Author and humorist Erma Bombeck once wrote, “When my kids become wild and unruly, I use a nice, safe playpen. When they’re finished, I climb out.” As parents and teachers, we all have moments when we would like to hide away, avoid confrontation, and wait for the quiet that follows the storm.
Few people know if their child is right or left brain dominant. Few people understand why it is important to know such a thing. Not only does brain hemisphere domination relate to how a child learns and absorbs information, but their thought process, emotions, and conflict management are all tied to it as well.
The brain is made up of two halves – hemispheres – with each one controlling the opposite side of the body. This means that the right half processes what the left eye sees, and it controls the left side of the body. The opposite is true for the left hemisphere.
Children are born right side dominant. Until the age of three, blood flow is significantly greater to the right hemisphere of the brain. Between ages 4-7 there is a huge shift, as the left half of the brain typically takes over. This aligns with most countries of the world delaying formal education until 7 years of age. The LEFT SIDE OF THE BRAIN is responsible for the reading, writing, calculation, logistical thinking, verbal processes, analytical thinking, and ability to focus for extended periods of time. It is known as the “DIGITAL BRAIN.” But for some children, this shift is much more gradual – or does not fully happen. These “RIGHT-BRAINED CHILDREN” are known as ‘BUTTERFLY CHASERS.’ The right hemisphere is visual. It processes information as a whole with an emotional product. Creativity, artistic ability, emotions, and all of the senses are tied to the right side.
Like all human beings, children are ruled by their emotional right brain and their logical left brain. Helping children to understand and integrate both sides of their brain equips them with an invaluable tool that enables them to lead a more balanced, emotionally stable, and mentally healthy life.
The next discussion, Part 2, will discuss its logic, empathy and acknowledgment; Part 3 will follow to share some activities for the right and left brain (ages 4 to 10), for the left brain (ages 4 to 7) and finally the right brain (ages 7-10).