Media Resources

Welcome to the Media page for Dr Mine Conkbayir, award-winning author, lecturer and trainer. She has worked in the field of early childhood education and care for over 17 years and is a winner of the Nursery Management Today (NMT) Top 5 Most Inspirational People in Childcare Award.

Dr Conkbayir’s PhD was in early childhood education and neuroscience and developed her work in the complex and challenging subject of infant brain development. Her key objective is to bridge the gap between neuroscience and Early Years discourse and practice. She hopes that her research will provide the necessary evidence to seek solutions to this persistent issue, with the ultimate goal of enhancing provision for babies, children and young adults.

Image of all participants in the Muslim Professional Forum, Knife Crime Summit, House of Commons

In the News…

Grateful for the coverage in The Guardian/The Observer concerning my experience of being silenced by the Department for Education.

Due to my child-centred narrative running contrary to their toxic approaches to the education system, the Department for Education refused to fund event organisers to pay me for my keynote on the importance of self-regulation in the early years. When the organisers told those concerned that I would expose them, they said that it was ”a risk they were willing to take”.

And these people are at the helm of our education system. I despair.

THIS – despite giving my time and ”expertise” to them regarding the harmful content in the Department for Education’s Covid recovery programme at no cost. We cannot afford to be forced into silence when it comes to advocating for children’s mental health and wellbeing.

If anyone’s interested, check out The Sunday Times from 23 October 2023, as Paul and I feature in it regarding my/our experience of ADHD. Nice to already be receiving positive feedback from fellow ADHDers. Clearly the piece lacks, but I cannot control the press!

As for ADHD Awareness Month – no. We need to open up dialogue around ADHD every day. Still too much ignorance and harmful stereotypes abound.

Great to see they included a link to my latest therapeutic storybook, ‘Maya’s ACE Adventures!’ and its adult guide, which are on sale in their Sunday Times Book Club.

“They have to be made accountable, we can’t have parents being blamed for societal ills.”

After it was said that staff turnover is ‘traumatising’ children, neuroscience expert Dr Mine Conkbayir tells Paul Brand that the government is not doing enough to support the childcare sector.

Thanks to Byline Times for publishing my tribute to the late, GREAT, Camila Batmanghelidjh, founder of the equally GREAT Kids Company.

Take a moment to read and reflect on the impact of her support to the most vulnerable children/YP – when no one else would.

An important opportunity to right some wrongs.

RIEPOWER, Camila 🙏

School strikes kick off today across England and Wales. Teachers have my full support. It means a bit of juggling at our end as parents, but in lieu of the government giving teachers what they desperately need – it is worth it.

Below is a link to an interview I gave for The Guardian:

While it is positive that Kate is shining a light on the early years, I feel like this is all one big exercise in pointing out the obvious (yes, the first five years are fundamentally important; yes, poor adult mental health can often be traced back to the early years; and yes, the sector remains grossly misrepresented and underfunded etc) to promote her Early Childhood Campaign.

So glad to see my views about Princess Kate’s Campaign on early years development featured in Sky News:

TV Interviews.

Mine has been interviewed a number of times on national television about her work in mental health; find out more below.

Drag Queen Story Time

Proud to fly the flag for Drag Queen Story Time (DQST) on the Trisha Goddard Show.DQST's continue to be a massive success across nurseries, schools, libraries and art galleries since their inception in 2015, but sadly, recent protests at an art gallery show that ignorance and intolerance still abound. [more...]

Radio Interviews

Tune in to my interview with the inimitable Babs Michel on BBC Radio 3 Counties.

We talk about the importance of working with children/YP in ways that are trauma-informed and the role of my latest therapeutic children’s storybook, “Maya’s ACE Adventures!” in facilitating healing from trauma.

Children Heard and Seen and Prison Advice and Care Trust (Pact) also get a shout out for the invaluable work they do on behalf of children and families affected by parental imprisonment.

We are not our ACEs.

And we’ve kicked off Mental Health Awareness Week 2023 with the topic of anxiety!

Of all days, when my anxiety is so bad, that I couldn’t bear to give my interview on the very subject for BBC Radio Norfolk. Oh the irony! Heart pounding, feeling sick and sweating, with shaking hands, I gave the interview and here it is!

Do please tune in – I discuss exam anxiety in children in this GCSEs week and how we might help them surmount feelings of anxiety:

Tune in to my interview on BBC Radio London concerning the blight on our education system that is the SATs.

Tune in here:

It was a pleasure to speak with Tammy Gooding on BBC Hereford & Worcester concerning the failure to ban smacking in England.

Yet another opportunity missed to prioritise children’s rights to be protected from physical and consequent psychological harm.

Tune in here:

Thoroughly enjoyed speaking with Nick Ferrari on LBC Radio this morning concerning this useless government’s rejection of the ban on smacking.

Smacking IS a form of physical abuse and is considered an adverse childhood experience for a reason. It is traumatic and derails healthy brain development and behaviour (oh the irony) across the life trajectory.

Tune in here:

An early start for me, though when you have a sleepless night due to the Chancellor’s plan for ‘child care’, a 5:30am interview is actually most welcome!

It is not ‘FREE’. Parents WILL have to pay the difference where nurseries cannot afford to actually provide the places, and given it is still billions short of helping settings to at least break even, I’m afraid to say this is a recipe for disaster – not just for our sector but for those infants and children and their families.

Listen to my interview with Rosie Wright on Times Radio, here:

I gave three BBC Radio interviews on the subject of the news that nursery fees are set to rise by £1,000 this year as childcare providers struggle with costs.

During my BBC Radio Cambridgeshire with Glenn Jones, I pointed out that the government has somehow managed to fool the nation into thinking that child care costs NOTHING!

I also spoke with Adam Green on BBC Radio Shropshire on the subject. Tune in here:

You can listen to my interview on BBC Radio Humberside with Kofi Smiles on the matter, here:

Was a pleasure to speak with the legendary David Grant MBE and Carrie Grant MBE on BBC Radio London. We discussed all things #childrensmentalhealthweek2023.

Tune in here:

Judge John’s letter to two siblings concerning their parents’ divorce has clearly resonated with the public.

Let’s hope it is the catalyst for much needed CHANGE in family courts.

Tune in to my interview on LBC Radio with Paul Brand here:

Tune in to my interview with Ben Kentish on LBC Radio concerning the number of children and young people prescribed antipsychotics in England doubling in just two decades.

Ben asked me what might be behind this disturbing trend. My response: they are being prescribed OFF-LABEL and UNAPPROVED for use in children as young as TWO-YEARS-OLD, as a behavioural control – and it should be illegal:

It was a pleasure to speak with Chloe Tilley on Times Radio concerning how to talk with your children about the cost of living at Christmas.

The cost of living crisis is affecting most of us – and Christmas can serve to amplify feelings of stress, anxiety and general poor mental health, as we try to make it a memorable Christmas without busting the bank.

So what can we do to alleviate the pressure and make it one to remember (for all the right reasons)?

We just need to frame it differently – and we can do this by truly embracing the 3 C’s of Christmas!  Tune in to find out more:

Tune in and listen to me discussing my latest book, The Neuroscience of the Developing Child, on BBC Radio Oxford!

You can expect to hear me talking about the need to teach children about their brains and bodies, as well as championing children’s RIGHTS to be listened to and respected and why, therefore, we need to eschew all things behaviour management:

Mine was interviewed by Pat Sissons on BBC Radio Solent in November 2022.

This interview, light in tone, concerned accent bias and the impact on life opportunities. My advice to bilingual families: Let’s put these 3 Ps into practice:

  • Be proud
  • Preserve your accent
  • Pass it on!

(Following the interview, Pat Sissons said, ‘’Enjoyed this interview a lot – proud to still have my Northern twang down South!’’)

Mine was a featured guest on Nikki Bedi’s Sunday Morning Show on BBC Radio London in March 2017.

You can listen to the part of the show that featured Mine here!



Articles by Dr Mine Conkbayir

Starting a Self-Regulation Revolution

Learn why self-regulation is a critical part of child development, and why we should be focusing on it.

Transcript of an interview for the blog with Dr Mine Conkbayir and Ursula Krystek-Walton.

Every setting is different, and every child is different. But are we too quick to treat children’s behaviour using a blanket approach?

Strict behaviour management plays a large role in too many early years settings across the UK. We chatted to Dr Mine Conkbayir and Ursula Krystek-Walton to hear why that needs to change.

Mine is a lecturer, author and consultant with a special focus on neuroscience and self-regulation in the Early Years. Ursula is Head of Early Years at the Bertram Nursery group, and has already been working with Mine to bring her training into their settings, alongside a brand new self-regulation focused curriculum.

They discuss the importance of ‘self-regulation’ for child development, and the strategies you can bring into your settings to put the child’s emotional wellbeing first.

We made a quick round-up of the key points below along with our favourite clips – but if you’d like to watch the whole hour-long session just scroll on down to the bottom to watch it.

Top 5 interview takeaways
  • Self-regulation is a critical part of child development. Without it, children won’t be able to understand their emotions or begin to develop the tools they need to be lifelong learners.
  • The outdated process of formal behaviour management is at the heart of many Early Years policies. Mine and Ursula suggest that this process does not place the proper emphasis on children’s wellbeing that it deserves.
  • It’s your job as a Co-Regulator to help children on their self-regulation journey. Naming, validating and understanding their emotions and behaviour is absolutely vital, as you can’t expect a child to self-regulate without a helping hand.
  • Creating a self-regulation space is crucial. Children need a safe, quiet place to process their emotions in order to begin self-regulating.
  • You should be reflective about the current practices that you use in your setting. You know your setting and children the best, and should focus on their wellbeing first.

Every setting is different, and every child is different. But are we too quick to treat children’s behaviour using a blanket approach?

Strict behaviour management plays a large role in too many early years settings across the UK. We chatted to Dr Mine Conkbayir and Ursula Krystek-Walton to hear why that needs to change.

Mine is a lecturer, author and consultant with a special focus on neuroscience and self-regulation in the Early Years. Ursula is Head of Early Years at the Bertram Nursery group, and has already been working with Mine to bring her training into their settings, alongside a brand new self-regulation focused curriculum.

They discuss the importance of ‘self-regulation’ for child development, and the strategies you can bring into your settings to put the child’s emotional wellbeing first.

We made a quick round-up of the key points below, but if you’d like to watch the whole hour-long session just scroll on down to the bottom to watch it.

So what is self-regulation?

It sounds like a complicated topic, but you’ll see from Mine that self-regulation and early neuroscience can be a lot simpler than you might think.

In essence, self-regulation is knowing how to manage your emotions and behaviour in any situation you might find yourself in.

Preparing children for any situation is certainly no easy task – that’s why it’s so vital you deepen your knowledge about how self-regulation works and how you can support it. As Mine explains, there are 5 different domains of self-regulation:

  • Biological – A child’s energy levels and how they respond to what’s around them
  • Emotional – Controlling positive and negative emotions like excitement and fear
  • Social – Knowing and understanding social cues, and how to act in social situations
  • Prosocial – Knowing how to act with others and how to acknowledge their feelings
  • Cognitive – How a child processes their own thoughts and then uses that information

For young children, this can be a real struggle. Mine explains that these 5 domains are ‘massive asks’ of them if they don’t have help or encouragement.

Self-regulation and the Early Learning Goals

Drawing on her recent studies in Neuroscience in the Early Years, Mine states that the current Early Learning Goals miss the crucial point that self-regulation provides ‘the foundation for executive functioning.’

In short, the learning goals do not acknowledge that without self-regulation, children will not be able to develop the essential skills they need to plan, make goals and display self-control.

Mine believes that self-regulation skills are the building blocks for executive functioning, and these skills will ‘stay with the child for life’.

Ursula agrees, noting that her ‘lightbulb’ was realising that the skills developed through self-regulation, such as this ability to process and understand emotions, were necessary for navigating life, not just Early Years.

The dangers of a passive child

Within the framework of formal behaviour management, an obedient child is rewarded and a ‘naughty’ child is more likely to be told off for their bad behaviour.

But for Ursula, there is “nothing more dangerous than a child who is passive, quiet and does what they’re told by an adult simply because that’s the behaviour they have learnt.” In other words, if a child learns that their behaviour is wrong, they will repress this behaviour and become passive.

Not only will children not stick up for themselves by doing this, but they lose their voice and ability to defend themselves as well. Can this be dangerous? From a safeguarding perspective – absolutely. If children don’t learn how to harness their emotions and build up their confidence, they may not be able to do so in later life.

How to help children self-regulate

Encouraging self-regulation itself can begin with a few simple steps. Ursula uses the example of a child being terrified of the setting’s gardener to explain this process.

In her discussion Ursula notes that a simple ‘I understand that this frightens you’ is the first step in helping a child begin their self-regulation journey.

In line with Mine’s ‘Name it to Tame it’ concept, Ursula stresses the importance of naming an emotion so that the child is able to fully understand it, and validate that emotion. Instead of keeping the child in a state of stress, this teaches them that their emotions are perfectly okay.

It’s up to you as the practitioner to then assess the situation and decide what the next steps are to help this child continue their self-regulation journey. Can you plan stories and activities about the gardener? Can you encourage parents to discuss gardening at home? This all plays a role in allowing the child to understand the emotions behind their fear, and to show them that you are there and ready to support them.

Ursula also points out that the particular child in question could have a sensory issue that you aren’t aware of. If we immediately shut children down without validating their emotions, these are exactly the kind of issues that we can miss.

How to make a self-regulation safe space

At 27 minutes in, she emphasises the importance of making a self-regulation safe space in your setting – a ‘cosy’ space, completely separate from the reading nook or play corner.

Spending all day with 30 other children can be incredibly overwhelming and having a calm, quiet space is key for children to learn how to control these emotions independently.

Creating a safe space is simple – it can be as easy as a pair of noise-cancelling headphones and a few cushions, says Ursula. What matters is that children know they can go there if they are feeling stressed, anxious or upset.

For Ursula these spaces are absolutely necessary to help a child self-regulate, as building self-regulation skills can only happen when children feel ‘safe, secure and motivated.’

Your role as a co-regulator

Helping children self-regulate beyond the self-regulation space is just as important. That’s your role as a co-regulator.

Being a co-regulator involves helping every child to maintain these skills of self-regulating in everyday life and beyond. You’re playing a vital role in giving them a ‘toolkit’ to use into adulthood.

Mine discusses that children need a helping hand when it comes to regulating their ‘emotions, attitude and behaviour in a socially acceptable way’. It doesn’t just happen ‘by osmosis’.

From the moment a child is born, all their responsive reactions have become part of their self-regulation journey. It’s up to you to be the support on the other side.

‍How can I get my team on board?

Ursula acknowledges that staff may be scared to adopt self-regulation as it isn’t part of the official Ofsted guidance. With the pressure Ofsted places on so many settings, it’s with good reason that many are reluctant to take something on that isn’t part of that inspection. But wherever Ofsted place their focus, what really matters is the impact you’re having on the children in your setting.

For Ursula, sharing and cascading information to all members of staff is key. If staff understand the science and benefits behind self-regulation, they will be able to confidently carry out these strategies and explain why they are using them.

Both Ursula and Mine agree that gaining knowledge and insight into self-regulation is key to cascading this information. Only then can you begin to confidently and effectively introduce self-regulation practices into your setting.

Where to find out more

Mine recognises that there is simply not enough information available for practitioners and parents to understand Self-Regulation and what it means for the Early Years.

That’s why she’s created a free app called ‘Keep your cool toolbox’, to help everyone from young children to teenagers manage their own behaviour. This gives parents and practitioners a huge toolbox to work with so they can introduce Self-Regulation practices into their day-to-day lives.

She’s also created a programme specifically designed to introduce practitioners to Self-Regulation. Ursula herself has carried out this programme, and brought the practices she learnt there back to all the settings at Betram.

‍Watch the full hour-long session

Here’s the full hour-long session, in which Mine and Ursula go into depth on self-regulation practices with real-life examples and tips.

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