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Your Brain on Childhood: The Unexpected Side Effects of Classrooms, Ballparks, Family Rooms, and the Minivan

3.87  ·  Rating details ·  61 Ratings  ·  16 Reviews
This book reviews the consequences of raising children in today’s highly unnatural environments and suggests ways in which parents can learn to naturalize childhood again, so that a child’s environment gels with how the brain was designed to grow. In a clearly presented, accessible narrative, the author marshals scientific evidence from a wide array of fields to explain wh ...more
Paperback, 325 pages
Published September 20th 2011 by Prometheus Books
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Andrea Thorpe
Sep 27, 2012 rated it really liked it
This was refreshing and consuming all at once. The type of book that your brain goes into overload on, but you don't want to put down for fear you'll miss some important scientific discovery about kid's brains.

Principe has a devilish yet contrite tone and humor throughout the book that somehow makes reading statistical psychology more readable.

I wouldn't recommend this to someone that hates science or the theory of evolution, but it is one of those reads that is a must have to any parent. Simp
...more
Sarah
Jan 05, 2012 rated it liked it
Recommended to Sarah by: Mary Hrovat
Shelves: non-fiction, science
The gist of this book is that basically You're Doing It Wrong. How? By trying too dang hard. Put away the stupid flash cards, turn off that consarned TV, and throw your kid outside and leave it alone.

Most of this book makes a terribly good amount of sense, which is why it's so depressing, especially the parts about school. I think most people agree that No Child Left Behind was about the worst thing ever to happen to American schools, but there doesn't seem to be too much we can do about it. Lit
...more
Denise
Principe, chair of the Psychology Department at Ursinus, reviews many of today's child rearing techniques. More importantly she reviews the studies associated with those techniques and in many cases the lack of studies. The conclusion is that the expensive toys, excessive computer/TV time, indoor play, the structured classrooms, and structured playtime contribute to the loss of "play" in childhood. Play is defined as the work of children. Parent's, in striving to do the best, are spending too mu ...more
Erin
Jan 31, 2013 rated it it was amazing
This is the best book on child development that I have read. I am a teacher and will be a mom very soon, and the book illuminated aspects of both these roles and made me see childhood in a different light. I love the way the author wrote in a humorous manner and everything she had researched really rang true to me deeply inside. I knew from the writing and from my feelings that I could trust her guidance- and I rarely feel that way when I read other articles on parenting from the internet, magaz ...more
Natali
Mar 01, 2013 rated it liked it
I loved the first third of this book but got a little bored towards the end. The author is a developmental psychologist and she explains what happens to the brain during gestation and early childhood and how we do a disservice to our kids by trying to push them to learn too much too early. She gives the science behind why this could actually be damaging, more than just asinine.

I learned A TON but when she left the science behind and started to write about culture and nostalgia for childhoods pa
...more
Hamdanil
Aug 15, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: parenting
Wow.. Amazing book!

The main point of the book is that modern children (especially the current generation) live in a way that's not effective to their development, with respect to brain, emotional and physical development. For example,

* Spending most of the time indoor and in very predictable environment.
* Relying on gadget and electronics for entertainment and learning, instead of playing and interacting with peers and with nature.
* Education that's out of context (i.e. not immediately clear why
...more
Starr
Jul 22, 2013 rated it really liked it
At first, you'll wonder, "is this book only about monkeys?". But then the research turns to children and the detrimental effect of recent trends in parenting (over-scheduling, educational technology, excessive indoor activity). I'd love to give this book to every parent I know; sadly, if we don't work together to change the current educational milieu, it won't happen.

I've read a few books on this topic, and I really enjoyed Principe's intelligent, yet conversational tone. I laughed out loud seve
...more
Ryan Mac
Jan 30, 2012 rated it really liked it
This was a very readable book going through several things that we are doing as parents, teachers, and as a culture that are not helpful for children's brains. As another reviewer on Goodreads pointed out, a lot of it makes perfect sense: turn off the TV, go outside and don't push your child so hard to grow up so fast. It makes me hope that I haven't already ruined my almost two year old but I think I'm okay so far. The section on schools was especially depressing since it feels like there is li ...more
Keith
Jun 16, 2013 rated it it was amazing
The author posits that child development is best served with no electronic screen input. This book is well written, informative, yet easy to read and applicable to anyone with young children. Instead of competition and pushing kids to learn facts, the author suggests that the child is better served by discovering the physical world by being and acting in it. It is better to for the child to go to the playground and touch dirt, swing, slide, jump, watch insects, etc. instead of staying home and m ...more
Miriam Yvanovich
Feb 01, 2013 rated it it was amazing
I LOVED this book--it was so reassuring to read that kids are basically wired to thrive in a normal, not-overly stimulating environment. Even though she only makes a passing reference to Montessori teaching methods, I thought this entire book came across as a massive scientific treatise on why Montessori works, from a developmental neurology/psychology perspective. Can't recommend it highly enough to ANYone who interacts with children on a regular basis.
Jean Oram
Oct 22, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: nonfiction
This was a fantastic book! There was lots to think about as a parent and as an advocate of free play. It took me awhile to read because I want to think about the chapters and absorb the information. I definitely think differently about things such as educational toys, out facing snugglies and more. I think this book should be on every parents' curriculum. A must read.
Beth Trapani
Nov 06, 2012 rated it liked it
Great message but too much science and too redudant for my taste. Love the message, though! Worth skimming. Other books with similar messages, "Einstein Never Used Flashcards," etc. are more enjoyable reads.
Julie
Jan 28, 2012 rated it it was ok
It reminded me we (my family) are spending too much time indoor and in the car. It is not good for the body, nor it is to the brain.
Diana Dragu
Feb 08, 2013 rated it really liked it
This is a great book, well written and thoroughly documented.

It is funny but at the same time raises a lof of questions that make you think about the way we raise our children.
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