Exercise the brain to keep kids sharp

Completing puzzles is a great way to stimulate the brain, but there are several easier ways to keep a child's mind quick. Even regular activities can help improve memory and attention span. Integrating some of these tasks and actions into children's lives could help them do better in school.

Start a journal
Encourage your kids to start a diary or journal. Keeping a record of events and activities by hand can help your son or daughter remember information better. Journaling is also a good way for a child to disconnect from electronics and focus attention on one task, Medical Daily notes. Daily writing can be really beneficial for younger kids, as well, because the repetitive motion of drawing letters will stimulate memory and make learning new words easier. If your child doesn't know what to write about, be prepared with some writing prompts. For example:

  • Write a letter to yourself five years from now
  • What are you scared of?
  • What's your favorite holiday?
  • If you could have a superpower what would it be?

Make journal writing a fun game by typing prompts onto slips of paper, putting them into a jar or hat and pulling a new one out every day.    

Moderate screen time
Kids love their daily cartoon intake, but it's important for parents to monitor how much screen time children are receiving. This includes screens other than the TV, as well, such as phones, computers and tablets. According to Psychology Today, screen activities can localize blood flow to a more primitive part of the brain, which can impact children's development over long periods of time. Limit your child's TV and video game time by breaking up these activities with physical exercise and creative tasks.

Break routines
Diverge from your normal activities every now and then to keep things interesting. New experiences can stimulate brain growth and expand a child's knowledge base. The different exercises don't have to be anything really big, just as long as they are noticeable. For instance, you could drive home a new way after picking the kids up from school or have the children play outside first before doing their homework. 

Get plenty of sleep
As always, sleep is a big indicator of cognitive function. If children don't get the proper amount of rest each night, they find it hard to pay attention in class and remembering information. When cognitive abilities are impaired by a lack of sleep, kids can perform poorly on an IQ test and other important school exams. To make sure this doesn't happen, make it a rule that the kids must go to bed a half hour early the night before tests so you know they won't be hindered by sleepiness. 

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