Tag Archives: Kids

12 Hours’ Sleep by 12 Weeks Old by Suzy Giordano

Summary

  1. This how-to guide will help you train and transition your baby to sleeping through the night, giving you a break and allowing baby to grow and be healthy. You can do this by yourself, but it does take consistency, time, and perseverance

Key Takeaways

  1. Baby boot camp (sleep training) begins around 8 weeks old (if it is a single baby, weighs at least 9 lbs, and is healthy) and you must follow these chronological stepping stones or the training may not work
    1. Eat 4 times per day (within the 12 hour day-time window), be 4 hours apart, with no night feeds, and each feed should take around half an hour
      1. Divide your day into 12 hour blocks (7am-7pm, 8am-8pm, etc.). This helps you get your 4 day feedings in per day, with baby going to sleep after the last feed of the day
      2. What you do during the day is as important as what happens at night
      3. 6-8oz per meal starting around 12 weeks old is the goal. Include an extra ounce or two in the bottle in case baby wants more. They may spit up but this is ok. They will make up for it in the next feed
    2. Remove all feedings during the night (this will be a gradual decrease from ~3 to 2, to 1, to none
    3. Sleeping through the night 
      1. 30 minutes before the fourth and final feeding, take the baby to the nursery to signal that it is time to wind down. You need to do five or six things consistently over a couple weeks in order to train baby. Lower the lights, put on some nice music, give baby a bath, change diaper, put into pajamas, read to baby, feed baby, and finally put an awake baby into their crib. This is the linchpin or else baby will never be able to fall asleep on their own and sleep through the night
      2. If baby is calm, keep some soothing music playing, turn off all lights, give baby a lovey or something with your scent that they can’t choke on, leave the room, and close the door. Yes, close the door
      3. Babies often cry just to talk to you and you should help them, but not solve it for them. The mantra is, “I can’t fix it for you, but I’ll be right by your side.”
      4. Let baby cry for 3-5 minutes before you go into the nursery. If they calm down for even a little, the clock starts over. If baby is still crying after 5 minutes, go into the room to help soothe the baby but do not pick them up, do not make eye contact, do not talk too much (short, direct, authoritative sentences). From the moment the baby is calm, you want to walk away slowly and leave the room. You might have to do this over and over again, but the duration and frequency will decrease over time, allowing both you and baby to sleep well and be healthy. Baby must be able to fall asleep and soothe themselves
      5. If baby doesn’t sleep the whole 12 hours, they should be kept in the crib. Treat them as if they were trying to fall asleep at night
      6. If baby is restless, help them change positions in order to try to get comfortable. Move them from side to side, move head from facing one to the other direction, think of how you and your spouse like to sleep and try copying that
      7. The first night of training is by far the hardest – don’t give up. Be prepared to go in every 3-5 minutes the whole night if necessary. It takes 3 days to make a good habit and 7 days to break it
    4. Sleeping during the day – an hour in the morning and two hours in the afternoon
      1. Daytime sleep training should begin about 2 weeks after a night sleep. Aim to get an hour in the morning and 2 hours in the afternoon
      2. Should do a short version of the bed time routine and all naps should occur in the crib. Make sure you do a feed and have some time to play between the feed and nap time. For example, if the first feeding is at 7am, first nap is around 9am-10am and second nap around 1pm-3pm. Try not to have a nap between the 3rd and 4th feedings 
      3. Having a pretty strict schedule for the first six months is important. The life revolves around feeding and naps, but the trade-offs are worth it
  2. Other
    1. This is a “limited crying” approach where the baby shouldn’t cry more than 5 minutes without you consoling them. Crying it out can be faster, but it might lead to emotional damage for you and baby and, in fact, the baby often is conditioned to cry as long as they need to in order to get your attention. They learn than rather than crying for 5 minutes, they need to cry for 20, and they do exactly that. 
    2. A pacifier can be a good tool but you should only use it during naps and to start the 12 hour sleep at night. Thumbsucking is ok for the first year but you will need to wean them off of it around that point. I am not a fan of vibration because it doesn’t require the baby to self sooth. If you’re desperate, some of these tools can be used, but it should not be the norm
    3. You want to create an environment and habits so that baby can self-sooth and be ok by themselves. This is the ultimate goal. You want to teach them life skills such as self-sufficiency. The world will eventually teach them and the world will not be as kind as you are. 
    4. I do not recommend baby to sleep in the parent’s bed. In fact, it is best for baby to sleep in its own crib in its own room and this step is necessary during sleep training. Baby needs different spaces to know where and when it is alright to play and when it is time for bed
    5. The best time to cuddle is when baby is in a good mood and relaxed. If you only cuddle when they’re frustrated and crying, you are conditioning them that this type of behavior is what is required to get your love and affection 
    6. Older babies are more easily stimulated so try black out lights, white noise machines

What I got out of it

  1. Some helpful tips and routines for how to establish good sleeping habits for baby before allowing any bad ones to form.

The Happiest Baby on the Block by Harvey Karp

Summary

  1. The 5’s – what they are, how to do them, why they help to calm baby

Key Takeaways

  1. The 5’s – have to be done exactly right, sequentially 
    1. Swaddling – tighter than you think is comfortable 
    2. Side / Stomach – babies can feel like they’re falling if they are on their back so the side or stomach can be a much more calming way to hold them
    3. Shhhh – louder than you think is comfortable
    4. Swinging – must be done faster than you think. This will also be the first S you’ll wean at around 2-3 months of age
    5. Sucking – pacifiers should only be given when the baby is calm and when baby starts to suck, lightly tug on it. This will be the second S to be weaned
  2. Babies should really be in the womb another couple months so the baby’s first 3 months after birth can be thought of as the “4th trimester.” You want to mimic the conditions, sounds, temperature, etc. as closely as possible to make them feel comfortable and cozy.
    1. Hold them, dance, rock, wrap, white noise, car rides, walk outside, feeding, pacifiers, swings
  3. Don’t be worried about spoiling them, they need the confidence and comfort that you are there to take care of them – you’ll be able to easily wean them off
  4. A cry is not always meant to convey a message
  5. Colic simply a result of cessation of womb 3 months early
  6. Reduce SIDS
    1. Only let baby sleep on the back
    2. Breastfeed if you can
    3. Don’t smoke, drink, or use drugs
    4. Don’t overheat
    5. Use snug swaddles
    6. Offer a pacifier at bedtime
    7. Never sleep with your baby on a couch or waterbed
    8. If you choose to bed share, always use a co-sleeper attachment to keep your baby protected
    9. Remove pillows, toys, bumpers, and think or loose bedding that could cause smothering
    10. Practice tummy time to help your baby develop strong muscles to move away from choking risks
  7. 10 Red Flags
    1. Persistent moaning
    2. Supershrill cry
    3. Vomiting (green or yellow vomit and more than one ounce per episode and more than 5 per day)
    4. Change in stool (especially blood)
    5. Fussing during eating
    6. Abnormal temperature (more than 100.2 or less than 97)
    7. Irritability
    8. Lethargy
    9. Bulging soft spot on the head
    10. Poor weight gain
  8. Top 10 Survival Tips
    1. Trust yourself
    2. Lower your expectations
    3. Accept all the help you can get
    4. Get your priorities straight
    5. Be flexible – it’s much better to bend than snap
    6. Know thyself – how do your baby’s cries make you feel
    7. Don’t rock the cradle too hard
    8. Keep your sense of humor handy
    9. Take care of your spouse
    10. Don’t ignore depression

What I got out of it

  1. The 5’s haven’t worked for us too well yet but the sequence is good to know and it had some other good parenting tips

The Spiritual Child: The New Science on Parenting for Health and Lifelong Thriving by Lisa Miller

Summary

  1. Spirituality is an untapped tool for human development, fulfillment, happiness, success. With this, children can learn how to connect with others and better deal with difficult situations. The author aims to map spiritual development from kids to adolescents and show what a pivotal role parents play

Key Takeaways

  1. Spirituality differs from religion and that it is a feeling of being connected to a higher power, whatever that might be for you whereas religion is more specific in what you are connected to. An authentic and personal relationship with the higher power is far more important than the specifics
  2. Spiritual children are 40% less likely to abuse substances, 60% less likely to be depressed, less likely to be susceptible to other types of deviant behavior and more likely to thrive and finding meaning, purpose, and higher levels of academic success
  3. Kids are naturally empathetic, curious, open, caring, loving, and optimistic. It is only through time and for education that they lose these things. 
  4. The 6 spiritual strengths – trusting heart-knowing, validating direct transcendent experience, encouraging natural love of nature, ritual of meditation and prayer, sense of family as special, and belief in right action. These spiritual strengths and mindset will help with feeling connected and grounded, giving meaning to life. This will greatly help with depression and loneliness too
  5. Opportunities to grow spirituality 
    1. Engage honestly and authentically with your child. Give your approval and encourage them
    2. Use spiritual language daily – direct knowing, inner compass, connection, heart knowing
    3. Share own spiritual experiences transparently with your children
    4. Connect with your kids and meet them where they are
    5. Build a spiritual practice as a family – Sunday night meditation, Shabbat dinner, other rituals 
    6. Embrace relationships with everyone and all of nature – we are all one
    7. Express the sanctity of family and how grateful you are to be part of it. You are an inter-generational self, part of a long line within your family, not separate or above, part of something larger than yourself
    8. Strive to live an inspired life. Set a high standard, love others, see transcendence in each moment

What I got out of it

  1. A decent book (far too long and ended up skimming most of it) on the importance of spirituality in a child’s life and how to go about nurturing it

How to Raise Successful People: Simple Lessons for Radical Results by Esther Wojcicki

Summary

  1. Esther’s parenting style can be summed up with TRICK – trust, respect, independence, collaboration and kindness. This is the style she used to raise her 3 very successful children 

Key Takeaways

  1. Trust
    1. Never dismiss kid’s thoughts or ideas just because they’re kids. Listen to them and respect them
    2. Trust yourself and trust your kids. Lack of trust in our society creates anxiety and stress and this is passed onto our kids
    3. The majority of people are trustworthy and you want to instill this into your kids
    4. You need to start instilling trust in your baby as soon as they’re born. Respond to them and give them what they need so that they learn to trust you and their environment. Trust that they can put themselves to sleep. Comfort them and be with them when they cry or whimper, but you don’t always need to pick them up – just pat them on their stomachs when they’re lying on their back’s and give them a chance to soothe themselves. Kids learn to self soothe if you give them a chance to learn how. You want them to want to be with you and not to need to be with you
    5. Always ask yourself if what you’re doing is building and establishing trust or breaking it down
    6. Children need to take risks in order to learn, grow, and find their boundaries. Don’t instill your fears and biases in them – let them learn for themselves
    7. Kids will break your trust at some point – it is just part of life and you must hold them accountable but you can do so in a good-humored way so as not to rupture the relationship
    8. You have to trust that you’ve taught your kids well and you can’t control them. Let them make their own decisions and become their own people
    9. Parents need to calm down! Kids have their own timeline and will do it (whatever “it” is) when they’re ready. Obsessing and worrying about it won’t help anyone
  2. Respect
    1. Respect means living it out. You have to model it every day and in every interaction
    2. Never force subjects or hobbies on your kids. Find a way to get them self-motivated or into something else. Respect what your children are drawn to and let them pursue those interests. Don’t push what you want for them but make sure they’re always doing something outside of school
    3. Avoid baby talk – treat kids like adults as soon as possible, trust and respect them.
    4. Ages 0-5 are the most important socially and developmentally. Use them to help them become independent kids and later independent and empowered adults
    5. You have to respect kid’s timelines but when they’re doing nothing, such as when they graduate from college, you have to get them moving. Six months free rent is fine but they can’t be doing nothing
    6. Feeling respected as a human being is an innate want and when you don’t get it, it leads to fear, isolation, and distance between parent and child
  3. Independence
    1. Financial independence is of utmost importance to instill. Teach compound interest and the power of paying off credit cards every month. Travel and education should get the highest priority and spend
    2. Don’t do anything for your children that they can do themselves
    3. Practice the “French Pause” when your child wakes up in the middle of the night. Before rushing out and soothing your child, give them a minute to see if they self soothe. If not, go in and comfort them but this helps them learn how to soothe themselves and sleep without needing you there
    4. Temper trap tantrums are about control and, depending on the context and what they want, sometimes you should give it to them. About 20% of the time let them dress themselves or put on their own shoes or do what they’re asking. This will help give them a sense of accomplishment and help them learn
    5. Your kid’s homework is their work. Give them advice if they ask for it but never do it for them 
    6. Always give children a job that this theirs and theirs alone 
    7. Give them certain freedoms like decorating their own rooms
    8. Shopping is a great way to teach. Help your kids understand what a budget it, how to select groceries, how to put back products if you’re over budget, etc 
    9. It is really important for kids to see you feel and know that you don’t know everything. Admit when you messed up. react to it, well and show that failing is a huge and important part of learning
  4. Collaboration
    1. Collaborate > Dictate
    2. Cooperating with adults helps empowers kids and shows them that they can problem solve on their, own giving them confidence and independence
    3. Build a mutually beneficial relationship which helps deepen the relationship and build agency 
    4. Give options rather than dictating. Red or blue sweater? Rather than do you want to wear a sweater
    5. Get kids involved in chores, budgets, questions, planning, and decision making. This makes them feel valued. For example, ask them how they would regulate phone usage and that what they determine should be implemented
    6. Having a big group of friends and playing sports greatly help children learn how to collaborate 
    7. Guide and support their decisions rather than telling them what to do
    8. Important to have kids reflect and express their feelings. Can sit alone and think, write, or draw
  5. Kindness
    1. Kindness and gratitude are often overlooked. A self-centered view of the world is harmful and also takes away some of the major joys in life – helping others 
  6. 10 Commandments for Techs
    1. Set up a plan with your kids, not for your kids
    2. No phones during meals – in your house or other’s
    3. No tech after bedtime
    4. Show kids younger than 5 the basics and how to use a phone in case of an emergency
    5. Children should come up with their own tech policies for weekends, vacation, or other social events. Must also choose a penalty for breaking own policy
    6. Parental controls can be important, but after 8 they need to develop their own self-restraint. If they break your trust, the parental control switches back on
    7. Parents should model how they expect their kids to behave around technology
    8. Discuss what pictures/audio/video are appropriate to take – sometimes kids lack common sense. Remind them of the digital footprint they’re leaving behind
    9. Explain cyber-bullying and its negative impact, on them and others. Laugh with your friends, not at them
    10. Teach kids not to give out personal identification information 
  7. Other
    1. Teach kids how not to procrastinate – be effective and learn to do things immediately 
    2. Must examine own biases and flaws so we don’t pass onto our kids  If we don’t like me to pass on errors in how our parents raised us
    3. Book provides a series of questions that help you when your partner determine how you were raised and what values you want to pass on at which you don’t. Being on the same page and understanding and accepting your partner and their parenting style 
    4. Your goal is not to create a stress free or hardship free childhood. Rather, you want to instill your kids with character, traits, and independence of mind – to be able to face problems head-on and make sound decisions. If you can teach them how to think and be self-aware, you have done your job as a parent
    5. Establishing good habits from the start is much easier than trying to break bad ones later
    6. Kids learn more from how you handle your own mistakes and how you react than everything you talk about
    7. Asking “why” is so important to kids – Encourage them to always ask “why” by answering them seriously and honestly. If you don’t know, tell them “let’s find out.” This fuels their creativity, innovative thinking, independence, and more. 98% of kids have “genius-level creativity” but it slowly is removed through our education system. Only 2% of adults hold onto it.
    8. Creativity flows from play. Let them be and they’ll create their own worlds and keep themselves happy and occupied. Play with them and get down on their level, enter their worlds. Play and imagination is extremely important as it gets them to be able to step into another person‘s shoes building their compassion and empathy for others
    9. The ultimate goal as a teacher, parent, leader, is to make yourself obsolete. Point them to ideas of their own, teach them to think for themselves. Help and facilitate but never take over. 
    10. Instill grit (passion, conscientiousness, gratitude, delayed gratification, perseverance) into your kids. You can’t choose your circumstances, but you can choose your reactions and work ethic
    11. Learning how to deal with boredom and embracing it is vital 
    12. Solve arguments and discussions in front of kids so they see that it is ok to disagree and also how to problem solve together 
    13. Show that punctuality is important, as is clothing and appearance, how you treat others, cleaning up after yourself, having a healthy relationship with tech, how you manage health, stress, and exercise, ability to listen and discuss controversial topics and ideas, avoiding cursing and yelling as you can teach them inadvertently that this is an OK way to communicate with others, how you handle adversity and failure, ability to admit you’re wrong and forgive
    14. The most important skill parents model are successful interpersonal relationships
    15. Personal space, privacy, and relationships outside the family are important to keep top of mind and consistent
    16. Encourage your kids to write thank you cards and to journal at the end of the day since this helps to reflect and express gratitude
    17. Instill a sense of service, connection and an others-focused mentality so that your kids learn how to give back see that not everything is about them, building deep, meaningful relationships

What I got out of it

  1. One of my favorite books so far on parenting. The TRICK mindset is an invariant strategy, useful not only for kids, but any relationship. 

How Children Succeed: Grit, Curiosity, and the Hidden Power of Character by Paul Tough

Summary

  1. The ‘cognitive solution’ is an understated but pervasive illusion that cognition is the most important factor in succeeding in life. This book argues that other skills such as persistence, curiosity, grit, self control, social skills, and delayed gratification are actually the building blocks for a successful life

Key Takeaways

  1. Stress, especially chronic stress, is extremely damaging mentally, emotionally, cognitively, and physically. Students to go through stress early on or showing to have greater chances of disease or risky behavior
  2. Stable relationships and attachments in the child’s early life is extremely important in their social, cognitive, and emotional development. High-quality parenting can go a long way in reducing the effects of stress and it’s downstream effects. Attachment theory shows that parent who respond quickly and sensitively raise independent and confident kids. Safe, secure, stable, nurturing, and sensitive relationships early on has important and long lasting impacts and benefits
  3. In the marshmallow test (a test showing short vs. long term gratification), they found that the students who are able to abstract the marshmallows and think of them as “fluffy clouds” instead of a delicious treats were able to hold off the longest and show the most self control.
  4. Motivation and volition are to central elements to self control
  5. The only way to grow and learn is to try something where you have a legitimate chance of failing and this is where most privileged families hurt their children. 
  6. Rules are metacognitive substitutes to will power. It is much easier and more effective to have a rule saying, “I will not eat donuts” than relying on will power 
  7. Habits and rules go a long way in predicting and controlling behavior. Good habits and positive rules make up for a lot
  8. The importance in believing in a growth mindset instead of a fixed mindset cannot be overstated. If kids believe that intelligence, character, and behavior are malleable and within their control, it improves nearly every area of their life
  9. When raising a child, balance cognitive tasks and the social and character traits that have been discussed in this book. Help your child socialize successfully, be able to fail and get back up, and be there for them to support them and encourage them in tough times. Do not over protect your child, expose them to manageable stress to help them grow, and they will develop the resilience needed to be successful at life
  10. One of the best things you can do for a child give them a stable home relationship support and unconditional love

What I got out of it

  1. Character > Intelligence

The Scientist in the Crib: What Early Learning Tells Us About the Mind by Alison Gopnik

Summary
  1. In this book we tell the story of the new science of children’s minds. Why? Understanding children has led us to understand ourselves in a new way. The new research shows that babies and young children know and learn more about the world than we could ever have imagined. They think, draw conclusions, make predictions, look for explanations, and even do experiments. Scientists and children belong together because they are the best learners in the universe. And that means that ordinary adults also have more powerful learning abilities than we might have thought. Grown-ups, after all, are all ex-children and potential scientists.
Key Takeaways
  1. The new developmental research tells us that Baby 0.0 must have some pretty special features. First, it must already have a great deal of knowledge about the world built into its original program. The experiments we will describe show that even newborns already know a great deal about people and objects and language. But more significant, babies and children have powerful learning mechanisms that allow them to spontaneously revise, reshape, and restructure their knowledge. This is, notoriously, the great weakness of existing computers. They are terrific at solving well-defined problems, they are not so hot at learning, and they are really awful at spontaneously changing how they learn. Finally, the babies have the universe’s best system of tech support: mothers. Grown-ups are themselves designed to behave in ways that will allow babies to learn. This support plays such a powerful role in the babies’ development, in fact, that it may make sense to think of it as part of the system itself. The human baby’s computational system is really a network, held together by language and love, instead of by optic fiber.
  2. Just as everything about our minds is caused by our brains, everything about our brains is ultimately caused by our evolutionary history. That means, though, that evolution can select learning strategies and cultural abilities just as it selects reflexes and instincts. For human beings, nurture is our nature. The capacity for culture is part of our biology, and the drive to learn is our most important and central instinct. The new developmental research suggests that our unique evolutionary trick, our central adaptation, our greatest weapon in the struggle for survival, is precisely our dazzling ability to learn when we are babies and to teach when we are grown-ups.
  3. We survive by being able to learn how to behave in almost any ecological niche, and by being able to construct our own niches.
  4. The advantage of learning is that it allows you to find out about your particular environment. The disadvantage is that until you do find out, you don’t know what to do; you’re helpless. We may have two evolutionary gifts: great abilities to learn about the world around us and a long protected period in which to deploy those abilities.
  5. For Piaget, learning was as natural as eating. This idea is the second element in the new developmental science. For Vygotsky, adults, quite unconsciously, adjusted their behavior to give children just the information they needed to solve the problems that were most important to them. Children used adults to discover the particularities of their culture and society. Just as Piaget saw that learning was innate, Vygotsky saw that culture was natural.
  6. Success in science is often a matter of finding the right analogies, and the computer gave us a new one. The Big Idea, the conceptual breakthrough of the last thirty years of psychology, is that the brain is a kind of computer. That’s the basis of the new field of cognitive science. Of course, we don’t know just what kind of computer the brain is. Certainly it’s very different from any of the actual computers we have now.
  7. The ancient problems of knowledge are all fascinating, but only the problem of Other Minds is gut-wrenching. We dedicate most of our waking life to deciphering the minds of others.
  8. There are three elements in nature’s solution to the problem of knowledge: innate knowledge, powerful learning abilities, and unconscious tuition from adults.
  9. It’s a myth that newborn babies can’t see, but babies are very nearsighted by adult standards, and unlike adults, they have difficulty changing their focus to suit both near and far objects. What this means is that objects about a foot away are in sharp focus and objects nearer or farther are blurred. Of course, that’s just the distance from a newborn’s face to the face of the person who is holding him or her. Babies seem designed to see the people who love them more clearly than anything else.
  10. Babies spontaneously coordinate their own expressions, gestures, and voices with the expressions, gestures, and voices of other people. Flirting is largely a matter of timing.
  11. One-year-old babies know that they will see something by looking where other people point; they know what they should do to something by watching what other people do; they know how they should feel about something by seeing how other people feel. The babies can use other people to figure out the world. In a very simple way, these one-year-olds are already participating in a culture. They already can take advantage of the discoveries of previous generations.
  12. The terrible twos seem to involve a systematic exploration of that idea, almost a kind of experimental research program. Toddlers are systematically testing the dimensions on which their desires and the desires of others may be in conflict. The grave look is directed at you because you and your reaction, rather than the lamp cord itself, are the really interesting thing. If the child is a budding psychologist, we parents are the laboratory rats. It may be some comfort to know that these toddlers don’t really want to drive us crazy, they just want to understand how we work.
  13. Just as it’s important to infer the nature of other people’s minds in order to survive, it’s also important to infer the nature of the physical world.
  14. We look for the underlying, hidden causes of events. We try to figure out the nature of things. It’s not just that we human beings can do this; we need to do it. We seem to have a kind of explanatory drive, like our drive for food or sex. When we’re presented with a puzzle, a mystery, a hint of a pattern, something that doesn’t quite make sense, we work until we find a solution.
  15. Babies are similarly fascinated by causal relations between objects. Babies in the ribbon-and-mobile experiments actually get bored after a while with the spectacle of the mobile moving, but they don’t get bored with the sensation of their own power.
  16. We used to think that babies learned words first and that words helped them sort out which sounds were critical to their language. But this research turned the argument around. Babies master the sounds of their language first, and that makes the words easier to learn.
  17. Why do we do it? Do we produce motherese simply to get the babies’ attention? (It certainly does that.) Do we do it just to convey affection and comfort? Or does motherese have a more focused purpose? It turns out that motherese is more than just a sweet siren song we use to draw our babies to us. Motherese seems to actually help babies solve the Language problem. Motherese sentences are shorter and simpler than sentences directed at adults. Moreover, grown-ups speaking to babies often repeat the same thing over and over with slight variations. (“You are a pretty girl, aren’t you? Aren’t you a pretty girl? Pretty, pretty girl.”) These characteristics of motherese may help children to figure out the words and grammar of their language.
  18. One odd and interesting thing we know about these machines is that all the big ones start out small. The little machines actually turn into the big ones. If we want to understand the basic mechanisms that make these devices tick, perhaps we should start out small, too.
  19. We’ll summarize this big picture by elaborating on the three ideas we’ve presented in previous chapters.
    1. Foundations. Babies begin by translating information from the world into rich, complex, abstract, coherent representations. Those representations allow babies to interpret their experience in particular ways and to make predictions about new events. Babies are born with powerful programs already booted up and ready to run.
    2. Learning. Their experiences lead babies and young children to enrich, modify, revise, reshape, reorganize, and sometimes replace their initial representations, and so to end up with other, quite different rich, complex, abstract, coherent representations. As children take in more input from the world, their rules for translating, manipulating, and rearranging that input also change. Rather than having a single program, they have a succession of progressively more powerful and accurate programs. Children themselves play an active role in this process by exploring and experimenting. Children reprogram themselves.
    3. Other people. Other people, especially the people who take care of children, naturally act in ways that promote and influence the changes in the children’s representations and rules. Mostly they do this quite unconsciously. Other people are programmed to help children reprogram themselves.
  20. The philosopher Otto Neurath compared knowledge to a boat we rebuild as we sail in it. To keep afloat during his thirty years of wandering, Ulysses had to constantly repair and rebuild the boat he lived in. Each new storm or calm meant an alteration in the design. By the end of the journey hardly anything remained of the original vessel. That is an apt metaphor for our view of cognitive development. We begin with many beliefs about the world, and those beliefs allow us to understand what’s going on around us and to act—they let us navigate our way around. But as we do, we get new information that makes us change our beliefs and therefore understand and act in new ways.
  21. It may seem to us that we make up theories of the world because we want explanations, just as it seems to us that we have sex because we want orgasms. From the evolutionary point of view, though, the relationship is the reverse. Orgasms guarantee that we will keep trying to have sex, and our joy in explanation guarantees that we will keep trying to construct better, truer theories of the world. Getting the world right, like having sex, gives us a long-term evolutionary advantage. Drives and emotions turn those long-term advantages into short-term motivations. Studying babies makes us realize that the biological computers on this planet differ from the man-made computers in this regard, as well. They don’t just compute, learn, reason, and know. They are driven to do all these things and are designed to take intense pleasure in doing so.
  22. Imitation is the motor for culture. By imitating what the particular adults around them do, young children learn how to behave in the particular social world—the particular family or community or culture—they find themselves in. They can draw a bow or dress a doll or even learn such bizarre cultural rituals as pulling a piece of toothed plastic through their hair every morning and rubbing a stiff brush against their teeth every night.
  23. The second important thing about the influence of other people is that the most significant behavior seems almost entirely unintentional. Parents don’t deliberately set out to imitate their babies or to speak motherese; it’s just what comes naturally. Our instinctive behaviors toward babies and babies’ instinctive behaviors toward us combine to enable the babies to learn as much as they do. The third important thing about the influence of other people is that it seems to work in concert with children’s own learning abilities. Newborns will imitate facial expressions, but only much older babies will imitate actions on objects, like touching their forehead to the box. Babies won’t imitate complex actions they don’t understand themselves.
  24. Two things emerge from all these studies. The adult brain is a highly specialized device that responds specifically to specific kinds of stimulation. Particular parts of the brain, even individual cells, are designed to respond to information from the outside world in particular ways, sending that information off to other parts of the brain. In that sense the brain is like a classical computer. The brain is also, however, a dynamic and active system. Its parts are constantly interacting with one another, and often many parts of the brain and certainly many, many cells are simultaneously involved in processing even a simple piece of information. Unlike most computers, the brain has no single place where all the decisions are made or where all the information is stored.
  25. Everything a baby sees, hears, tastes, touches, and smells influences the way the brain gets hooked up.
  26. This early research with animals established an important point—a brain can physically expand and contract and change depending on experience.
  27. One of the other surprises of recent studies on the brain’s plasticity is that social factors can dramatically alter how animals learn. As we saw, white-crowned sparrows can typically learn their species’ song from a tape recording between days twenty and fifty. However, this critical period seems less rigid in the right social context. The sparrows can learn after they are fifty days old if they are exposed to a live tutor, a real bird singing the song in front of them. Interacting with another bird helps the baby bird learn.
  28. Moreover, the representations that result from learning influence how the brain processes new experiences. Experience changes the brain, but then those very changes alter the way new experience affects the brain. The sequence of development seems very important: choosing one path early on may heavily influence which paths will be available later.
  29. One benefit of knowing the science is a kind of protective skepticism. It should make us deeply suspicious of any enterprise that offers a formula for making babies smarter or teaching them more, from flash cards to Mozart tapes to Better Baby Institutes. Everything we know about babies suggests that these artificial interventions are at best useless and at worst distractions from the normal interaction between grown-ups and babies. Babies are already as smart as they can be, they know what they need to know, and they are very effective and selective in getting the kinds of information they need. They are designed to learn about the real world that surrounds them, and they learn by playing with the things in that world, most of all by playing with the people who love them. Not the least advantage of knowing about science is that it immunizes us from pseudoscience.
  30. Children, in particular, have suffered a grievous decline in just the goods that are most important to them: adult time, energy, and company. The child-rearing work that men and women and an extended family did a hundred years ago, and that women did thirty years ago, has to be done somehow by someone. The scientific moral is not that we need experts to tell us what to do with our children. What we need are the time and space and opportunity to do what we would do anyway, and that’s just what we are losing. Grandparents and uncles and aunts have also disappeared from children’s lives just when they are most needed, and grandchildren and nieces and nephews have sadly disappeared from our lives. Perhaps we will construct institutions that allow people whose own children have grown up, or who don’t have children, to be involved with other people’s children.
  31. When we look attentively, carefully, and thoughtfully at the things around us, they invariably turn out to be more interesting, more orderly, more complex, more strange, and more wonderful than we would ever have imagined. That’s what happened when Kepler looked carefully at the stars, when Darwin looked at finches, when Marie Curie looked at pitchblende ore. And it’s also what happened when Jane Austen looked at a provincial village and Proust looked at a madeleine cookie, when Vermeer looked at a girl making lace and Juan Gris looked at a café table.
What I got out of it
  1. Babies are born knowing a great deal and nature has designed adults to teach babies, as much as it has designed babies to learn. Don’t be seduced by new technologies, adult time, energy, and company are probably the most effective approaches to teaching children

The Richest Man in Babylon by George S. Clason

Summary
  1. George S. Clason lays out guidelines on how to build wealth over a lifetime. These straightforward steps take incredible self-discipline and can have life-altering implications if followed. 
 
Key Takeaways
  1. Save at least 10% of all that you earn for an investment fund for the future
  2. Learn to live on 90% or less of your income
  3. Invest your accumulated capital into projects that will provide a safe, steady income, taking full advantage of compounding of the interest received
  4. Invest only in areas in which you have expertise or with people who are experienced
  5. Buy the house in which you live so you don’t waste any money on rent
  6. Have a realistic insurance program
  7. Always keep working at various ways and means of increasing your income
  8. Track your wealth
 
What I got out of it
  1. This should be a mandatory read for every middle schooler. Simple wealth management advice that if learned early can have tremendous implications for the rest of your life. Will be one of the books I give away most to others

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