A key component of teaching children resilience is explaining to them that both feelings and logical thoughts are important. As humans, we shouldn’t have to pick between being emotional or logical. Instead we need to be taught how to reconcile the two. In their book, the Whole Brain Child, Dr. Siegel and Dr. Bryson offer a fantastic and understandable metaphor for children and adults alike!
If we think of our downstairs brain as our more emotional part of the brain, and our upstairs brain as our more logical part of the brain we can teach children that both are important and work together. Let’s think about an example, but this works in many situations.
Let’s say you are camping with your child and they see a bee. Your child may sense danger and say “there is a bee out here, I want to go inside for the rest of the vacation”. Instead of dismissing the fear, we can say something like, “Your downstairs brain is telling you to be afraid. That’s great because that is the job of the downstairs brain. Now let’s check in with our upstairs brain. What does logic tell us about how major this threat is? Is that threat large enough that we need to go inside? We aren’t allergic to bees, and the bee most likely is afraid of us, and we will stay away from the bee, so we are safe to stay outside.”
We hope you can think of lots of ways to play Upstairs Brain/Downstairs Brain with your child.
Wanna Deep Dive, check out the source of today’s post and image: