Is Your Child’s Brain Upstairs or Downstairs?

Parents often come to me telling me that..

… their kid is having a huge meltdown over something small
… their child gets so upset when they lose a game and is inconsolable
… their child has such big emotions coming home from school each day

and that no amount of repeating back their emotions, guiding them through deep breaths, or kind words, seems to help.

When I have these conversations, the first thing I want people to know is the concept of the upstairs/downstairs brain (coined by Dr. Dan Siegel) so they can help guide their children upstairs.

In this video, I go through the two different parts of all of our brains.

The concept of an upstairs/downstairs brain explains why very well-meaning things like:
– asking your child to take the other person’s perspective
– thinking about what they’ve done wrong
– taking deep breaths
don’t always (or usually!) work.

Take a look at the video explanation above.

The next time your child has a meltdown, or feels extremely anxious in advance of a new event, or gets really shy before going into a crowd..

.. picture them downstairs. In their emotions, in their reflexes, in their deeply primitive, mammal-like state. And, see them as this young mammal without the tools they need.

Then, think about meeting them downstairs, where they live, and helping them walk to the upstairs part of their brain.

You can guide them to this critical-thinking, storytelling, meaning-making part of their brain by “walking them upstairs.”

There are specific tools and strategies you can use to “walk your child upstairs.”

And, importantly, you need to do this when things are calmer. Your child can’t hear you during a meltdown!

In my Raising Resilient Kids program, we go through several ways of meeting our child downstairs and “walking them upstairs.”

I’ll be enrolling folks in the next cohort soon! If you think you may want to join, please book a time to connect here.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Copyright © 2023 Calm Connected LLC - All Rights Reserved.