Building Better Brains August 03 2014 by Rhyan Arthur, comments

Today I want to share a video from a workshop I attended at my son's school called How Brains are Built: The Core Story of Brain Development. It talks about the experiences in a young child's life that can affect their brain development, and what we as caregivers can do to make sure our kids are building the best brains possible.  It's a short, 4-minute animated video and well worth the watch.  I hope you enjoy it as much as I did!

They also gave us a list of 15 things parents and teachers can do to help build healthy brains:

  1. Build your relationship with your child by being responsive and warm (the "serve and return" analogy from the video)
  2. Connect before you direct
  3. Reduce toxic stress in home and at school
  4. Encourage free play (creative and imaginative)
  5. Discourage play that uses toys from movies or shows (scripted toys discourage creative play by telling kids how characters should act)
  6. Encourage play that uses action games or board games
  7. Encourage daily physical activity
  8. Encourage structured activities of music and dance
  9. Encourage problem solving
  10. Allow children to experience frustration and futility (positive stress)
  11. Encourage 10 to 12 hours of sleep
  12. Provide a diet with essential fatty acids (omega 3's)
  13. Allow children age-appropriate choices
  14. Encourage feeling identification, ownership, and expression (it's ok to be mad, not ok to be mean)
  15. Model self-regulation

What a great list! As an owner of a toy shop I was especially interested in points 4, 5 & 6, and I try to keep them in mind as I'm searching for new products to add to the shop.

For more information on this topic visit the Alberta Family Wellness Initiative website.