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Name : Brain Rules for Baby: How to Raise a Smart and Happy Child from Zero to Five
Author: John Medina
Genre: self help book
Publisher : Pear Press
Date : October 19, 2010
What It Is
This is a book that teaches you on how to raise a smart and happy child from zero to five.
The author bridges the gap between what scientists know and what parents practice.
Through fascinating and funny stories, Medina, a developmental molecular biologist and dad, unravels how a child’s brain develops—and how you can optimize it.
You will view your children—and how to raise them—in a whole new light.
Where nature ends and nurture begins
Why men should do more household chores
What to do when emotions run hot
The importance of your child’s ability to relate to others
Smart and happy are inseparable in the brain
The best predictor of academic performance
The only parenting style proven to produce great kids
What you do right now—before pregnancy, during pregnancy, and through the first five years—will affect your children for the rest of their lives.
John J. Medina is a developmental molecular biologist with special research interests in the isolation and characterization of genes involved in human brain development and the genetics of psychiatric disorders.
Medina has spent most of his professional life as an analytical research consultant, working primarily in the biotechnology and pharmaceutical industries on research issues related to mental health.
He was founding director of the Talaris Research Institute , which supports researchers such as Patricia Kuhl and John Gottman.
He directed Talaris until 2006, and now is the director of the Brain Center for Applied Learning Research at Seattle Pacific University , which has worked on creating learning environments at Woodland Park Zoo.
He is also an affiliate professor of Bioengineering at the University of Washington School of Medicine.
Dr. Medina writes the column “Molecules of the Mind” for Psychiatric Times .
Dr. Medina earned his doctorate in molecular biology from Washington State University and is a national faculty fellow of Continuing Medical Education , Inc., of Irvine, CA. In 2004, he was appointed to the rank of affiliate scholar at the National Academy of Engineering.
Books he has written include:
“Brain Rules for Baby: How to Raise a Smart and Happy Child from Zero to Five.
Brain Rules: 12 Principles for Surviving and Thriving at Work, Home, and School .
The Outer Limits of Life . Nashville: Oliver Nelson.
Depression: How it happens, How it’s healed
What You Need to Know About Alzheimer’s . Oakland, CA
The Clock of Ages: Why We Age, How We Age, Winding Back the Clock .
The Genetic Inferno: Inside the Seven Deadly Sins
Uncovering the Mystery of AIDS
Of Serotonin, Dopamine and Antipsychotic Medications
What It Talks About
This book summary will discuss the numerous scientifically proven ways to help raise your child to be both smart and happy. The themes and advice of the book can be boiled down to a single sentence: Be willing to enter into your child’s world on a regular basis and to empathize with what your child is feeling. This information mainly applies to children zero to five years old.
The book summary is divided into the following sections:
During pregnancy, babies develop an active mental life in the womb. A stressed mom can cause the baby to feel stressed. It’s important during pregnancy to eat right, stay fit, and get lots of pedicures. The four main things that affect baby brain development in the womb are: weight, nutrition, stress, and exercise.
In the first half of pregnancy, babies want to be left alone.
Don’t waste your money on products claiming to improve a preborn baby’s IQ, temperament, or personality. None of them have been proven to work.
In the second half of pregnancy, babies begin to perceive and process a great deal of sensory information. They can smell the perfume you wear and the garlic on the pizza you just ate.
The mother-to-be can boost baby brain development in four ways gaining the proper weight, eating a balanced diet, exercising moderately, and reducing stress.
Having a happy marriage is critical to a baby’s happiness. You will surely feel a greater level of stress during your transition into parenthood. Sustained exposure to hostility and stress can erode a baby’s IQ and ability to handle stress, sometimes dramatically. The four most common sources of marital conflict in the transition to parenthood are: sleep loss, social isolation, unequal workload, and depression. Talk these four areas over together, and have a plan on how you will deal with each one. James Baldwin’s quoted, “Children have never been good at listening to their parents, but they have never failed to imitate them.” Your child’s brain seeks safety above all. By bonding and spending close and large amounts of time together, you will help your child feel safe. Empathy works so well because it does not require a solution. It requires only understanding. According to behaviorist John Gottman, couples that regularly practice empathy see stunning results.
More than 80% of couples experience a huge drop in marital quality during the transition to parenthood.
Hostility between parents can harm a newborn’s developing brain and nervous system.
Empathy reduces the hostility and increases understanding.
The four most common sources of martial turbulence are: sleep loss, social isolation, unequal distribution of household workload, and depression. Talk over the most common sources of marital turbulence.
The brain cares about survival before learning. If a baby feels threatened or unsafe, learning will not occur. Five important character traits that you can help your child develop are
a)The desire to explore
The topic was raised of what traits separate creative, visionary leaders from less imaginative, managerial types who carry them out. Over 3,000 executives were studied and the following common characteristics were found:
An ability to associate creatively. They could see connections between seemingly unrelated concepts, problems or questions.
An annoying habit of consistently asking “what if.” They also asked “why not” and “how come you’re doing it this way.”
An unquenchable desire to tinker and experiment.
The biggest common denominator of these three traits is a willingness to explore. To summarize, the three traits in one word: ‘inquisitiveness.’ A lot of children ask tons of questions when they are 4 years old. And by the time they are 7 years old, they stop asking many questions because their teachers value the right answers more than provocative questions. By high school, students rarely show inquisitiveness. And by the time they’re grown up in the corporate world, the curiosity has been drummed out of them.
A study found that children, who could delay gratification for 15 minutes on average, scored 210 points higher on their SATs than children who lasted one minute. The ability to focus is critical.
Creative entrepreneurs have a stronger ability to cope with ambiguity in life. Can you predict creativity in kids? Psychologist Paul Torrance created a 90-minute exam called the Torrance Tests of Creative Thinking. The test has been taken by millions of people and is the go-to standard for evaluating creativity in children.
At birth, babies can distinguish between the sounds of every language that has ever been invented. We are born with the capacity to speak any language. But by the age of one, babies can no longer distinguish only between the sounds of every language on the planet. Human learning in its most native state is primarily a relational exercise. By helping your child develop their verbal communication, they will be able to relate to the people around them. You can literally rewire a child’s brain through exposure to relationships.
e) Decoding nonverbal communication
Learning sign language may boost cognition by 50 percent. Learning how to read and decode another person’s face can take years of experience. The only way to improve this skill is by interacting with other people. That’s why babies need human time in their earliest years and not computer or television time.
There are aspects of your child’s intelligence about which you can do nothing; the genetic contribution is about 50%.
IQ is related to several important childhood outcomes, but it is only one measure of intellectual ability.
Intelligence has many ingredients, including a desire to explore, self-control, creativity, and communication skills
4.Smart Baby Soil
Breast-feeding is a critical brain booster. It is also wise to talk to your baby a lot because it will help increase their IQ.
Maybe the biggest takeaway from this section is to “Praise effort, not IQ.” So what will happen when you say, “You’re so smart” to your child? You child will begin to perceive mistakes as failures.
They may become more concerned with looking smart than with actually learning something. They may be less willing to confront the reasons behind any deficiencies, less willing to make an effort. They will have a hard time admitting failure.
What you could say instead could be, “You really worked hard.” Instead of praising your student for being smart, praise them for working hard. You could also say, “I’m so proud of you. You must have really studied hard.” This way, they will simply perceive errors as problems to be solved, then go to work on figuring it out. Kids praised for effort complete 50% more hard math problems than kids praised for intelligence.
You should also provide guided play every day. Give them lightly guided, open-ended play; not open-ended use of electronics. TV before 2 years old is harmful because it can lead to hostility and trouble focusing.
A preschooler who watches three hours of TV per day is 30% more likely to have attention problems than a child who watches no TV. All your child needs is a fresh box of crayons, a plain cardboard box, and two hours. Encouraging an active lifestyle is one of the best gifts you can give your child. Exercise can increase executive function scores anywhere from 50% to 100%.
Another critical area of discussion is on being too lax or hyper-parenting. Three dangers of hyper-parenting are:
Extreme expectations stunt higher-level thinking.
Pressure can extinguish curiosity.
Continual anger or disappointment becomes toxic stress.
Write this across your heart: parenting is not a race. Kids are not proxies for adult success. Focus on open-ended play, lots of verbal interaction, and praising efforts- which are all statistically guaranteed to boost your child’s intellect from almost any starting point.
Here’s what helps learning: breast-feeding, talking to your children, guided play, and praising effort rather than intelligence.
The brain is more interested in surviving than in getting good grades in school.
Pressuring children to learn a subject before their brains are ready is only harmful.
Activities likely to hurt early learning include overexposure to television, learned helplessness, and being sedentary.
Babies are born with their own temperament. A massive research project was conducted called the Grand Study, which examined what consistently makes people happy.
The results showed that your relationships to other people, is what truly matters. The more intimate the relationship, the better. About 40% of married adults describe themselves as “very happy,” whereas 23% of the never-married do. Other behaviors that predict happiness include:
A steady dose of altruistic acts.
Making lists of things for which you are grateful, which generates feelings of happiness in the short term.
Cultivating a general “attitude of gratitude,” which generates feelings of happiness in the long term.
Sharing novel experiences with a loved one.
Deploying a ready “forgiveness reflex” when loved ones slight you.
Learning how to make friends, and how to keep friends, is what you will need to help teach your child if you want them to be happy. Help teach them to be nice, sensitive, kind, outwardly focused, and forgiving.
The single best predictor of happiness? Having friends.
Children who learn to regulate their emotions have deeper friendship than those who don’t.
No single area of the brain processes all emotions. Widely distributed neural networks play critical roles.
Emotions are incredibly important to the brain. They act like Post-in notes, helping the brain identify.
6.Happy baby Soil
When your children’s emotions become intense, enough to push you out of your comfort zone, there are a couple factors to help you cope:
A demanding but warm parenting style- warm parents mostly communicate their affections for their kids, while hostile parents mostly communicate their rejection of their kids. The best area to be in is responsive and demanding.
Comfort with your own emotions.
Tracking your child’s emotions in a journal.
Verbalizing emotions with a discussion such as the following, “You seem sad. Are you sad? I think I know why. You’re sad because Sally got all the presents and you only got one. Is that true? We have a word for that feeling, honey; do you want to know what worth that is? We call it being jealous. You wanted Sally’s presents, and you couldn’t have them. You were jealous.” Labeling emotions helps to calm big feelings.
Running toward emotions. Wise parents do not judge emotions, they acknowledge the reflexive nature of emotions, know that behavior is a choice, and they see a crisis as a teachable moment. They think a “potential catastrophe” can instead be a “potential lesson.”
Two tons of empathy. Empathy takes a lot of practice. For example, if your child is thirsty but the drinking fountain is broken, you can say something similar to, “You’re thirsty, aren’t you? Getting a big gulp of cold water would feel so good. I wish that drinking fountain was working so I could lift you up and let you drink as much as you wanted.”
Your infant needs you to watch, listen, and respond.
How a parent deals with their toddlers’ intense emotions is a huge factor in how happy they will be as adults.
Children are happiest if their parents are demanding and warm.
Emotions should be acknowledged and named, but not judged.
The following tips were given on how to raise a moral baby:
Babies are born with moral sensibilities
Discipline+warm heart= moral kid
Let your yes be yes and your no be no
Rules and discipline require parts: clear, consistent rules and rewards
You are warm and accepting when administering rules
Every time your child follows the rules, you offer praise
You also praise the absence of bad behavior
Explain the rules. Without rationale: “Don’t touch the dog, or you’ll get a timeout.” With rationale: “Don’t touch the dog, or you’ll get a timeout. The dog has a bad temper, and I don’t want you to get bitten.”
Regarding the topic of punishment:
It must be punishment
It must be consistent
It must be emotionally safe
It must be swift
Here’s an example of swift punishment: If your child has a tantrum and takes his shoes off in a store, instead of arguing with him to put them back on, let him walk outside a few feet in the snow. It will take about 2 seconds for him to say, “Mommy, I want my shoes on.” This is the most effective punishment strategy known.
Your child has in innate sense of right and wrong.
In the brain, regions that process emotions and regions that guide decision-making work together to mediate moral awareness.
Moral behavior develops over time and requires a particular kind of guidance.
How parents handle rules is key: realistic, clear expectations; consistent, swift consequences for rule violation; and praise for good behavior.
Children are most likely to internalize moral behavior if parents explain why a rule and its consequences exist.
Best Place to Buy The Book
The best place I recommend you buy the book is on Amazon. The price there is fair and according to my research, it is the most trusted online store at the moment. It will also be very convenient for you to buy there if you were planning to do more online shopping today.
Buy the book from amazon here
I found the book really interesting and a great guide to adults in the road to parenthood.
Feel free to leave in your comments as well
as your questions.
I hope you found this review useful to you.