Mom Knows Best

We rely a lot on moms, there’s no doubt about it. From breakfasts, lunches, and dinners to homework, bake sales, and sports, our moms have our backs through it all. But that’s not all they’re responsible for! Based on some recent research, we now know that moms have a role in shaping their children’s brains – because there wasn’t enough pressure already, right?! Take a look at how moms make an imprint on our grey matter and how they knew best all along!

Turns out, moms are right to push “How was your day?” conversation over the dinner table.

A recent MIT study states that having a conversation with young children can help overcome socioeconomic differences when it comes to children’s language development. A landmark study from 1995 found that children from lower economic families have a “30 million word deficit” compared to children from more well-off families, correlating to differences in vocabulary, language development, and reading comprehension. That’s a tough situation to turn around, but MIT cognitive scientists studied 4-6 year olds using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) and found that, despite a parent’s income or education, the number of exchanges in a conversation predicted more activity in Broca’s area, the part of the brain most related to speech and language, and resulted in higher standardized scores on language assessments. It’s not just about having exposure to diversity of words, but about engaging in a conversation.

My mom always told me, it’s not necessarily what you say, but how you say things that’s important. She was right.

It turns out that baby talk used with young children has a greater function than just sounding sweet to their children. From previous research on the rhythm and pitch, we’ve come to understand that not only do babies prefer to hear baby talk but also they learn new words more easily from the exaggerated way of speaking. Researchers at Princeton wondered if the timbre of a voice – including breathiness, roughness, or nasality – had anything to do with that. They found that women in English and nine other languages change the way they speak to their babies, possibly as a way to indicate the distinction and importance of what they are about to say. Mom, own your baby talk with your infants! It’s serious business.

Making good choices is easier when Mom’s around.

As many of us know, learning from mom doesn’t stop when we’re infants. Often times we need more attention later on in preteen and teen years as we explore responsibilities and consequences of our actions. Developmental neuroscientists all agree that adolescents tend towards risky behavior, but there’s a new view on why. Previously, scientists believed this behavior was based on heightened activity in the ventral striatum, the reward system in our brain, was too strong to compete with the prefrontal cortex, the area of the brain associated with decision making and control, but researchers at UNC have found evidence that it depends on who’s around. In a driving simulation with fMRI, teens that drove alone through a yellow stop light strictly had more activity in their reward center. When mom was in the passenger seat, teens that stopped at a yellow light had greater activity at their ventral striatum and prefrontal cortex. Those teens that sped through the yellow with mom didn’t experience any extra reward.

It’s easy to put a lot of pressure on moms to provide the best for their children, but it’s good to know that they were already leading us down the right path all along. Thanks to all the moms out there doing their best!

Any lessons you learned from your mom or a woman you care about that you’re thankful for? Leave a comment!

Customer Spotlight: Ariel and Icker

Despite the wild ride towards the end of the school year, Jennifer, educator and mom of two, took some time to chat with me about her family’s experience with NeuroPlus. Jennifer is an adoptive mom of two children: an 11 year old girl Ariel and 7 year old boy Icker. They’ve both struggled with attention issues and have been diagnosed with ADD, which led Jennifer to look for help.

Jennifer knew that she was willing to try anything to help her family. “Being an educator, I’ve always looked at research based solutions to try to help my children.” Jennifer started with sensory training and worked with occupational therapists, among other therapies. Eventually she started medication with her daughter.

Never satisfied, Jennifer continued to look for other solutions for her family when she discovered NeuroPlus online. “The research was great, and the reviews were great,” said Jennifer, “so I thought, ‘Well, we’ll give it a try,’ and it really seems to be helping!”

Both Ariel and Icker use NeuroPlus as a part of their daily schedule to make sure they get make time for it. After outdoor playtime to unplug from school, dinner, and homework, Jennifer allows her children some screen time as the family hangs out together. “They’re required to play 20 minutes of NeuroPlus before they can play their other games,” Jennifer explains.

Since training, Jennifer’s noticed a dramatic difference in life at home.

Young girl wearing NeuroPlus headset while training

Ariel is medicated on school days, but just in time for homework, that medication has worn off, making homework time a struggle for the family. Previously, the homework that was meant to take 15 to 25 minutes was taking hours. Since training with NeuroPlus, Jennifer shared, “Ariel is able to complete her homework in a reasonable amount of time to be successful.”

Meanwhile, Icker struggled with reading. Since his attention training began “He seems to be enjoying reading a little bit more and he’s getting better at it,” Jennifer said. “I think it’s all due to their training.”

Reflecting on her children’s experience so far, Jennifer observed, “My children are old enough that once their bodies actually start to focus, they know how that feels. It makes them more alert.” She continued, “The sad thing is that attention isn’t a skill that you can teach. I can’t tell my children, ‘This is how you focus.’ It was something the medicine was doing for them, but NeuroPlus has given them the opportunity to know what that feels like.”

Would you like to see similar results with your family?

Schedule time with an account specialist to learn more about NeuroPlus!