Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Surprising Brain Rules for Baby

This Huffington Post Article has a somewhat entertaining video and some surprising insights into early childhood brain development. 

Parents, save the money you've been spending on products that won't make your baby one iota smarter! 

DADS!!!  Get off your backsides and clean more!  I know you're going to say, "I clean plenty!  We share the chores 50/50!"  But all the research says you are grossly over-estimating your contribution.  The average distribution of household work is about 70/30.  I'm sorry, but the Lake Wobegon ("Where all the women are strong, all the men are good-looking, and all the children are above average.") effect won't save you here!  Remember, that average includes people like me: a stay-at-home-dad who does all the laundry, all the grocery shopping, all the cleaning, and has changed every poopy diaper for 2 1/2 years ('cept for one when Vivian was tiny and I was away). 

One that gets me is that we should be talking to our very young children in baby-ese.  This is easy for Michelle, who almost naturally goes up an octave and gets this adorable lilt in her voice whenever she sees Vivian.  For me, I feel like a baritone singing first tenor whenever I try it.  I have to keep warm water on hand to keep from getting hoarse. 

I was surprised by the notion that praising your children for being smart is a bad idea.  He makes sense though.  You have to watch almost the entire video before you learn about it.

Empathy.  What a concept.  I've already been trying to train myself to empathize with Vivian when she's upset about something and gearing up for a tantrum.  It works pretty well, actually.  I just have to train myself to think before I grab.  She doesn't understand why running around with an open Sharpie freaks me out.  She thinks it's all in good fun, and when I grab the Sharpie from her, she is confused and angry.  Unfortunately, at this stage she tends to run from me whenever I call her, so I'm sorta stuck.  I usually end up causing a tantrum and then trying to empathize with my toddler who, in her mind, I have just wronged.  Ugh.  Any advice?

All in all, I'm impressed with the advice this guy is spouting, especially since he is basing it on good scientific research.  I like science.  It forces us to confront our own irrational behaviors with the light of facts and reason.  I'll probably end up buying the book, or at least visiting his web site once in a while.

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