4 No-Brainer Ways to Boost Your Child’s Brain Development
By Katie Morton, TLC
We all want the best for our kids. If you're reading a parenting blog, it's highly likely that you want to do whatever you can do to give your child an edge in school and in life. The great news is that these four tips are extra-easy to implement. In fact, you might already be practicing most, if not all of these four ways to give your kid's intellect some extra oomph.
1. Offer Positive Reinforcement
This one might be easier for some parents than others. Be sure to offer praise more often than you reprimand your child; kids that are praised more show improvements in memory, learning, and are better able to control stress responses.
Parentables blogger Sami Grover wrote about research that suggests that positive reinforcement improves behavior, and actually encourages brain growth.
2. Cuddle Your Babies and Kids
McGill University Neurologist Michael Meaney found that baby rats that had been licked and groomed more by their mothers did better at finding their way through mazes as adults. They were more social, curious and lived longer. The rats that had been licked more were also better able to control stress responses.
Okay, so this study was done on rats. But there's a very real possibility that the human equivalent of rats' grooming - hugging and kissing - works such wonders on our own babies and kids. Isn't it worth exerting the "effort" of working in a few extra squeezes and smooches each day?
3. Sing to Your Baby
It's possible that singing to children who are too young to speak can encourage better language skills as their brains develop. In her book, The Genius of Natural Childhood, Director of the Institute for Neuro-Physiological Psychology in England Sally Goddard Blythe explains that the combination of music and lyrics requires a baby to use more of its brain.
Singing songs to kids is also a great way for them to learn just about anything - ABCs anyone?
4. Make Sure Your Kids Get Enough Sleep
Another study shows insufficient sleep negatively effects the way toddlers express emotions, and, over time, may shape the development of their emotional brains. This ostensibly puts kids who get insufficient sleep at risk for lifelong, mood-related problems. Yikes.
To sum up: praise, cuddle, sing and sleep - the easy peasy way to enhance your child's brain development.
Photo: J E Theriot / Creative Commons