behavior · brain · children · environment · family · learning · psychology

How To Help Your Child’s Brain Grow Up Strong : NPR

A lot of parents freak out about how to provide enriching environments for their children and help them grow, from music lessons to early reading to math flash cards.

In one of those “well duh” books, two neuroscientists, Sandra Aamodt and Sam Wang remind us it doesn’t take all that much…

Babies may look helpless, but as soon as they come into the world, they’re able to do a number of important things. They can recognize faces and moving objects. They’re attracted to language. And from very early on, they can differentiate their mother from other humans.

“They really come equipped to learn about the world in a way that wasn’t appreciated until recently,” says neuroscientist Sandra Aamodt. “It took scientists a long time to realize that their brains are doing some very complicated things.”

Aamodt and fellow neuroscientist Sam Wang explain how the human brain develops from infancy to adolescence in their new book, Welcome to Your Child’s Brain. The two researchers also offer tips for parents to help their children eat their spinach, learn their ABCs and navigate elementary school.

more via How To Help Your Child’s Brain Grow Up Strong : NPR, on Fresh Air.

They talk with Terry Gross about complicated concepts like self control, abstract thought, and things that are even hard for some grown-ups, and how to create an environment that makes kids want to practice these things.

music

Interesting cultural media tid-bits

First, this article is an interesting follow-up to my previous mother/father post. This woman looks at why her toddler has bonded more to her husband than to herself, and specifically at the idea that culture tells her it should be the other way around. I know, it sounds like I’m making an “it’s all culture” argument, but the author is merely looking at forms of bonding and what our culture says “should” happen.

Then, a recent This American Life broadcast looks at the topic of mapping. The first two acts are also REALLY impressive and interesting sociological and psychological studies; one mapping cultural behavior of a neighborhood, the other looking at modern electronics and how their constant humming and buzzing, each with its own melodic tone, affects our mood.

learning

Modern Views on Parenting

Granted I’ve learned you can’t taking anything too seriously in grocery store magazines (just look at how TIME handled parkour), but Newsweek came out today with two editorials that are actually quite good at analyzing how men and women’s roles in parenting have evolved over the course of a generation or two and what expectations are compared to real life, and I found myself agreeing with both perspectives.

A mom’s perspective: When I read this my first thought was, “dear god, this is my future.”
A dad’s perspective: The third paragraph summarizes his whole point.

Of course this is all totally a modern Western view. So many other groups would think the parents are making too big a deal of their own situations, and from all scemas. Too much energy spent on the kids, not enough energy, etc. However, being a modern Western woman who plans on having kids someday, I am personally pleased that my culture is still talking and thinking about this and things are moving in this direction. Not just for my own sanity, but for the well being of my future children. I found the statistic in the dad’s article about dads in the 60’s only spending a couple hours a week with their kids really sad. Both dads and kids missed out on a lot of possible knowledge and skill sharing.

Anyway, interesting stuff.