It is important to lay a strong foundation to have a strong structure. Linking this to childhood, the early years of our lives set the course for the rest of it. Many parents and guardians are concerned about the academic performance of their children. Here are certain ways to do the same, without using the run of the mill, rigid methods:
Learning another language has proven to not only improve the reading and writing abilities in the primary literature that a child speaks, but also enhance overall mental skills. Studies show that children who speak more than one language are more creative and have more developed mathematical and problem-solving skills.
Just like exercising develops muscles in the body, learning a language does the same for the brain, changing the structure of the brain. Thus, learning a language is like lifting weights for the mind rather than body muscles. The benefits of learning another language extend to adults as it has been proven to help people fight dementia in old age.
Studies show that children in music groups exhibited more significant increases in full-scale IQ. It also improves their executive functions, which are associated with highly-cognitive processes like processing and storing information and the ability to adjust to changing tasks on demand. Music lessons also show an increased ability to integrate sensory information from hearing, touch, and sight.
Further, students who enrol in schools with music programs were found to perform significantly better in Mathematics and English than students in schools with no such music program. Children who have had music training also show more brain activation in the frontal region of the brain, the part of the brain responsible for decision making. Not only is the effect of music learning seen on IQ, but it also increases emotional understanding and social skills. Learning a musical instrument is also shown to have positive effects in the case of adults as well.
A high fibre, carbohydrate-rich and slow-digesting breakfast like oatmeal give optimum results. But the meal plan for the entire week is also essential. A balanced diet prevents children from getting exhausted quickly, and carbohydrates are necessary for that. Of course, foods with processed grains and sugars should be consumed in a limited manner, but carbs should not be completely cut off.
Apart from this, taking certain “special foods” like nuts, leafy green vegetables, beans, apples, eggs, etc. helps in keeping kids stay sharp and concentrate better.
Enough hours of rest are essential for people of every age group. To support their rapid physical and mental development, children need to sleep more than adults. Even thirty to sixty minutes less sleep can cause a significant impact on the learning abilities of a child. Research also shows that a sleep-deprived child is pushed back two years in terms of cognitive learning. Toddlers who are sleepless fare poorly on neural-development tests also.
Scholarly work also suggests that children, as well as adults, are more likely to retain what they have learned-and more likely to achieve new insights if they go to sleep shortly after their studies. Short naps are also useful, as long as they include non-REM sleep. Missed naps by toddlers lead to anxiety, less interest in things around them and a more poor understanding of how to solve problems.
Exercising and Outdoor Activities
Exercising makes people pick up new words faster by twenty per cent, and the increased flow of blood will cause your memory and learning to increase by thirty per cent. According to a study, children who are physically fit have faster and more robust neuro-electrical brain responses while reading than kids who were less aerobically provide.
Even though playing organized sports is essential to develop many life skills like teamwork and coordination, but any form of outdoor play can prove to be effective. Some studies say that children should have a specific time reserved for “free play” as well, which means unsupervised playtime for their growth.
Even if a child is not interested in sports or other activities, there are plenty of fun indoor activities that help in a child’s cognitive development. While controlling the screen time, children can play certain video games that can help make them smarter. There are many video games tailor-made for children that can develop their hand-eye coordination, problem-solving ability, pattern recognition, memory, spatial perception, etc.
If a parent is not comfortable with the increase in screen time, then they can also go for board games and activity books. There are great options for older kids as well such as a scratch-off map, which is a creative way to teach children early-on about geography.
Parents can sometimes get carried away in trying to focus on the academic development of a child, but keeping these things in mind can ensure the overall healthy development of a child along with making them smarter. Creating a stable environment at home to avoid distractions and emotional stress, rewarding them on their efforts and success and giving them time, not just to ensure they maintain discipline but also to make them happy, shows that the adults around them care about them and believe in their ability to succeed. A happy child is a healthy child, after all.
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