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The Whole Brain Child at Preshil

Our second Preshil Book Club was a huge success and we are grateful to all who could attend! We enjoyed this opportunity to reconnect and share in a helpful discussion about our first book.

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Without question, this book prompted positive conversations between parents and staff that allowed for the sharing of ideas in the areas of parenting that we all find difficult to navigate. It was refreshing to discuss how insights from The Whole Brain Child may assist with many of these areas and we are pleased to share some valuable insights below:

Helpful Takeaways from the First Book Club:
The Whole-Brain Child by Daniel J. Siegel and Tina Payne Bryson

The Whole-Brain Child focuses on the need to understand how the different parts of the brain work and the importance of integrating them. The authors suggest that harmony between the emotional left brain and logical right brain is fundamental to resolving the emotional and behavioural problems many children experience. Many parents expressed the importance of treating children with empathy and respect in order to achieve this harmony.

Several parents spoke of how using the “connect and redirect” strategy from the book has helped them to better manage their children’s emotional distress. This strategy emphasises the importance of leaning in with empathy and physical warmth when a child is distressed. Some parents found this has proven more productive than attempting to logically reason with a child when they are not in a logical state of mind.

Another key suggestion in the book was to appreciate the emotional value of engaging children in joint physical activity. Many parents shared that this has been a highly effective strategy when helping a child manage overwhelming emotions.

Some of the parents shared a strategy they use to avoid family disagreements and balance a child’s need for autonomy with their need for structure and parental guidance. This strategy involves setting clear boundaries between the decisions that are to be made by the parent and the decisions that the child is free to make. For example, some parents said they find it helpful to decide what to serve their children for dinner and then allow their children to choose how much of it to eat. Another parent spoke of how in their family, it is the parent’s responsibility to decide on the events and structure of the day, but the child’s responsibility to decide how they feel about this. This parent shared that while their child is allowed to respectfully express these emotions, their responses will not determine the activities.

Special thanks to Parent Education Committee Chair, Jessica Halpagoda, for hosting and championing these special events!

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