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The Sweet Spot for Learning

Posted: November 04, 2022

We’ve all set goals, to some degree, throughout our lives. Some were easily achieved while others we just gave up on completing. This is because most plans are either set in the comfort zone or the danger zone. And while our initial motivation generally puts on a path to setting lofty goals, it can lead us to failure. Finding a balance between these two zones is critical in increasing productivity and avoiding stagnation. The “SKILLZ zone” is the optimal place to do this. By teaching children this early on, we can ensure that they have the necessary tools for consistent future successes.

 

We are all very familiar with the comfort zone. This is where we feel secure and have skills in place to help us maintain the status quo. Many people spend a lot of time in this zone because it doesn’t require much change. This is also the place that we withdraw to when we feel panicked or overwhelmed. And although feeling safe is essential, the comfort zone doesn’t allow us space to grow, so we become indifferent to expanding ourselves. This essentially blocks us from learning any new skills that are beneficial to our growth.


Social Glue Utilizing Oxytocin to Strengthen Connection

Posted: October 20, 2022

Oxytocin is best known as the “love chemical” and is released when we feel love. And while it is generally associated with the parent-child bond and more in-depth relationships, it is also significant in overall human connections. With all the stress and pressures of the world today, many children go through life feeling that they need to get better and better, which never seems to be enough. What they need, however, is the develop a healthy oxytocin response, which comes from feeling affection and attachment. This can come from the way important adults in their lives interact with them daily.

 

Although it is naturally occurring in the body, the release of oxytocin is not an automatic reaction. It is, instead, a learned response. Therefore, it’s vital for children to bond in the early years of their life. When they don’t, the fight or flight response because the norm for them, which inhibits their release of oxytocin and decreases their ability to calm down. This is often why children who are abused or neglected have difficulty managing strong emotions. Oxytocin is essentially an anti-stress chemical and it has lasting benefits on children who receive love and trust from adults in their lives.


Leading By Example

Posted: September 29, 2022

Parents have always served as the first, and typically, the most important role model for their children, even though family members, teachers, and coaches have a significant impact on a child’s development as well. However, in the wake of the pandemic, these people have had less of a presence in children’s lives which ultimately left parents without the additional support they typically depend on. Combined with the stressors that have come with the pandemic, parental self-care has taken a back burner and bad habits are being observed and learned by children.

 

The goal of parenting is to raise happy and healthy individuals with strong moral and ethical views and behaviors. For this reason, parents often establish rules for their children to follow, limit exposure to too much media, and work to instill life skills that provide children the tools to be the best version of themselves. But often in times of unrest, parents have difficulty modeling what they expect their children’s behaviors to show. They instead follow the motto “do as I say, not as I do.” Unfortunately, this leads to confusion for children and can often create frustration.


Single Focused Tasks

Posted: September 22, 2022

Productivity is one of the most highly regarded traits in the work world today. And to be productive, multitasking is the go-to method. The ability to switch between multiple tasks rapidly is seen as a special skill, but it stifles productivity and increases the likelihood of making mistakes. But with the growing flood of information and technology, distractions are at the forefront of our every step. And while this is affecting everyone, these distractions are most detrimental to children’s developing brains.

 

The idea of “multitasking” or what is better described as “rapid task switching” impedes not only efficiency but also weakens our ability to transcribe new information into our memory. When we learn new information, we use declarative memory in the hippocampus. When distractions occur during learning, the brain detours from the hippocampus and depends on the striatum, which involves more second nature type tasks. When we switch tasks, our brain must also change from one neural network to another, which consumes mental effort and brain fuel. This keeps children’s developing brains from absorbing new content to the best of their ability.


Attachment-Seeking Reframing How We View Negative Behavior

Posted: September 15, 2022

If the pandemic has taught us anything, it has taught us to slow down and appreciate the moments we have with our loved ones. On the flip side, it has also caused some additional stressors for parents as they have had to play the role of teacher while also fulfilling their work demands. And as we knew before the pandemic, children will do just about anything to get attention. And since secondary attachments to teachers and coaches have become limited, children are looking to their parents to fill their attachment needs. As Rudolf Dreikus said, “Children need attention like a plant needs sun and water.” So, when did we conclude that wanting attention is a bad thing?

 

Parents are busy with a varying number of essential things, and “attention-seeking” behaviors seem to always come at the wrong time. The problem is that the need for attention is a need for attachment, which is a biological need for survival, according to the attachment theory. When children don’t get quality connection time with their parents, they are more likely to act out. Unfortunately, these behaviors trigger parents to punish their child, which gives them the attention they are seeking, whether ideal or not. And although parents don’t intentionally want to reinforce their child's negative attention-seeking behaviors, their response does just that.


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