Wouldn’t it be great if we can help stimulate our child’s brain power with love… not stress? But with all the toys, apps, and techniques available today, deciding what to do can be a confusing and stressful task in itself. Don’t worry! Here’s a list of 10 simple ways parents and caregivers can help ensure their child’s healthy brain development:
Encourage the Love of Reading
Reading helps your child unwind after a full day of school, play, and activities. Not only do books feed the mind, it promotes bonding, improves attention span, builds vocabulary, and enhances memory! Here’s a list of my 14 year-old son’s 30 favorite books we’ve read together since before he even started kindergarten!
Teach Empowering Internal Dialogue
This can dramatically enhance intellectual performance! Teach your child to eliminate negative self-talk and build self-confidence by showing him how to practice positive internal dialogue such as: “I can do this; I’ll be OK,” “I’ll do my best with what I know and can do right now, and I know I can keep learning and improving no matter what.” This will help prevent your child from thinking himself into poor outcomes .
Practice Mental Gymnastics
Playing games that stimulate the mind – especially strategy games, will build concentration, problem solving skills, patience, reasoning, and verbal skills. Here are some of our favorite brain-building games: concentration (card game), crossword puzzles, checkers, spot the difference (searching for differences in two almost identical photos), cryptograms, word jumbles, and math puzzles. Such a fun way to increase brain power!
Increase Verbal Interactions at Home
Conversation with your children helps develop their language and vocabulary skills! It’s important to make time to regularly sit and talk with your kids. There are so many topics to talk about such as: school, friends, memories, current events, feelings, and interests. This will also help your child understand that their thoughts are valued.
Create a Stimulating Environment
This will help develop your child’s ability to process information. You can… Be generous with hugs. Have story time before bed. Take your child to the local library or book store where they can read on their own or attend storytelling events. Attend cultural events. Visit museums and zoos. Turn of all electronics during dinnertime and catch up on each other’s day instead.
Music and rhythm can enhance a child’s academic performance. Many children find it easier to focus on homework while listening to instrumental music such as drumbeats and piano. It also increases the child’s creativity!
Staying physically active boosts blood flow to the brain. When the brain is supplied with freshly oxygenated blood, clarity, concentration, creativity, thinking speed, focus, mental and emotional energy, and problem solving skills are all enhanced!
Nourish the Mind
Good nutrition plays an important role in enhancing your child’s mental abilities. Here are some of the powerful brain foods we love: Citrus fruits such as oranges improves memory. Eggs have high memory building vitamins. Fish contain important brain-building fats. Green veggies prevent mental fatigue. Lean meats are important for learning and memory. Iron fortified cereals are excellent for sharp mental performance!
Designate at least one electronics-free day every week. This means no TV, smartphones, iPads, computers, and video games. Reconnecting with the non-electronic world (and each other!) helps reduce stress hormones and overstimulation. You’ll all feel more relaxed and happier taking a break from all that screen time!
Relaxation is a key ingredient for maintaining good mental, physical, emotional and spiritual health; so it’s an important life skill to teach our children. And don’t forget to give your child 9 – 10 hours of sleep each night!