3 Important Ways To Develop Your Child’s Prefrontal Cortex
Image to be added
Do you ever wonder why your child’s first reaction to a clean living room is to throw a bunch of toys on the floor, why you have to tell them multiple times to put their school bag on before you leave the house, or why they can’t share their food at school? Their prefrontal cortex holds the answer.
SuzyApp has come a long way to develop an application to help your child’s screen time become healthier, and improve the development of their prefrontal cortex. So…
What is the prefrontal cortex?
The prefrontal cortex is the part of the brain that determines decisions and is responsible for your child’s ability to plan, evaluate the consequences of actions, manage conflicts, and control urges.
This brain area continues to grow well into early adulthood. The prefrontal cortex plays an essential role in the “higher” brain functions of the frontal lobes, including decision-making, problem-solving, intellect, and mood regulation. Personalities and interpersonal skills have also been linked to this region.
There is also evidence that the frontal cortex is involved in conscious awareness of an experience. This region of the brain is responsible for integrating various mental constructs, such as the concepts and sensory data that comprise our conscious experience.
In fact, according to NCBI, this region of the brain has even been linked to Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), bipolar disorder (BD), major depressive disorder (MDD), and schizophrenia.
How does it affect young children and teenagers?
The brains of very young children before adolescence endure a considerable growth surge as well. NCBI also states that by age six, a child’s brain has reached around 90-95 percent of adult size.
The formative years are critical for brain development, but considerable reorganization is still required for the brain to function as an adult brain. This intensive brain remodeling takes place during puberty and continues into the mid-20s. Moreover, age, experiences, and puberty hormonal swings strongly influence these brain changes.
Throughout adolescence, the teenage brain experiences rapid growth and maturation. The most major change is the ‘pruning’ of unnecessary connections in your child’s gray matter, which is responsible for cognition and processing. Concurrently, further connections are established.
Based on the adage “use it or lose it,” this is how the brain becomes more efficient. This elimination process begins at the back of the brain and the prefrontal cortex is the last region of the brain to undergo significant development.
How to develop your child’s prefrontal cortex?
University of Rochester’s Medicine Center found through multiple MRI scans that the frontal lobe region of the higher brain (neocortex) is not fully developed until 21 years of age, preventing the development of top-down brain pathways that would bypass lower brain functions.
However, parents can influence the development of the lobes of their child’s brain as early as birth.
Practice Makes Perfect – Although Children Don’t Need To Be
For children to be successful (i.e., engaged, motivated, joyful, and productive), a well-developed prefrontal cortex is of great importance. Since the prefrontal cortex allows control over your emotions, this capacity makes long-term objectives more reachable.
This is because it allows one to reflect upon their thoughts, speech, temperament and neurotics in a processed manner. The more control your child has over themselves, the more likely they are to succeed in their interpersonal skills and have a better relationship with themselves. As with virtually every other portion of the brain, the more the prefrontal cortex is used during childhood, the more it grows.
Your child aspires to become a footballer? Enroll them in regular football practices outside school. Your child loves to dance? Encourage your child to practice it whenever they feel like it.
Empathize With Your Child, And Give Them The Freedom They Need
When children struggle to control their emotions, keep in mind that it is difficult for them to articulate their feelings and needs verbally. Therefore, we can attempt to see things from their point of view and empathize. Avoid viewing emotions negatively and give them their space.
The issue is not having intense emotions, but rather the inability to control them. To help children develop better emotional control, we can teach them techniques such as deep breathing, counting from 1 to 10, mindfulness, leaving the room, punching a pillow, etc.
Instead of seizing every opportunity to solve their problems and being a “good” parent, encourage them to think independently. Assist them in developing a growth mindset and take advantage of every opportunity to teach problem-solving in order to foster independence.
Practice Delayed Gratification
This is one of the most effective ways to not only help your child become a better person, but it’s also an excellent way to allow them to evaluate their wants and needs, beyond their emotions.
According to AMA, “Although we live in an instant gratification era where everything seems to be available immediately via smartphone or the internet, our study suggests that today’s kids can delay gratification longer than children in the 1960s and 1980s,” says University of Minnesota psychologist Stephanie M. Carlson.
“This finding stands in stark contrast with the assumption by adults that today’s children have less self-control than previous generations.”
In early childhood, the ability to delay gratification has been linked to a variety of positive outcomes in adolescence and beyond. These include increased academic proficiency and SAT scores, a healthier weight, effective stress and frustration management, social responsibility, and positive peer relationships.
Research and pop culture have a lot to say about how technology use, which is often measured as “screen time,” affects self-control in teens and young adults.
Applications such as TikTok have been negatively impacting children by reducing their attention span, perception and affecting their decision-making skills, as they’re likely to imitate someone they watch online on a personal, behavioral level.
A solution to your problem
SuzyApp is solving this very problem, by helping you improve your child’s prefrontal cortex, and make their screen time more healthy. With SuzyApp, you can integrate delayed gratification within your child’s screen time by sequencing educational applications before recreational ones.
SuzyApp helps your child develop their prefrontal cortex by helping them:
– Get inspired: A custom-made list of apps in areas like mental health, coding, math, and art that are known to be good for a child’s development and interest gives your child the chance to help you figure out what kind of activity will make him click.
– Practice delayed gratification: Teaches your child to wait for what they want by conditioning their use of gaming apps based on previous educational activities. This helps them improve their impulse control and develop patience
– Become better at their favorite topic: When they practice skills or learn more through educational content, their prefrontal cortex is used more in this area. This makes them better at those skills over time.