From Sleep to Science

A How-To Guide to Prepare Your Child's Brain For School

Wake Up With A Fresh Start!

Waking you child up in the morning can always be a difficult task. By starting their day off on a positive note, will help them to keep that mindset throughout the day. Monitoring your child's behavior, language and movement first thing in the morning will help you to see exactly what your child's brain needs to succeed for the day.

Start the day of with some music or movement to help jumpstart the brain for the day. Activities such as SuperBrain Yoga help to improve thinking and mental function. SuperBrain Yoga uses pressure points and breathing to balance the two hemispheres of the brain. This calming activity in the morning will help to focus your child and prepare them emotionally for the day.

See the quick video below on some yoga moves you can use with your child! You can also read more about how SuperBrain Yoga helps the brain at:

Fitness Hacks - Yoga For Your Brain!

Start The Day With A Nutritious Meal!

As we all know, Breakfast is the most important meal of the day. Eating first thing in the morning helps us to start both our body and our brain on the right foot for learning. Make sure your child skips the CocoPuffs and Cookie Crisp in exchange for more nutritional foods. These foods can include: yogurt, mixed nuts, dried fruits, fresh fruit, raisins, rice cakes and even energy bars.

  • Limit calories and saturated fat. Research shows that diets high in saturated fat (from sources such as red meat, whole milk, butter, cheese, cream, and ice cream) increase your risk of dementia and impair concentration and memory.
  • Eat more fruit and vegetables. Produce is packed with antioxidants, substances that protect your brain cells from damage. Colorful fruits and vegetables are particularly good antioxidant "superfood" sources.
  • Drink green tea. Green tea contains polyphenols, powerful antioxidants that protect against free radicals that can damage brain cells. Among many other benefits, regular consumption of green tea may enhance memory and mental alertness and slow brain aging.

What we put in our bodies for breakfast has a direct impact on our cognitive abilities during the day. There is a direct link to nutritional deficiency with decreased test scores, cognition, and general learning ability (Jensen, 2005).

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Get To Know Your Child Better!

Often times our days start off in a flurry of rushing around to brush our teeth, shower, pack lunches and backpacks and make the bus on time. Try to take 10 minutes out of the chaos and sit with your child during breakfast or on the car ride to school, and have a good old fashioned conversation. This talk can range from the activities for the day to real world events that you see in the newspaper that morning. By holding a discussion with you, your child you will benefit in multiple ways.

  1. You Are Getting To Know Your Child: How better to know your child, then to ask them about what they are doing for the day. With our middle schoolers we worry about their school and their social life during their time at Talley. Get involved by asking them what activities, trips, assignments, etc they have planned to better stay involved and informed in their life.
  2. You Are Working On Their Listening And Language Skills: Communication is a large player in how we learn new words, express our thoughts and opinions and process information. To be a good listener, your child must pay attention to facial expressions, hand gestures, and other body language in order to formulate a proper response. This conversation process helps to jumpstart the brain first thing in the morning.
  3. You Are Helping Them Develop Their Executive Functions: This sounds very complex. It isn't. This is the ability to enable goal-oriented behavior such as the ability to plan and execute a goal. These can be met with concepts like anticipation, problem solving, decision making, working memory, and emotional self-regulation. By holding a conversation with your child about what they learned the day before or what they will do today is a great way to get their brain thinking.
  4. You Are Building A Strong Relationship With Your Child: Research shows that having meaningful friendships and a strong support system are vital not only to emotional health, but also to brain health. In one recent study from the Harvard School of Public Health, for example, researchers found that people with the most active social lives had the slowest rate of memory decline.

Learn more below:

Keep It Light

On the way out the door or in the car, try to remind your child to have the best day possible. You've heard that laughter is the best medicine, and that holds true for the brain and the memory, as well as the body. Unlike emotional responses, which are limited to specific areas of the brain, laughter engages multiple regions across the whole brain. Try to tell your child a joke or do a fun brain teaser with them. Make it a game to see who's brain is quicker. This will not only stimulate your child's brain, but it is helping to prepare them for the day ahead.

Brain Teasers:

Funny Brain Teasers:

Riddles for Teens:

Jokes for Everyone: