Nurturing the Mind

Nurturing your child’s mind includes understanding brain development, supporting intellectual development through academics, and nurturing mindfulness.

[Related: What is mindfulness?]

Understanding Brain Development

Every child is unique and grows at his or her own pace, but the more we know about what to expect as our children grow and develop, the more we can do to be better parents. Click on the links below to learn more about brain development in different ages and stages.

[Related: Why do they act that way? Weird kid behavior explained.]

Supporting Academic Achievement

Every child’s needs are different, but it takes more than just being smart to do well in school. Supporting academic success starts at home. Click on the link below to learn more about how you can help your child succeed in school.

Tips for supporting school success >

Nurturing Mindfulness

Mindfulness in both children and adults is a lifelong practice. In recent years, there has been an explosion of mindfulness strategies (including meditation, attention training, yoga, and other techniques) 1 in American culture. Research with adults has clearly shown benefits of mindfulness practices for promoting health, alleviating pain, and reducing depression and anxiety 2.

And new research studies 3 are also showing the benefits of mindfulness practices in children.

By definition, mindfulness is “contemplative practices including structured activities that require individuals to exercise control over their physical and mental activity.” 4

What are the benefits of nurturing mindfulness?

Different mindfulness techniques have different goals. They share a focus on sharpening concentration, attention, building emotion regulation skills to effectively manage stress, and gaining self-knowledge. Some practices consciously focus on building empathy and compassion. 3 When parents nurture mindfulness, both in themselves and in their children, it affects both the emotional and relational development of the child.

In an interview with Gaiam Online, authors of “Everyday Blessings: The Inner Work of Mindful Parenting”, Jon and Myla Kabat-Zinn, had this to say about nurturing mindfulness:

“Studies of the brain have demonstrated that empathy is built into being human. When we attune to the experience of another, our nervous system is actually resonating with the same pattern of neural activity as the other person. If we don’t attend to our children in ways that are emotionally present, we are disrespecting the fundamental threads of connectivity between us. If parents are more emotionally present in a balanced, more mindful way, the evidence is that children grow up to be grounded and functional in dealing with their own emotionally charged situations.”