How Children Thrive: The Practical Science of Raising Independent, Resilient, and Happy Kids

How Children Thrive: The Practical Science of Raising Independent, Resilient, and Happy Kids

How Children Thrive: The Practical Science of Raising Independent, Resilient, and Happy Kids

How Children Thrive: The Practical Science of Raising Independent, Resilient, and Happy Kids


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Discover the proven ways parents can help their children learn, overcome adversity, get along with others, and become independent—while you relax and enjoy being a parent

How do children thrive? As a parent, you probably think about this all the time. You want your children to have happy, healthy, and meaningful lives—but what’s the best way to support them? In How Children Thrive, developmental pediatrician and parent Dr. Mark Bertin provides a positive, simple, and empowering approach for raising children of all ages. Bringing together mindfulness, new science on brain development, and the messy reality of being a parent, Dr. Bertin has a created a breakthrough guide that will help children—and their parents—flourish.
Research has shown that the key to raising resilient, kind, and independent children lies in executive function, our mental capacity to manage just about everything in life. "Despite its wonky, overly scientific name, there is nothing complicated about building executive function," Dr. Bertin writes. "It’s actually a lot more straightforward and less anxiety-provoking than most of the parenting advice out there." Through concise, easily applied chapters, Dr. Bertin provides simple strategies for helping your children develop healthy EF while taking care of yourself and enjoying your family. Highlights include:

Mindfulness—how it directly builds EF and how to incorporate mindful practices for the whole family
• The importance of free play, the science behind it, and how to encourage more of it
• Technology—how much is too much? At what age is screen time OK? Help your kids have a healthy relationship with media.
• Create simple routines that support independence around homework, nutrition, sleep, friendships, and more
• Age-appropriate advice for toddlers, teens, and even your twenty-somethings
• Limits and discipline: How to determine—and stick with—consequences for unwanted behavior
• Understand markers for whether your child is developmentally on track or if extra support might be needed
• Find the advice you need when you need it with short, independent chapters full of concrete practices
• Bring more calm, ease, and joy to your parenting while taking care of yourself—even when family life gets chaotic
• Give yourself permission to make mistakes and adapt along the way
"The pressure to be the perfect parent is overwhelming," writes Dr. Bertin, "but the truth is the job is too challenging and varied to ever be done to perfection." With compassion and reassurance, Dr. Bertin presents a relaxed, instinctual, and evidence-based approach to raising children who thrive.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781683640202
Publisher: Sounds True, Incorporated
Publication date: 05/01/2018
Pages: 256
Sales rank: 694,354
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 8.90(h) x 0.90(d)

About the Author

Mark Bertin
Mark Bertin, MD, is a developmental pediatrician and author. His previous books, Mindful Parenting for ADHD and The Family ADHD Solution, integrate mindfulness with other evidence-based ADHD care. He is also a contributing author for the book Teaching Mindfulness Skills to Kids and Teens. Dr. Bertin is a faculty member at New York Medical College and the Windward Teacher Training Institute, and is on the advisory boards for the nonprofit organizations Common Sense Media and Reach Out and Read. His blog is available through HuffPost, Mindful magazine,, and Psychology Today. For more information, please visit his website at
Christopher Willard
CHRISTOPHER WILLARD, PSYD, is a clinical psychologist and consultant specializing in bringing mindfulness into education and psychotherapy. The author of Child’s Mind (Parallax, 2010) and other books on the topic, Dr. Willard lives in Cambridge, Massachusetts and teaches at Harvard Medical School and Lesley University. For more, visit

Table of Contents

Foreword xi

Introduction xiii

Part 1 Brain Management as a Developmental Path 1

Marshmallows and the Developing Mind 2

Managing Your Child's Brain-Until They Can Manage It Themselves 5

Putting One Foot in Front of the Other: Monitoring Milestones 10

Kids Just Need to Be Kids 16

Executive Function Every Day 21

Not Ready for Prime Time Preschool 26

School-Age EF: Building Independence Through Routine 30

Keeping Homework in Its Place 34

Adolescent Brains Aren't Grown-Up Brains: Collaborating with Your Teen 39

You Gotta Take Care of Yourself 43

Part 2 The A-E-I-O-U and Y of Childhood Well-Being 49

Prioritizing What Matters Most 51

The Vital Role of Play 55

Putting Your Kids on a Media Diet 59

Positive Parenting with Authority 65

Limit-Setting Guides Children Toward Success 70

Chronic Stress and Communication 76

Training Your Brain to Live More Intentionally 81

Practice: Breathing Meditation 83

Bringing Mindfulness Home 84

Mindfulness Starts with You 88

EF Starts with Consistency, Consistency, Consistency 93

Books, the Brain, and Family Relationships 97

Building a Better Learner 101

Making the Choice for Intervention 105

Nothing More or Less Than an EF Deficiency 108

Facts Are Facts, Even Around Child Development 111

Grit, Mindset, and Their Relationship to EF 117

Motivation in Kids Relies on Success 120

Persistence + Skill = Resilience 123

Part 3 Practical, Positive Parenting: Self-Management Every Day 127

Behavior and the Brain: The Early Years (I Want It Now) 128

Time-Outs in Real Time 134

Behavior and the Brain: The Teen Years (Leave Me Alone … Except When I Need You) 137

Lovable and Healthy Nutrition for Children 142

To Sleep, Perchance to Sleep 147

Modeling Media Use: Parents First 152

Managing Media Through the Ages 156

Part 4 Mindfulness and Families 159

The Antidote for Perfectionism 160

Practice: Working with Your Inner Critic 163

Attention, the Negativity Bias, and Stress 164

Feeding the Right Wolf 168

Eating as a Metaphor for Mindfulness 171

Practice: Eating Mindfully 173

Managing Stress from Our Toes to Our Head 174

Practice: Body Scan Meditation 176

Emotional Rescue: Using Mindfulness to Reset Your Internal Life 177

Practice: Paying Attention to Emotions 179

Awareness of Thought: Finding the Light in Mental Storms 181

Practice: Watching the Weather 184

Shoring Up Resilience Through Mindfulness: Its All in Your Mind 186

Unhooked from Reactivity, Hooked onto Wisdom 190

Practice: Getting Unhooked 193

See a Habit to Break a Habit 194

Practice: Fifteen Breaths 197

Self-Compassion and the Average Parent 198

Practice: Self-Compassion 201

Common-Sense Compassion 202

Practice: Compassion (Lovingkindness) Meditation 204

Everyday Mindfulness 205

Mindful Kids in Context 209

Closing Thoughts: Seeing the World as It Is 211

Acknowledgments 215

Notes 217

About the Author 229

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