If ever there was a parenting handbook, this might be it. I confess I bought this book without reading much but the title. I also confess I bought this book hoping it would give me some insight into how my child’s brain will grow and develop, and how I might help with that process. Not to mention the idea of when this child will learn certain things on average – for example, cognitively learn to read (which apparently isn’t truly developed until early elementary years – this is a huge sigh of relief).

Although I had a fair basic hope of learning from this book what I got was so much more. Not only was a presented with a relatively broad timeline, but with plenty of ideas on what to really focus on through the early years to help with later learning and development. I now know that my attempts to expose my child to lots of different things, while still leading a pretty full life myself are exactly what the ‘doctor ordered’ (no this book is not a dictation of what to do, it merely make suggestions).

The true value of this book didn’t, however, come from the lists and ideas of how to help my little person grow, develop, and learn. These are all important, but the true value came from the little voice in my head that kept thinking about how to better serve my students. There are plenty of ideas for parents about what should be happening in schools to help young people of all ages. I certainly am taking these ideas to heart. I’m also going to incorporate some of the research and ideas from this book, with the growth mindset language, as part of my introductory newsletter to parents. I might even try to incorporate some of the ideas into my work with students in the first days/weeks of class, so we can develop a learning environment and climate for everyone to be successful.

More than this, I now have a small list of things I need to figure out how to do for my classroom and a small list of suggestions to help the little developing mind in my personal care.

I wish that this was a book that was read by all parents, perhaps even more highly recommended for first-time parents. I say that no matter where you are in the age spectrum, there are ideas and things to help all parents. You don’t have to read this book before the arrival of your first child. There are so many good things to think about for all parents. I would also add that as adults we should also remember to keep learning, trying, and exploring. Not only does it help set the example for our young growing minds, but studies show that even adult brains continue to prosper with more engagement and activity.

 I wished it was a staple of education programs – true we are not teaching our own children, but there are many takeaways from this book that would help all classrooms create better learning opportunities at all levels.

No matter your involvement with young people, this book is worth the read. It is thick but easily chunked for reading with many subheadings within the chapters. You’ll also find bulleted, numbered, and grey area lists for easy retrieval later. I also recommend reading with whatever style you annotate – pencil, highlighter, sticky notes. There is a lot and I certainly found myself underlining passages for future review.

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Summer Reading Review #8: Your Child’s Growing Mind

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