Naptime Is Great!

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Naptime is much more than providing rest for a child ... and a break for parents! Children's developing brains need adequate amounts of sleep for healthy brain development.

We all know what it is like to deal with an over tired child. The reason for the behaviors we experience is due to a child not being able to handle the results of inadequate amounts of sleep. First of all the child still has an immature brain. It hasn't developed enough to provide the ability to deal with feelings of brain systems being out of balance. This is even difficult for adults. Getting enough sleep helps keep brain systems in balance. When children have had enough sleep it enhances cognitive functioning and moods.

New research lead by the University of Colorado Boulder reveals that, "toddlers between 2 and a half and 3 years old who miss only a single daily nap show more anxiety, less joy and interest and a poorer understanding of how to solve problems." 

Assistant Professor Monique LeBourgeois of CU Boulder led the study. She states, “This study shows insufficient sleep in the form of missing a nap taxes the way toddlers express different feelings, and, over time, may shape their developing emotional brains and put them at risk for lifelong, mood-related problems.”

Additionally LeBourgeois shares, “Just like good nutrition, adequate sleep is a basic need that gives children the best chance of getting what is most important from the people and things they experience each day,”

Read more about the research from the University of Colorado Boulder press release shared on this site.

Recommended amounts of sleep and tips on promoting sleep are shared in SLEEP ENHANCES COGNITIVE FUNCTIONING AND INFLUENCES MOODS.

Sleep well! 

A Nature Preschool Enhances Early Childhood Brain Development

Monday, January 9, 2012

As I continuously promote, it is critical that children have the opportunity to learn, play and explore outdoors. As adults we need to do all we can to ensure that children have opportunities to develop their brains in healthy, natural and safe environments.

There are numerous benefits to brains of all ages as a result of spending time in nature as I have shared in Your Brain Needs Nature and this fun one that includes a video called, Nature Deficit Disorder by KQED QUEST. It is especially important and beneficial for young developing brains to experience and learn outdoors.

For this reason I am thrilled to share the following article from Audubon magazine. It is a great pleasure  to work with the extremely talented and dedicated people and spend time at the Schlitz Nature Audubon Nature Center. It has been a particularly great honor to collaborate on a project to create the Naturally Developing Young Brains Packet with Lorna Hilyard and Pattie Bailie, mentioned in this article.

I am certain you will enjoy reading the experience expressed by one Dad after his son spent only two weeks in the nature preschool. The center is remarkable. The best part is, they serve as a model and help other programs implement nature into programing. In fact 10% of the proceeds from the sale of the nature brain packets goes directly toward increasing nature preschool experiences for more children.

A Nature Preschool Enhances Early Childhood Brain Development 

An exciting nature-based curriculum for preschoolers developed at the Schlitz Center in Wisconsin is spreading to classrooms across the country—and even to Sesame Street. 

By Susan Cosier  Published: January-February 2012 

"Bailie, a 20-year veteran of early childhood and environmental education, says, “There’s such a connection between spending time in the natural world and the developing brain.”

Recent research bears her out, though it’s an understudied field. Noticing differences between objects, like seeds and burrs, helps wire the brain, nurturing initial math and pre-reading skills that develop from the ages of one through four. “They learn observation skills after just a few months,” says Bailie. “Parents will tell me, ‘I can’t believe what my child sees now.’ "Studies also show that just 20 minutes spent outdoors improves concentration in children with attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder as much as, if not more than, medication. That’s in addition to the physical benefits of exercise and exposure to vitamin D (which helps build strong bones)."    Read More

It would be great to hear your experiences with children as a result of spending time outdoors. Please share your wonderful stories with all of us!

For more information about or to purchase, Naturally Developing Young Brains go to Brain Insights


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