Couple of years ago, I read Brain Rules: 12 Principles for Surviving and Thriving at Work, Home, and School.
It was an excellent self-help book with scientific reasonings.
When I discovered I would soon be having a baby, I bought the book sequel - Brain Rules for Baby.
It is once again another excellent book.
It teaches new parents how to raise a smart and happy child from zero to five (years old).
I shall abide my parenting methods from concepts in the book :)
- Leave the baby alone
- Don’t waste money on pre-born baby products
- The only proven brain boosters are:
- Weight - Gain proper weight (correlates with higher IQ)
- Nutrition - Folic Acid, Omega-3 (from fish), and more fruits & vegetables
- Stress - Releasing stress hormones is like cruise missiles
Smart Baby: Seeds
- Human intelligence has 2 essential components: ability to record information and capacity to adapt that information to unique situations
- Genetic contribution is about 50%
- Many ingredients make up the human intelligence stew
- But these 5 are the main ingredients:
- The desire to explore
- Verbal communication
- Interpreting nonverbal communication
Smart Baby: Soil
- Firstly, create an environment of safety. A safe harbour.
- Brain boosters:
- Breast-feed for a year
- Talk to your baby a lot (2,100 words per hour)
- No TV (or other digital devices) before age 2
Happy Baby: Seeds
- Money increases happiness only when it lifts people out of poverty - around $50,000 a year would be sufficient, and any more would not help as much
- Single best predictor of happiness: having friends
- Learn to regulate emotions - will have deeper friendships
- Emotions are incredibly important to the brain. They act like Post-it notes, helping the brain identify, filter, and prioritize.
Happy Baby: Soil
- How you deal with your toddlers’ intense emotions is a huge factor in how happy your child will be as an adult
- Acknowledge, name, and empathise with emotions
- Only 1 parenting style product terrific kids:
- Demanding and warm (Authoritative)
- Warm parents communicate their affection
- Demanding parents exert behavioural control e.g. rules
- Punishment has several limitations:
- Suppresses behaviour but not the child’s knowledge of how to misbehave
- Without guidance, the child won’t know what the replacement behaviour should be
- Arouses negative emotions - risk counterproductively and real damage to your connection with your child
- How to punish:
- Be firm - not soften
- Be consistent - administered every time the rule is broken
- Be swift - immediately, not even 1 second delay
- Be emotionally safe - administered in the warm atmosphere (that is you care about them)
- Praise for good behaviour
- Rules must be explained with rationale
- If not, it will sound like a command
- Helps them internalise moral behaviour
- Hitting is a form of lazy parenting
- No one-size-fits-all answer for sleep issues
- Science could not provide much answers to this area!
- 2 styles:
- Decide for yourself:
- Do you think baby’s wants and needs are the same thing during the first year (when they cry)?
- First 6 months there is no patten when they want to sleep
- At 6 months, choose a plan (NAP or CIO), evaluate your efforts, and get ready to change your plan.
- Reconstitute a vigorous social structure eg. Parent Support Groups, hosts get-togethers
- Training in empathy reflex with partner - verbalize emotions
- If you fight in front of your children, reconcile in front of them
- Create a Chocolate Factory (playroom)
- Lots of choices
- A place for drawing, painting, music, …
- Anything where a child can be safely let loose, joyously free to explore whatever catches her fancy
- Play “opposite day” - train executive function
- Make play plans
- Praise them for their hard work, not for being talented
- Trade for digital time
- Category I time is for recreational experiences - games, web surfing, video watching
- Kids could “buy” a certain amount of Category I time with time spent reading, etc
- Verbally speculate on other people - train in empathy
- Read together
- Expose them to music - helps in maintaining friendship