"What kind of person do I want my child to be?"
There are hundreds of books that give parents advice on everything from weaning to toilet training, from discipline to nutrition. But in spite of this overwhelming amount of information, there is very little research-based advice for parents on how to raise their children to be well rounded and achieve their full potential, helping them learn to take on life's challenges, communicate well with others, and remain committed to learning. These are the "essential life skills" that Ellen Galinsky has spent her career pursuing, through her own studies and through decades of talking with more than a hundred of the most outstanding researchers in child development and neuroscience. The good news is that there are simple everyday things that all parents can do to build these skills in their children for today and for the future. They don't cost money, and it's never too late to begin.
In Mind in the Making, Ellen Galinsky has grouped this research into seven critical areas that children need most: (1) focus and self control; (2) perspective taking; (3) communicating; (4) making connections; (5) critical thinking; (6) taking on challenges; and (7) self-directed, engaged learning. For each of these skills, Galinsky shows parents what the studies have proven, and she provides numerous concrete things that parents can do—starting today—to strengthen these skills in their children. These aren't the kinds of skills that children just pick up; these skills have to be fostered. They are the skills that give children the ability to focus on their goals so that they can learn more easily and communicate what they've learned. These are the skills that prepare children for the pressures of modern life, skills that they will draw on now and for years to come.
Mind in the Making is a truly groundbreaking book, one that teaches parents how to give children the most important tools they will need. Already acclaimed by such thought leaders as T. Berry Brazelton, M.D., David A. Hamburg, M.D., Adele Faber, and Judy Woodruff, Mind in the Making is destined to become a classic in the literature of parenting.
Galinsky (Six Stages of Parenthood; Ask the Children) has spent her career observing and analyzing how children learn. Collaborating with top researchers in the science of childhood brain development for the past decade, she identifies seven life skills that help children reach their full potential and unleash their passion to learn. The skills are presented in a readable and accessible volume enlivened by parents' narratives about what works and what doesn't, hints and tips, and over a hundred “suggestions” (games and family activities) for involving kids in the pursuit of learning. Each of seven chapters focuses on one skill, most of them involved with the “executive” (or management) function of the brain, such as focus and self-control, communicating, and critical thinking. Galinsky urges parents to instill in their children a grasp of different kinds of knowledge to best tap inborn “sense” and foster self-motivation. The big message is simple: teaching children to think may be the most important thing a parent can do. It doesn't take a village and it doesn't require fancy courses or equipment—Galinsky's everyday, playful, parent-child learning interactions offer a place to start. Some of the advice may seem self-evident, but it is a valuable, worthwhile resource. (Apr.)