Brain Rules for Baby by John Medina – I think this is a great book for anyone who has or who is planning to have kids.
• The greatest pediatric brain-boosting technology in the world is probably a plain cardboard box, a box of crayons, and two hours. The worst is probably your TV.
• Kids who attend preschool academically outperformed the controls in virtually every way you can measure performance, from IQ and language tests in the early years to standardized achievement assessments and literacy exams in the later years.
• Researchers today are at a complete loss to explain nearly 2/3 of all birth defects. Indeed, only a quarter of all known birth defects have been tied to a DNA problem.
• Glial cells make up 90% of the brain cells inside your child’s head. They give the brain its structure and help process information. Glial is Greek for glue. The second type of cell is the neuron which makes up 10% of the brain. That is probably where the myth that we only use 10% of our brain comes from. One neuron can have 15,000 connections.
• A baby’s brain will create 1.8 million neuronal connections per second to make a complete brain.
• In humans, the brain is the last organ to finish developing.
• The Moro Reflex is the only fear that isn’t a learned response.
• What you eat during your pregnancy can determine what foods your baby will like.
• Immediately after the baby is born rub her with your own amniotic fluid before washing with soap and water.
• 4 things proven to help a babies brain during pregnancy
o Maintain a healthy weight
o Eat healthy
o Minimize stress
• A Harvard study showed the mothers who consumed fish oil had smarted babies than those who didn’t.
• The big one is exercise and should be a part of pregnancy.
• Women who exercise have a much easier time giving birth than obese women. For fit women the pushing phase of birth lasted only 27 minutes. Unfit women had to push for almost an hour. Fit women perceived birth to be less painful.
• If you are afraid of labor you owe it to yourself to become fit as possible.
• Fit mothers tend to give birth to smarter babies than obese mothers.
• In the 3rd trimester wind down the exercise intensity a bit
• Our species – homo sapiens – have been making babies for 250,000 years.
• Children have never been good at listening to their parents, but they have never failed to imitate them. Lead by example!
• Fluid intelligence – the capacity for reasoning and problem solving.
• Visionaries – people who why, why not, how come you’re doing it this way? People who are constantly asking “what if”
• Very curious and on a mission to discover
• The biggest common denominator of future entrepreneurs was a willingness and desire to explore.
• The ability to delay gratification is a much greater predictor of future success than IQ scores. Pain now for pleasure later.
• Kids who learned sign language may boost cognition by up to 50%
• All people of the world show universal basic emotions of facial expression; happiness, sadness, surprise, disgust, anger, and fear.
• Fusiform gyrus – sole purpose in the brain is to process faces
• Praise a child’s effort – not their results
• “He not only took great care and untiring care of me…he also most wisely refuse to coddle me, and made me feel that I must face myself to hold my own with other boys and prepare to do the rough work in the world.”
• There are 4 efforts that you will want in your behavioral formula
o Talking to your baby
o Guided play
o Praising effort rather than accomplishment
• No TV for kids under 2!!
• Stress can marvelously focus the mind
• If America new how important breast milk is for the brain of babies, lactating mothers would be enshrined, not embarrassed.
• Breast feeding makes babies smarter
• Breast milk contains the omega 3 fats mothers should be taking
• Breast feed exclusively for six months, continue breast feeding as kids start taking solids and wean after one year
• Speak to your baby as much as you can
• The more you talk to your kids the better their linguistic abilities will be
• Talking is like fertilizer to their neurons
• Always praise effort and not the result – You did great, you must have worked so hard.
• I have friends on both sides of the issue and like to stand with my friends – clever political joke answer
• No TV before 2 – Americans 2 years of age or older now spend an average of four hours and 49 minutes per day in front of a TV. Sickening
• After the age of 5 interactive educational tv shows can be of benefit
• Kids with their own tv score lower on tests
• Childhood obesity is 3 times more common in gamers than not. Kids are even starting to get arthritis
• Exercise is excellent for the brain – increasing executive function scores from 50-100 percent
• The best results occur if you exercise with your kids
• Encouraging an active lifestyle is the best gift you can give your kids.
• Write this across your heart before your child comes into the world; Parenting is not a race. Kids are not proxies of adult success. Competition can be inspiring, but comparing your kids with your friends’ kids will not get them, or you, where you want to go.
• There are wonderful ways to maximize your child’s brain power. Focus on open ended play, lots of verbal interaction, and praising effort – fertilizers guaranteed to boost your child’s intellect.
• The only thing that really matters in life is your relationships to other people.
• Friendships are a greater predictor of happiness than any other variable.
• Keys to happiness
o A steady dose of altruistic acts
o Making lists of things you are grateful for
o Sharing novel experiences with a loved one
o Being able to forgive loved ones
• We are more likely to make lasting friendships with nice people. To make friends regulate emotions and have empathy
• If you want lots of friends and want to be happy learn to regulate your emotions and teach your children to regulate theirs
• Brain cortex – senses and thinking
• Detect, react to, promote, and provide instruction about emotion regulation – it will have a great predictive power over your baby’s future happiness
• Responsive plus demanding parenting is best – these parents are demanding but care a great deal about their kids. They explain the rules and encourage their children to state their reactions to them. They encourage high levels of independence, yet see that children comply with family values. These parents have great communication skills with their children.
• It is good to help kids label how they are feeling
• Four best attitudes towards emotions
o Do not judge emotions
o Acknowledge the reflex nature of emotions
o Know that behavior is a choice, emotion is not.
o See crisis as a teaching moment
• Acknowledge your child’s feelings and empathize with them. You’re thirsty aren’t you. I wish I could get you a big gulp of water but we just can’t right now.
• Hemingway’s all time favorite novel was 6 words. “For Sale. Baby shoes, never used.”
• Clear, consistent rules and rewards
• Swift punishment
• Explain the rules
• The other day my son had a tantrum in the phone store and took his shoes and socks off. Instead of arguing with him I let him walk barefoot in the snow. He immediately wanted his shoes back on. This is the most effective punishment strategy known.
• Punishment must be firm and consistent
• The author does not believe in spanking
• The punishment must be administered in an environment where the child feels safe.
• Always give a reason with a rule. The worst reason is “because I say so”
• Play room – place for painting, musical instruments, clothing, blocks, picture books, balls, enough to let loose and explore in a safe setting.