In this age of virtual information-overdose, being a good parent is an exceptional challenge. From choosing the right potty-training method and meticulous baby-proofing for toddlers, to tactfully dealing with their emotional outbursts and ensuring a harmonious, secure environment at home as they grow up, there are countless junctures where you might find yourself lost. Amongst the diverse challenges of parenting, a prominent one is your ability to ensure that your kids’ brain remains active. Without further ado, we present to you 8 sure-shot hacks to sharpen your child’s intellect right from their formative years!
Hacks to Boost your Kids’ Brainpower!
1. Curtail the Electronic Overload!
You might be a hip mom (or dad) who takes pride in the fact that your 3-year old is well-versed with every feature in your iPhone 6, but it’s time to take a detour!
A research study conducted in Boston University proved that the excessive use of tablets and mobile phones in young children leads to poor self-regulating mechanisms. Not only does the radiation interfere with balanced cognitive development, but the electronic overload from television, videogames and phones can impair concentration skills, memory power and emotional advancement.
Of course it’s impossible to avoid using these altogether, but a balanced schedule is what’s required. Set strict time limits and encourage them to use apps that are actually beneficial for them. Some great apps that can really boost your kids’ brainpower include Wordament, 2048, QuizUp, Lumosity, Brain Trainer Special and Eidetic.
2. Cultivate a Voracious Reader in your Tiny Tot!
Sorry, no Kindle or eBooks; encourage them to build a thirst for reading books! And you cannot achieve this by coaxing them to read, but including small but significant activities in their daily routine like reading out a movie schedule or cake recipe for you out aloud, asking them to make an attractive collage from newspaper and magazine cutouts, having a bulletin board at home where they can write an inspirational quote or poem from their favorite book every day, reading out a bedtime story for them and asking them to recollect it the next day, and so on!
3. A Diet with the Right Nourishment
Needless to state, a well-balanced diet comprised of fresh, home-cooked meals and minimal intake of processed foods and junk, is what will aid their physical and mental development. Here’s a list of super-foods that play a vital role in nourishing your kids’ brain:-
- Bananas- Rich in Potassium, Magnesium and Tryptophan, all highly beneficial in boosting brainpower!
- Walnuts, Almonds and Peanuts- Abound in Omega-3 that’s an elixir for developing brains!
- Salmon- Best source of DHA for optimum brain health.
- Eggs- Proven ‘brain-food’ with optimum chlorine content for brain.
- Low-Fat Dairy Products like Milk, Yogurt and Cheese- Best source of essential amino acids for development of brain tissues.
- Kiwis- High on Vitamin C for enhancing memory and keeping brain disorders at bay.
- Spinach- Amongst the richest sources of Folate to enhance cerebral development.
4. Outdoor Activities Galore!
As per Research Findings by a team of Scholars at the Columbia University, a regular exercise regime from an early age improves blood flow to the brain and enhances brain development by 30%! Kids who play plenty of outdoor sports display improved short-term memory, faster reaction times and high levels of creativity. Now I can go on and on about the myriad benefits of outdoor activities, but the crux is that there can be absolutely no compromise on physical exercise and adequate sun exposure, and it doesn’t help if you set a lazy, couch-slouching example as a parent. So roll up your sleeves and get set to play outdoors with your kids!
P.S- Also, at least once a year, take them out on outdoor trips, be it hiking, skiing, fishing, camping, mountaineering, river-rafting etc. Trust me, it’s a far better way of spending money than buying him or her an expensive playstation!
5. Choose the Right Toys and Games
Toys can be really effective developmental learning tools and getting your kids the right toys from an early age, will play a key role in fostering speedy mental development. Don’t worry, you needn’t spend a fortune on buying them brain-centric toys and games; with online coupon avenues like Frugaa and fabulous stores like Right Start, Toys R Us and Magic Beans, there are a wide range of Memory Games, Construction Games, Jigsaw Puzzles, Brain-Vita Sets, Hocus Pocus, Rubik’s Cubes and lots more that you can take your pick from!
6. Include ‘Fun Intellectual Activities’ as part of their Daily Routine
Want to super-charge your child’s brain mathematically? You don’t need to enroll them inexpensive mathematics tutorials! Just pose a few routine challenges in everyday life to keep their numerical abilities polished. For instance, if you’re baking cookies on Sunday, ask your kid to read the portioning and tell them how many pieces of dough you need to make, or when you’re Grocery Shopping, tell them to count the fruits in your basket and mentally calculate how much it would cost. Another great way to polish their brains would be to sit together and solve a game of Sudoku and a Crossword Puzzle from the Newspaper. Great to stimulate brainpower and bond with them at the same time!
7. Cultivate Hobbies and Participation in Community Activities
Involving children in co-curricular and activities at your local community center, can go a long way in imparting the right social skills in them. Places like KinderCare Learning Centers are excellent foundational grounds for them to play together, learn together, come up with quirky ideas. But irrespective of where you enroll them, do your bit as an affectionate parent to encourage their hobbies and creative pursuits, no matter how trivial they are. You could involve them in small but significant activities to give them a sense of belonging to their local community. Some pretty awesome examples include creating special trash cans for the neighborhood, improving school grounds, organizing a ‘pick-litter’ Sunday afternoon drive at the park instead of heading to a shopping mall, making simple treats for the local Senior Citizens Home, planting saplings at the park and more!
8. Stressing on Mental Peace
With the ever-rising academic competition, peer pressure and stress-wrought professional lives of parents, the importance of mental peace cannot be undermined. The first and foremost requirement for a child’s brain to develop to the fullest, is a stress-free environment at home where creativity is encouraged. Rather than pampering your kids with expensive gifts to make up for the time you couldn’t spend with them, focus on being an approachable parent. No matter how strained your relationship might be, never ever have a heated argument in front of your kids; their brains are sensitive, malleable and even sending them to the best school will not make up for the fact that they return to a home where there’s constant bickering! If you can spare some time to teach them basic Mediation, Yoga, Concentration or Breathing Exercises at a young age, it’ll ease out all sorts of negativity and aid in holistic mental development.
Unleash your Indomitable Spirit!
When times are trying, you’re absolutely lost and have no choice but to seek advice from someone who knows better, never ever give up on the good job you’re doing! Kudos to you for wanting to look up on ways to enhance your child’s brain, and with a little patience and never-say-die spirit, you’re bound to emerge triumphant in ever herculean challenge posed by modern-day parenting!