When is your child’s brain most open to change?

A child's brain open to change

When is your child’s brain most open to change? 

Your child’s brain is most open to change in the time directly after a chiropractic adjustment.

Research by Dr Heidi Haavik shows that after an adjustment, brain function changes by 20%!  This change happens primarily in the prefrontal cortex and the cerebellum.

Where is the PreFrontal Cortex in the brain and what does it do?

Prefrontal cortex

The prefrontal cortex is in the front of the brain behind the forehead.  It’s the last part of the human brain to develop and is the part that makes us human. 

The prefrontal cortex is what gives us the ability for rational thought and decision making.  This part of the brain takes about 25 years to fully develop. Which explains why children and youth make some not-so-rational choices.

Where is the Cerebellum in the brain and what does it do?

Cerebellum in the brain

The cerebellum is just behind the top of the brain stem.  This part of the brain is what handles movement of the body.  Specifically the voluntary movement such as walking, running, drawing and writing. 

The cerebellum is also what allows us to maintain balance, stay upright and have proper muscle coordination. 

What else does the Prefrontal Cortex and Cerebellum Control?

  • Decision making
  • Social interaction
  • Memory, attention and concentration
  • Eye movements
  • Body movements
  • Processing how you feel in your body
  • Understanding emotional responses
  • Intelligence 
  • Body awareness and balance
  • Understanding where you are relative to the world around you (proprioception)
  • Rotating objects in space (for example, noticing the difference between an “m” and a “w”)

What to do after your child’s adjustment:

Use the time after an adjustment for a chance to reinforce positive changes in your child’s brain. 

Following an adjustment is the best time to tackle things like:

  • Homework that’s challenging 
  • Studying
  • Practicing something new they’re trying to learn (for example, a musical instrument, or even a new language)
  • Play catch, go to a park, run around, physical movement
  • Work on a sport or physical skill they’re trying to improve in
  • Give their brain positive thoughts to focus on, such as: Simple things like, “Wow, you’re doing such a great job!”  “You’re so smart!” “You’re really talented at this!” “You did such a good job the way you put this together.” “You did such a great job the way you handled that situation!”
  • It’s a great time to reinforce what you love about him or her, or certain behaviors you’re trying to improve (“I love when you put your toys away.”  “It makes me feel so good when you come to the dinner table right away.”)
  • Help them reflect on things you’re both grateful for
  • Reinforce a positive habit you’ve been practicing with your child
  • Go to a place with an open view (field, river, lake, park) to activate the brain even more

Things that you want to help your child avoid:

Know that the brain is most open during this time, so both positive and negative habits can be reinforced. 

Help your child avoid things like:

  • Screens (phones, iPads, computers)
  • Lots of drama or highly charged interactions…unless you want to keep repeating those patterns in your life. 
  • Habits you’re trying to break (for example, junk food)

What to Expect

As you continue to reinforce positive habits and behaviors after an adjustment, you’ll begin to notice a few things.  The biggest change will be subtle and seem to be very slow in coming.

Just know that it’s quite possible one day you’ll watch your child and suddenly become aware that the positive changes have become a part of them.

We’d love to hear about all you’re noticing in your child. Contact us here on our Facebook page. We’re cheering you on!

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