Welcome to Your Child’s Brain: How the Mind Grows from Conception to College by Sandra Aamodt Download (read online) free eBook .pdf.epub.kindle

Welcome to Your Child's Brain: How the Mind Grows from Conception to College

How children think is one of the most enduring mysteries-and difficulties-encountered by parents. In an effort to raise our children smarter, happier, stronger, and better, parents will try almost anything, from vitamins to toys to DVDs. But how can we tell marketing from real science? And what really goes through your kid’s growing mind-as an infant, in school, and durin




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    Brian

    Mar 03, 2012

    rated it
    really liked it

     · 
    review of another edition

    Recommends it for:
    future parents (current parents don’t have the time)

    (4.0) Good stuff, fairly well researched, more actionable and less nerdy than What’s Going on in There

    If interested, strongly recommend What’s Going on in There? : How the Brain and Mind Develop in the First Five Years of Life, which I thought was even better…though more nerdy and more focused on the science than on recommendations for parents. This book is certainly more focused on giving parents actionable advice. In fact, they call out tips for parents in specific sections so they’re easy t

    If interested, strongly recommend What’s Going on in There? : How the Brain and Mind Develop in the First Five Years of Life, which I thought was even better…though more nerdy and more focused on the science than on recommendations for parents. This book is certainly more focused on giving parents actionable advice. In fact, they call out tips for parents in specific sections so they’re easy to see (probably even easier in the paper version I imagine). I found these helpful and always justified with research in nearby text (though footnotes would be a LOT better here than the annoying notes at the end that refer back to text in the chapter…no page numbers, no notation in text to indicate there are citations available 🙁 ).

    The book debunks ‘myths’, shares interesting tidbits and has lots of DOs and DON’Ts that should be easy to understand and follow for any parent interested enough to read the book. And everything’s backed up by research (I’m taking this a little on faith because of bad citation scheme–see above).

    The only things I didn’t like (except bad science–see below for that):
    * the magazine-like quotation snippets injected in the middle of text. at least in ereader. they’re really disruptive and don’t help at all. We’re already reading the book: don’t need teasers!
    * the cartoon figures. they don’t add much, though i kinda like the style. but they just feel like fillers like we were trying to hit a certain page count (same with the teaser quotations).

    But onto the good stuff!

    Some of the corrections to misconceptions (kinda don’t like using myth to mean that 🙁 ):
    * eating low-mercury sushi isn’t bad for baby: freezing kills parasites and the omega 3s are so good for their developing brains!
    * small amounts of caffeine are actually fine–they say up to equivalent of 3 cups of coffee per day!
    * crawling is not prerequisite to walking (1/3 of jamaican babies don’t; 100 years ago, 40% of american babies didn’t)
    * birth order correlation with personality type bunk when you control for family size and socioeconomic status

    Some of the tidbits I liked:
    * ages 3-8, children’s brain tissue uses twice as much energy as adult (per gram tissue i think?). 5 year old: 1/2 of caloric needs go to brain
    * 14 month old start to understand others’ intent…will mimic intent (adult had hands wrapped up and tapped head to a box to get reward…toddler will use hands)
    * seems children under 7 can pretty much learn to speak a language as well as a native. after that, decays till about 17, when ability is about the same through adulthood
    * children don’t really dream like adults till age six, and not till 8 or 9 do they reach frequency of adulthood
    * even though boys get better math scores on SAT, women earn better grades in college math courses
    * outdoor play significantly decreases chance of nearsightedness in children
    * newborns see better in peripheral than foveal/central region!
    * babies who are fed bitter non-milk (soy or non-soy formula) like broccoli more later on
    * children can’t recall prior mental states (e.g. hungry child once fed can’t remember being hungry before) (age 3?)
    * drama classes strongly correlated with better social adaptation and other social skills. perhaps due to trying to ‘inhabit the character of another person’
    * reminding people of stereotypes can affect performance: if they’re included in positive stereotype they do better, if negative, they do worse
    * testosterone improves mental rotation skills (even as short term as a testosterone injection in women!)

    DOs:
    * massaging, stretching, bathing infants, swinging, tossing, wearing in sling: sensory input and lots of muscle adjustments make stronger
    * spinning infant in a chair speeds motor development
    * can ‘teach’ sitting by putting child in sitting position, propping up
    * when reading, ask open-ended questions (not just yes/no or pointing questions) and respond to baby’s best attempts to communicate (whatever form they take) encourage communication/language skills
    * have “conversations” with baby…taking turns, responding with comment or touch. this encourages baby to keep trying to communicate
    * introduce children to secondary languages early (best is before 7)
    * eat veggies during pregnancy (babies will like it more). mothers who drank carrot juice had babies who liked carrots more than those who didn’t
    * eat fish during pregnancy!
    * combine new flavors with flavors baby likes (e.g. mix in with yogurt). they’ll like the new flavors more eventually. or can give preferred flavor first, then the other within 9 seconds, but mixing seems easier. 😉
    * work on multi-step tasks/games with children to help them learn self-control, planning, thinking about future, ignore/recover from distractions
    * teach children to exercise self-control through structured games (e.g. board games) that force certain behavior to be fun
    * play, enjoy what they do, get excited and engaged in certain activities, whatever they are helps them learn to self-regulate
    * exercise at least 1 hour per day, moving around (active kids have higher IQs, not to mention health benefits)
    * dora, blues clues for preschoolers okay, helps with language
    * explicitly coach children on emotions: label and validate their emotions when they have them, suggest constructive ways to cope with them…these children are much better at regulating emotions later in life
    * encourage frequent breaks during studying, vary times and places of study…learn much more that way. note: might do worse on practice problems/tests if spacing out, but more learning is taking place.
    tie success/failure to effort, not innate characterstics. tell them they tried hard, studied hard, worked for it…rather than that they’re so smart/athletic. they’ll deal better with setbacks and try harder, be more successful
    * TIME OUTs: studies of behavior extinction in lab animals. remove all attention so children don’t associate bad behavior with getting more attention. immediately follow behavior with the time out. no lecturing (that’s attention).
    * small, consistent rewards for small achievements (pat on back, words of encouragement better than money, cookies). also give them control over parts of their lives: decide what’s for dinner, stay up a few minutes late one night, pick destination for family outing.
    * ignore unwanted behavior: ignore it and it will go away. if she whines, pretend you didn’t hear. but you HAVE to stick with the approach and don’t give in, they’ll just learn to be persistent.

    DON’Ts:
    * chronic moderate noise during pregnancy can actually cause hearing loss (e.g. living near freeway)
    * offer dessert as reward for eating well. they just prefer the dessert over whatever they have to eat
    * even tease girls about weight: way more likely to be overweight have eating disorder
    * encourage overly ambitious tasks/games, lest child become frustrated rather than feel achievement
    * TV before 2.5: poor language development (babies/infants need interaction), and even then pick the right shows: dora, sesame street, blues clues good; teletubbies BAD
    * be overprotective. overly protective parents of high-reactive children interfere with children’s development of coping skills

    Okay, unfortunately, there were some pretty bad math/science errors:
    * “Imagine that genetic and environmental influences were independent of one another. In that case, you could guess the likelihood that a child born to criminal parents /and/ raised in a bad environment would commit a crime, simply by adding the two percentages to get 18.8 percent.” They should know better…you kidding me? consider if it was 75% and 75%….easy probability stuff here
    * “…sound, a set of pressure waves [good] that move through th air the way a splash ripples across a pond” you’ve got to be kidding me. those are actually two classic examples of two different kinds of waves, pressure vs transverse!
    * had some cool figures, but they weren’t all appropriate to this text (or were missing valuable captions…one in particular showing touch recepters but doesn’t say what each one does (Meissner’s corpuscle, Merkel’s disk, Ruffni’s ending, Pacinian corpuscle–what are they?)
    * [talking about how play is fun in many species, and it wouldn’t be that way unless it provided some advantage] “On these grounds, it seems that play must have an adaptive purpose, providing some survival advantage”…gets natural selection wrong: might be a reproductive advantage rather than survival!
    …more

    Nick

    Aug 12, 2015

    rated it
    really liked it

     · 
    review of another edition

    A very useful book, written in a down-to-earth style to maximise its practical use to parents, but with a fair amount of neuroscientific explanation for those who are interested. It challenges myths such as the presumed link between breastfeeding and IQ, the notion that listening to Mozart makes babies more intelligent, and the idea that parents are the architects of their children’s personalities.

    One of the recurring themes of the book is that nature and nurture are inseparably intertwined, an

    One of the recurring themes of the book is that nature and nurture are inseparably intertwined, and thus the debate about whether environment or genetics plays a bigger role in determining behaviour and personality is in some respects a false one. Your baby’s genetic predispositions affect your parenting style and thus her environment, while her environment affects how her genes express themselves. This was a particular revelation for me: it means that adaptations parents have made to their environment can be passed to their children – a much quicker mechanism than natural selection.

    Another important idea is that of ‘dandelion children’ (or maskrosbarn, the Swedish term from which the expression originates). Dandelion children can thrive practically anywhere, and use whatever they have at hand to aid their development. The authors believe that in most children, in most respects, are dandelions. Given a reasonably supportive environment, or even a mildly unsupportive one, they will thrive in most ways. That’s something of a weight of the mind of parents.

    However, there are some things parents can do to help. These are some of those that most struck me:

    1. Praise children for what they do (effort), never for what they are. Children who believe intelligence can be developed and improved do better than those who believe it is an innate quality. The authors criticise what they call the ‘self-esteem movement’ of the 1980s and 1990s which they believe is responsible for a lot of bad parenting. It was based, they say, on dodgy scientific research that suggested self-esteem led to success, rather than the reverse. Children above the age of six react negatively to excessive praise.

    2. As I’d read before, self-control in very young children (the ability to decline one marshmallow now to earn two later) is one of the best predictors of academic achievement. This can be helped along, to some extent, by role-playing games, such as pretending to be a fireman.

    3. Learning a second language in early childhood can bring a host of unexpected benefits, including a better ability to see the perspective of other people, stronger self-control and even the likelihood of retaining mental faculties later in old age. Starting to learn your first foreign language at 11, as I did, could hardly be worse-timed: this is the very age when your brain’s sponge-like abilities to absorb language have shut down and you’re forced to study the laborious grown-up way.

    4. The ability to handle stress later in life is better if exposed to manageable amounts of it (but not too much) in childhood.

    5. The authors believe that TV and so-called educational baby videos have absolutely zero value for children under the age of two and can be detrimental in reducing time for other activities that help to develop their brains. France recently banned programming directed at infants.

    6. Playing outside for an hour a day reduces the risk of short-sightedness.

    These are just a handful of the insights offered by this helpful and humourous book, which gave me a scientific basis for some beliefs I held anyway as well as challenging a few ideas I accepted too uncritically. I wanted to believe that listening to Mozart made babies more intelligent, for example, but it seems it just isn’t so: if it has any benefit, it’s an indirect one in improving their moods and making them more receptive to learning.
    …more

    Siim

    Sep 22, 2016

    rated it
    it was amazing

     · 
    review of another edition

    Shelves:
    children

    This is the perfect kind of child-rearing book. The authors provide down-to-earth advice backed by a background of having read (it seems) most of the studies on raising healthy babies and toddlers.

    Some things that are etched into my mind:
    1) Relax, you have less influence than you think. Unless you provide very negative environmental influences, like consuming alcohol during pregnancy, leaving your child to leave in absolute poverty, raising your child with criminal influences or (compounding) al

    Some things that are etched into my mind:
    1) Relax, you have less influence than you think. Unless you provide very negative environmental influences, like consuming alcohol during pregnancy, leaving your child to leave in absolute poverty, raising your child with criminal influences or (compounding) all of these, children are able to grow up pretty much themselves.
    2) Eating raw fish during pregnancy has more benefits (Omega 3) than risks. Other myths like this are debunked to, again, help expecting parents breathe more freely.
    3) The best predictor of bad eyesight is spending less than an hour a day outdoors.
    4) Praise your kids for what they do, rather than their innate abilities. A lot has been said about raising kids’ self-esteem, but that of itself is no predictor of later success. Rather the causality is the opposite – success leads to high self-esteem, which the “self-esteem” movement of past decades did not account for.
    5) Baby videos have zero value and can even have adverse effects

    10/10 for starting the book with a spoiler of insights to come, disguised in a quiz.
    …more