How to grow your child’s brain

This is an update to the article to reflect home school needs related to states’ school closures, stay in place and stay at home orders due to the Coronavirus.

Yes, you read it right. You can positively impact your child’s cognitive functioning and intelligence quotient, particularly in a home-school environment where parents can have a major 24/7 impact on their child’s daily activities and education. If you are concerned that your child is older than 2-4 years of age, do not despair. It is not too late! By the way,  if you’d like additional activity ideas, expertly curated by a School Psychologist, please visit my Amazon store.

A few months ago, we wrote about the factors influencing brain elasticity. Today we will focus on actual steps to take based upon research supported by the National Institute of Health in the real life application of lessons learned.

  • Positive parent-child relationships “are critical and that they play a key role in brain development. ” This is particularly important now more than ever before. According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, “positive parent-child relationships are associated with higher levels of adolescent self-esteem, happiness, and life satisfaction, and lower levels of emotional and physical distress.”
  • Positive peer interactions such as “play has been shown to be important for the development of adult social competence” and it aids in prefrontal cortex development of children. Remember, in the last article we discussed the prefrontal cortex which is used for executive functions such as planning, decision making and personality development. This is vitally important during the state lockdowns whereby kids, teens, young and even elderly adults rely upon social media, Zoom, Face time platforms to communicate with their peers. During the government mandated shutdowns, parents who home school, are afforded more time to actively police and monitor screen and mobile activity of their children. Research shows that adolescents and teens are much more vulnerable to teen peer pressure as they seek to become more emotionally mature and less dependent upon their parents.
  • “Gestational and infant stress predisposes individuals for a variety of maladaptive behaviors and psychopathologies.”
  • Harmful bacteria on or in the body of the mom during the prenatal periods are associated with autism and schizophrenia in children. Further, this bacteria can “alter brain, motor, and behavioral development.”
  • Malnutrition has a negative effect on brain and behavioral development.

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To summarize these findings, how might we apply this knowledge, particularly in this modern home school setting, to our everyday lives?

  • Maintain a positive adult-child relationship.
  • Encourage active play with peers and adults.
  • Make an effort to minimize family, school and work stress.
  • Maintain a clean, de-cluttered home environment.
  • Eat healthy and balanced meals.

Another article you might like: Brain Elasticity and Children

We hope you have found this article helpful. If so, please feel free to share with others and write a comment below.  Don’t forget, if you’d like additional activity ideas, expertly curated by a School Psychologist, please visit my Amazon store.