Many factors shape early brain development. Food and nutrition, genetics, daily experiences, parenting, physical activity and love all are important components.
Studies show that test scores increase 20 percent when your child’s brain is nurtured. It is a growing organ that changes every minute. A brain is capable of remarkable changes up to the age of 25, when it is said that a person is capable of making concrete decisions.
By maximizing the brain’s functioning, intelligence is highly predisposed in everyday activities.
So how do you help this along?
Some ways you can help nurture your child’s brain include:
- A healthy diet. Three meals a day, complete with proteins and complex carbohydrates for mental energy, are essential. Don’t forget the foods with antioxidants to help improve memory! Try to avoid processed foods and foods with high sugar content.
- Start the day off with a good breakfast. Eggs and nuts are great for memory and brain development.
- Sneak in fruits and vegetables such as beans, legumes, and nuts. Be creative; kids are picky. Make a healthy dip to go with the vegetables.
- Omega 3 (healthy) fats help improve cognition. – Tuna, salmon, avocado, walnuts and almonds all are good sources. Flaxseed is high in fiber, helps with digestion and can be disguised in food.
- Whole grains help memory function. Complex, whole-grain carbohydrates contain folate and other B vitamins which help increase memory function and are also rich in fiber, giving a flow of energy so that your child can master that science test.
- Iron-rich foods are great for improving mental alertness and energy levels. Lean red meat, chicken, spinach, beans, dried fruits, and whole-grains are excellent choices.
- Calcium helps build strong bones. Milk, cheese, yogurt, or smoothies all provide calcium.
- Water helps with concentration. Instead of a sugary soda, add a slice of orange, lemon, or lime.
Physical exercise is key to health at any age. For kids, fun, age-appropriate physical exercise will help improve coordination and mental energy. Play ball, do crafts, listen to music, try word, logic and memory games and puzzles — and get kids into the sunshine and away from the television and computer screens.
Don’t forget positive reinforcement — a sticker or affirmative words can go a long way.
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Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 28 Jun 2012
Published on PsychCentral.com. All rights reserved.
Bright, R. (2012). How to Nurture Your Child’s Brain. Psych Central. Retrieved on December 11, 2013, from http://psychcentral.com/blog/archives/2012/06/28/how-to-nurture-your-childs-brain/