Updated: Apr 15
Everyone, young children, older children, and adults alike, move in and out of alpha brainwave constantly while watching TV.
Television itself, regardless of the content, relies on cuts, zooms, pans, sudden noises, rapid camera shifts, and other techniques to trigger the "orienting response," an instinctual response to sudden noise, movement, or potential danger.
This causes the brain to switch out of alpha wave for a few seconds before returning to baseline. The orienting response keeps the brain focused on the TV while gathering more information. Hence we have the addictive phenomenon -- being in alpha brainwave receptive mode, switching continually every few seconds to beta (to determine danger) from the orienting response, back to alpha -- all in an unfocused state.
It is the reason behind the success of all the commercial ads -- if they didn't work, advertisers wouldn't use them, right? So a person is very susceptible to content, although very unaware of it at the time. And we all have seen children and adults alike, absolutely riveted to the screen to the exclusion of everything around them.
Our TweedleWink DVD flashcards are shown at a rate of one second per card, far less than the split-second changes on television. We use calming alpha wave music throughout. We always invite parents to compare one of our flashcards with a contemporary children's television show to see the difference.
Mental imaging is one of the key activities in the right brain classroom.
(It is Step 4 in the Wink program.)
To begin, we clear our minds of all images... sort of like erasing a chalkboard. Sometimes, it is not that easy.
One day last fall, we began this activity with Ben, a six-year-old boy, and his mother. Ben was a quiet boy who loved to read and invent things in his mind. He definitely kept his parents busy with questions and ideas! Not surprisingly, he jumped right into mental imaging games with amazing results. He could see the images, manipulate them easily and with great clarity.
After two lessons Ben and his family left on a vacation. When he returned, he resumed classes. When we tried to erase the chalkboard, Ben cried, "I see Zorro!" We said, "Great! Now, let's erase the chalkboard completely.
We waited a minute and then he said, "I still see Zorro."
He continued to describe a movie he had seen while on vacation, going through the plot twice before "downloading" everything and settling into a relaxed right-brain alpha-wave state. Next week's lesson was almost exactly the same. Three Wink lessons later, his mind had finally let go of the images (and emotions!) he experienced in the movie so that he could erase the chalkboard and fully engage in right brain play.
This story illustrates three vital points we must all keep in mind when raising and teaching children:
Every image (sight, sound, odor, taste, touch) is FOOD for the brain.
Carefully select the images you and your child experience.
You can help your child "digest" images by talking to him about his day before he goes to sleep at night. Night time is the best time for children to relax into an alpha-wave state and "download" information, clearing the right brain pathway for the next day's set of images.
You are the guard for your child's mind.
You can see our own educational videos here.
Be wise, aware, and balanced.