A child who is learning, succeeding and expanding his or her mind is a happy child. You can't always control what happens at school, or assist in your child's learning while he or she is in the classroom. Yes, education begins at home from birth, but as soon as children are ready for primary parents are forced to relinquish attachment to each piece of information children absorb and how well they activate this new knowledge.
However, this being the case, it should be your goal as a parent to equip your children to get the most out of their complete learning experiences — both at school and home. Wonder what you can do to ensure your child has the basic tools that prove to bring success at school? We have searched out the five simple daily habits of every happy and flourishing young learner. Don't wait – implement these life-changing habits today.
Children who get adequate rest do better in school. Why is this? Sleep has a great positive effect on memory, which is the cornerstone of learning. Alternately, a lack of sleep significantly impairs the learning process. While the amount of rest the night before school has a direct effect on that day's learning, proper sleep for the following three or more nights can assure the knowledge is engrained and processed. Sleep deprivation can also damage areas of the brain, cause stress, illness and more obviously, an inability to concentrate. Children up to age 12 should get between 10 and 12 hours of uninterrupted sleep a night, while 12-18 year olds should aim for 9 hours.
A filling breakfast consisting of low sugar choices like fibrous whole grains (bread and cereal should always be whole grain), eggs, fruit, vegetables and nuts will improve memory, alertness and information processing. Negatively, junk food or foods high on the glycemic index such as processed white carbs and sugar will lower cognitive functioning. A mid-morning snack is almost as important, and should be something like a boiled egg (rich in brain-enhancing choline) or yogurt with blueberries, rather than a processed, packaged snack. Looking for great ways to incorporate nutrition for your family? Join Real Food For Real Families' Wendy McCallum at Oxford Learning in Bedford on Thursday, March 21st for a valuable and fun information session.
Exercise enhances learning by consolidating and storing memories. It also stimulates many areas of the brain, including those which help store new skills. Worried your child isn't active enough because he or she doesn't play sports or get away from the iPad enough? A minimum of 15 minutes a day of out-of-breath active play (running, dancing, or vigorous playground time) is ultimately one of the keys to your child's success in school. If the Wii is the only way, so be it, but aim to get them outside to run around – fresh air is another essential tool toward a clear mind and cognitive ability.
An organized mind is an engaged mind, and a cluttered life makes for a cluttered mind. To feel confident, your child must feel in control and prepared. Preparation and organization are tools which can either tap into a child's awareness and learning, or when lacking, can severely exacerbate existing issues. Wonder if your child feels organized? Check out his or her binder, backpack, desk and bedroom. Chances are if his or her belongings are full of clutter, your child doesn't have a grip on the assignments and material being covered in class. Worried about your child's organization skills? At Oxford, we have specific homework planning and calendar practice methods to engage and educate your child on these skills. Organization equals confidence and ability, period. Get them on track now, or the mess will only consume them further.
5. Be Busy.
But not too busy! Students who have three to five extra curricular or social activities such as a musical instrument, sport, club, group or other community activity are proven to be more successful in school. This doesn't always point directly to structure or sports, and can simply mean an active and healthy social life. Confidence can also be gained in a setting like Oxford Learning, where students work in small groups and can find fun after school while still adapting to a group setting. While lessons, practices and recurring sessions are one part of why extra-curriculars are so educational, it is the social aspect that may have the greatest positive influence on your child's overall development and capacity to make school another area they excel.
Written by Suzanne Hartman, Teacher at Oxford Learning, which offers programs for children from 3 years old through university. Our goal is to give students the skills they need to be successful in school and in life. Oxford Learning has locations in Halifax, Hammonds Plains and Bedford. For more information about our programs and services, including our camps, visit us at www.oxfordlearning.com
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