • Positive Discipline: Recognizing the impact of discipline on the developing brain and opting for positive discipline strategies that promote learning, self-regulation, and empathy rather than punishment or fear-based techniques.
  • Stress Management: Acknowledging the effects of stress on the brain and learning how to create a supportive environment that minimizes stressors and teaches children effective coping skills.
  • Brain-Healthy Environment: Creating an environment that fosters curiosity, exploration, and learning, while also minimizing exposure to toxins, excessive screen time, and other factors that can negatively impact brain development.
  • Mindful Parenting: Practicing mindfulness and being present in interactions with children, which promotes attunement and helps parents respond to their child’s needs effectively.
  • Promoting Learning and Development: Understanding the critical periods of brain development and providing stimulating experiences that support learning and skill acquisition.

At the Institute, our workshops integrate knowledge of neuroscience into everyday parenting practices to support children’s optimal development and well-being. We have a 90 minute workshop on Childhood Brain Development that takes you through 10 concrete lessons to better understand the developing brains of children and teens and we also have an incredible membership that includes this workshop and 90 others!

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