Mr. Wiggs brought nifty model of the human brain to our class to introduce two basic parts of the brain: the lizard brain (aka brain stem and amygdala) and the wizard brain (aka pre-frontal cortex). The Lizard Brain, very simply put, is responsible for processing threats and is activated in strong emotional situations. The wizard brain, on the other hand, is responsible for complex thought, planning, decision making and self-awareness. When children understand that they have “two brains” working at different times, they are better able to cope in difficult situations by working towards “getting their wizard brain back in charge.”
Once children grasp the concept, we can start prompting them with questions like, “What brain are you using right now - wizard or lizard?”, or, “Wait until your wizard brain is in charge.” This might also help us as a adults by simply identifying when a child is in lizard mode and waiting for them to calm down.
Still curious about the brain? Check out this quick video: