The Prefrontal Cortex and Mindfulness
At Self Development Academy, our philosophy emphasizes the importance of self-awareness, self-knowledge, and self-acceptance. This development, in part, depends on the prefrontal cortex, which controls emotional regulation and executive function. We can focus on the prefrontal cortex and mindfulness together.
While the prefrontal cortex doesn’t fully develop until around age 25, the earlier you can be intentional about your child’s self-regulation, the better. According to the George Lucas Educational Foundation, “Preschoolers who exhibit self-regulatory behaviors go on to experience more success in school and are more likely to avoid risky behaviors in adolescence than their peers who have a hard time with self-control.”
Children of any age will benefit from parenting that helps them flex those prefrontal cortex muscles, so to speak, through self-reflection and self-regulation. Try these tips for engaging the prefrontal cortex and mindfulness:
When your child exhibits strong negative emotions or erratic behavior, don’t let your response end with correction and discipline. Go several steps further with him. Help your child be curious: Where is this emotion coming from? Do I feel it in my body? What triggered my response? When have I felt this way before? What need do I have that’s not being met?
A lot can be said for taking a deep breath. It helps your child slow down, focus inward, increase blood flow, and according to Harvard Medical School, reduce overall stress. Even taking 20-30 seconds to breathe deeply throughout the day and not just in times of stress can be very beneficial.
It can be all too easy to focus on goals, devices, future plans, past regrets, and any number of things just beyond our reach. But making a list of things for which your child is grateful helps to bring her into the present moment. It ushers in contentment and peace not found in the hustle of a life without gratitude.
Move the body.
The mind’s connection to the body can’t be ignored. Encourage your child to listen to his body and get the kind of exercise and movement that he most enjoys. Whether it’s a slow, meandering walk or a sprint, dancing to music or lifting weights, stretching at night before bed or playing soccer, the best movement is the kind that your child wants to do.
Contact us at (480) 641-2640 or (602) 274-1910 to get more information about our K-8 nationally awarded charter school of excellence with an advanced learning curriculum. In addition to online learning, we have campuses in Phoenix, Glendale, East Mesa, and Mesa.