Podcast Episode 161: How Children Reach Their Potential – A Conversation with Educator Nicole Gardner

Welcome! To listen to today’s episode, scroll all the way down to the bottom of this post and hit the triangular “play” button. Enjoy the show!

Recently I attended a presentation about all the key stuff happening in our kids’ brains, in which today’s guest, Nicole Gardner of the Bezos Family Foundation, shared research, stories, and ideas that resonated so deeply with me, I knew I needed to get her on the show.

I learned that:
– babies’ brains create millions – millions! – of new neurons every second
– young kids are all set to learn what they need to know, they come equipped with the best educational tools built-in
– the single most important learning tool they need from their environment: trusted adults

Today’s conversation dives into raising kids in the best possible environment, taking advantage of the science around this subject and really cultivating a great relationship with our kids – something we want anyway, right?

Click weturnedoutokay.com/161 for show notes and key links, including to a really cool app for parents, the Daily Vroom!

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When Nicole gets parents who say things like “why does it matter what they learn when they’re so little and they’re going to forget it all anyway?” she has a few great responses:

“Everything that a child does in those early years IS learning.”

“I’m helping them learn to be human beings.”

The scientific evidence points to the fact that we are emphasizing academics too much, and were not teaching kids the so-called soft skills, such as empathy, cooperation, collaboration, etc.

As a former worrier and hovering parent myself, one of my favorite moments from our conversation comes while discussing what happens when well-meaning parents smooth the way for kids.

Hovering, Nicole shares, “prevents them from taking on challenges.” If we do everything for them, they don’t learn to do anything for themselves; Nicole also digs into fixed versus growth mindset in connection with this idea, sharing that the growth mindset – the idea that as humans, we can always learn and grow – helps our children take on the inevitable challenges they will face.

We also discuss how, when we grown-ups share, in Nicole’s words, “our strategies about how we cope with hard emotions,” we give our children a roadmap to follow as they confront their own difficulties.

It’s a great conversation. Both Nicole and I shared after I hit “stop” on the recording that, in a completely organic way, every topic we had hoped to cover did get covered!
Key Links:

Connect with Nicole Gardner via email here.

Check out the Daily Vroom, the app that uses science to help us understand the parenting factors that are truly important to our kids’ growth, here.

Learn more about Mind in the Making, Ellen Galinsky’s book and research about what kids need to grow into engaged, happy adults, here.

For information about the Ninja Parenting Community, where I help moms and dads just like you solve their toughest parenting problems, click here.

If you love the show, please consider rating and reviewing us in iTunes… That’s how so many people find us. Click here to rate/review, and thanks so much!

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