More About How to Promote Child Development
All children depend on learning for their development. Luckily children are born to be amazing learning machines—their brains growing and forming at a staggering rate of 1,800,000 new connections per second when their Learning Switch is turned on.
How can you, as a parent, best support and promote child development that is in harmony with how your child’s brain is designed to grow?
What activities are good for your child’s development?
There are dozens of ideas and approaches out there as to what parents should do with their kids and what children development activities should be. Which advice should you follow?
Developmental Milestones Are NOT the Focus
With the Anat Baniel Method, we do not focus on trying to have a child accomplish a specific developmental milestone at a given time. We do not advocate for you to try to accelerate your child’s development since it pushes your child to perform specific skills before his or her brain has the necessary underlying neural networks to be able to perform those skills.
In other words, the brain needs to first reach a level of maturity that makes it possible for the child to do whatever skill she or he is ready to learn and to master.
For example, we do not advocate practices such as “tummy time” or flash cards for babies. This can create great stress for the parent and distress for the child and derail the developmental process that may result in unintended limitations and challenges for the child in the future.
Child Development is Unique to Each Child
Every child’s path of development is unique, resulting from the incredibly complex processes in the brain, involving the creation of billions of new connections. At the same time the underlying processes and conditions needed for successful brain development in kids are the same for all children.
Anat Baniel has developed powerful, practical strategies for improving your abilities and building a better, stronger brain supported by the neuroscience of brain plasticity.
—Dr. Michael Merzenich, PhD, Neuroscientist, member of the National Academy of Sciences and National Academy of Medicine
What Can You Do to Promote Child Development?
1. When interacting with your child to help him or her learn or improve any skill, be it physical, cognitive, emotional, or social, apply one or more of the Nine Essentials. With these scientifically based tools that are validated by current brain research, you will create optimal conditions for your child’s brain to do its job of creating new patterns, at the highest levels, in any activity your child is doing and in any area of your child’s development. Your child will become a brilliant learner and will develop powerfully, leaving you and all concerned to enjoy your child and delight in this miraculously unfolding process and progress.
2. Avoid the temptation to try and force your child to do what they can’t do. The urge to do it is understandable, and often times encouraged by professional authorities. Even if your child progresses in this way, unbeknownst to you and others, your child’s brain is quickly also learning the patterns of its limitations. Attempting to have the child do what she is not ready to do yet will tend to put a limit on how far she will progress. Most people will assign those limitations to her condition, rather than to the process of intervention.
3. Observe what your child is currently doing. Follow your child’s guidance as to what is interesting for them, and engage your child in those activities while applying some of the Nine Essentials. By doing that you will wake up your child’s brain to resume the process of differentiation, creating new possibilities for your child.
4. When your child integrates these new connections into a new skill, or higher quality of performance, do not ask your child to do it again. Do not clap. Allow your child to stay focused internally and have it be his or her experience. This will empower further the process of learning and the creation of what can seem like miracles.
The Nine Essentials help my kids develop skills in all aspects of life, while learning them eager for new knowledge.
—Gabi Piccioni, Mother of two typically developing kids
The Story of Jody: Using the Essentials to Help with Reading
Jody was a healthy, active, six-year-old girl when her mother brought her to the ABM Center for a consultation. The teachers in her school noticed that Jody, who was obviously a very intelligent girl, was starting to lag behind other kids in her ability to read and write.
While working with Jody, I noticed that she was fast to try to respond to any of my questions and to the writing and reading tasks I gave her. I came to realize that, unfortunately, many schools compute the speed at which the child comes up with a response into their measurements of success. This is true even for very young children. I also noticed that the moment I gave Jody a task, she seemed to “go out of her body” in such a way that she was unaware of herself and what she was feeling or doing.
In the session I had with Jody, I focused on two Essentials: Movement with Attention and Slow. Movement with Attention to what we feel as we move wakes up the brain to create new connections and patterns at a staggering rate. Slow gives the brain the opportunity to feel and to create the new (i.e., to learn). Fast we can only do what we already know. Once Jody slowed down, I was able to guide her to notice what she was feeling as she was moving. I had her move faster and slower until she could clearly feel the difference.
At that point I resumed our work on writing and reading. To her mom’s amazement, Jody was able to perform better on the tasks we were doing earlier without any further “drilling.” Jody’s brain’s capacity to distinguish, differentiate, and integrate new patterns and to problem solve, had increased very quickly due to the use of these two Essentials.
I then guided Jody’s mom to apply these Essentials right away in as many ways as she could think of in Jody’s daily life. I also recommended she read Move Into Life and Kids Beyond Limits so that she could better understand all Nine Essentials and adopt them in the family’s life.
A few days later we got a call from Jody’s mom telling us that Jody’s teacher told her that Jody had made a huge improvement in her reading and writing skills. She added that Jody was also a lot calmer, was able to listen and concentrate better, and seemed happier and more self-assured. The mom reported that not only was Jody happier and calmer, but she and her husband were feeling a lot more relaxed, greatly enjoying implementing the Essentials in every aspect of their lives.
Watch our video: Brain Development in Kids – Using the Anat Baniel Method to Promote Brain Development in Children.