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Nourishing Families : Nurturing Children’s Emotional Wellbeing and Brain Development

It is important to be able to support your children no matter how old they are and make sense of their ever changing emotions.  All children’s brains undergo key changes according to their age and developmental stage. We know more now because of the new findings in brain research why it is even more important to help them during these key transitions.

Changing emotions are linked to brain development

Parenting children who are going through key developmental changes can be challenging and tough and we will all know too well when it begins to gone wrong and becomes muddled for everyone.

Having an  environment in which they can learn to be themselves and encourage openness can take time to nurture.  

Teach your children emotional resilience – be present and available to them

  • Make time to talk through the tough conversations – remember who is the adult
  • Don’t be too hard on them if they make  mistakes – no one’s perfect and we can offer them some slack so they learn to keep lines of communication open and talk through any misunderstandings
  • Making time to discuss things after a situation -not while your in it can be more insightful and less challenging
  • Be calm and talk to them so they can learn as much as possible from any misunderstanding or human mistakes. 
  • Being good role models helps children no matter their age learn how to manage themselves and their emotions as they mirror adults around them.  Have you ever heard yourself in them!  That’s when it really hits you that they are little sponges who take in all of the environment and we also carry our parents scripts of good and bad remarks or unconscious parenting. .  
  • Using your own past experiences to help your children and teens overcome challenges can be supportive although be sure to keep it contextually on their point. Revealing too much can also work in against parents as children are still maturing.  
Help children to learn how to reflect on behaviour and provide consistency
It is important that you feel equipped to support your children and make sense of their ever changing
emotions as their brains undergo key changes at different ages. We now know so much more about this and can find out more to understand why it is important to be informed.

Helping children as much as we can using new research continually shows up things we can learn from to be better Parents. Children go through key developmental changes can will be challenging and we will all know too well when it has gone wrong! 
 Having an  environment in which they learn which is nurturing and supportive this takes time to develop and its a constant learning for everyone.
Don’t be too hard on them if they make  mistakes : No one’s perfect including adults!
Make time to discuss things in a calm way and talk to them so they can learn as much as possible from mistakes.  

Being good role models helps children no matter their age learn how to manage themselves and their emotions as they mirror adults around them.  Have you ever heard yourself in them!  That’s when it really hits you that they are little sponges who take in all of the environment.   

Using your own past experiences to help your children and teens overcome challenges.      Make time to have fun with children  helps us relax and can help bonding.  I play bananagrams with my children and this nice game we can all play and is a quick way to centre us and be present with them all (they are 11, 16 and 18 )
While we play, I  listen to what they have to say and this is a  time I can  be totally present
and listen to them without any agenda.Getting to know your children and teen’s and what makes them happy changes as they go through brain changes so keeping small moments to enjoy them help keep communication open. important as you in supporting your child.

Do something that makes you all laugh regularly

Life can often feel serious, so it’s important to savour the silly moments. Think about what
you enjoyed as a child or teenager. What lifted your spirits? , or made you laugh? Try reflecting to help you and your child could do something fun or out of he ordinary together.
It could be something as simple as sharing stories about your day, playing a board game, or telling your favourite jokes. Making time to hear them is very important to their self esteem

Cooking together can be a great bonding

I ask each of my  children to help make food for the family each week. Getting  them involved in chopping or prepping dinner, or baking is a creative way of doing this. Being there and present and chatting about things in a  relaxed way helps build bonding time. We create a menu at the beginning of the week and each family member  thinks of an easy dish they haven’t made before and then we create it within one hour making the food together. 

Try some of my recipes form my Recipe section above
https://nourishednaturally.co.uk/2017/11/28/vegan-chocolate-cake/
or
https://nourishednaturally.co.uk/2016/05/14/raw-chocolate-truffles-recipe/

Mindful parenting

Here’s what science has to say about child development and happy brain function.

An impulsive reaction, triggered by emotions such ad fear, anger, shouting can rise up from the amygdala and hippocampus—the most ancient parts of our brain. These parts evolved to respond with defensive action to threatening situations.

So, If we can delay this reactivity, the newer pre-frontal cortex of the brain can respond from a place of reflection and thoughtfulness. The PFC (pre-frontal cortex) is associated with maturity, including regulating emotions and behaviors and making wise decisions.

Parents can use ‘Mindfulness practice’ to diminish the reactivity from the amygdala and strengthens the pre-frontal cortex. Any arousal seen as threatening is blocked by the amygdala, prompting an immediate reflexive reaction: fight, flight, or freeze. You know where I’m going with this.

As we learn to be more mindful and help our children collectively using the techniques above, their brains can be grow accordingly and reduce the need to move into flight fight or frozen responses. Just by being calmer around children and less reactive, we teach our children and the their amygdala threat or responses change automatically and classify the sensory input as being pleasurable or non threatening.

The other thing I have done for my children is show them how I manage stress- such as gong for walks, listening to calming music, my yoga which I do at home and the food I give them telling them the benefits of it as we eat it so they get the drip effect of my reflections and being a better parent for them and me.

If you found this article helpful, please write a comment or get in touch .


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