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How To Stop A Tantrum With Science

3646853131_21eceafb63-225x3001I spent the afternoon teaching neuroscience to my kids, ages 3 and 6.

I’m not one of these over achieving parents who needs her kids to memorize the scientific names of plants or do calculus in preschool. If you’d asked me yesterday if my kids needed a neuroscience lesson, I might have laughed at you.

Now I know better. Tina Payne Bryson has a cool post up on her blog, Parenting Matters, about how a very simple neuroscience lesson can help your kids control their own tantrums. This is actually incredibly cool. I loved it, my kids loved it. We had the calmest afternoon we’ve had in a long time.

What’s Bryson’s secret? She teaches kids to be STARS (her anagram for her method).

Bryson uses an extremely simple model of the brain when talking to kids. She just asks them to imagine that their brain has an upstairs and a downstairs. Your downstairs brain feels all your feelings, and sometimes gets so crowded with intense feelings that you explode into a tantrum.

Happily, there is also an upstairs brain. As Bryson explains it, this upstairs brain controls your thoughts. This is where the STARS come in.

With your upstairs brain, you can choose to be a STAR, and:

  • Stop
  • Think
  • Act
  • Reflect

Maybe the anagram is a little silly, but these are skills I’d like to be better at in my own life. Being able to teach them to  my kids so clearly and simply at such a young age seems like an immeasurable gift. Next I’m going to try it out on my husband.

Photo: beelerspace

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