Monday, November 26, 2012

Sleep enhances cognitive functioning and influences moods. Having  enough sleep contributes to a more positive mood. When the brain lacks the sleep it needs, brain systems become out of balance. Young (and adult) brains become more easily agitated when sleep deprived.

Brains need sleep Printable #10 ~
Research shows the quality and amount of sleep not only affects our moods, it also influences our mental sharpness, productivity, creativity, physical activity level, and also weight. Sleep provides all of these benefits... and it feels so good! The printable for this week shares information on the benefit of sleep.

Learning and family interactions can be easily affected by lack of sleep. Here are a few tips to help ensure your family is getting enough of the quality sleep your brains need to keep everyone happier

  • Plan activities to take place before or after children's nap times or before bedtimes.
  • Do all you can to keep bedtimes and bedtime routines as consistent as possible. 
  • Provide calm activities like reading a book, giving a massage, taking a warm bath, or listening to soothing music as part of the bedtime routine.
  • Eliminate watching television or using other electronics with bright lights prior to bedtime routines.
  • Provide "brain calming"  foods as a bedtime snack such as warm milk, a banana, toast with almond butter, or oatmeal with a bit of peanut butter added.
A research study reported in Child Development found, "Higher proportions of total sleep occurring at night time, at both 12 and 18 months, were related to better performance on executive tasks, especially those involving a strong impulse control component."

This post provides valuable information on sleep pattern issues in babies. This is very helpful for parents wanting to understand sleep regression.

If you are looking for resources to help promote sleep, Lori Lite of Stress Free Kids provides Music CDs for Relaxation.

The following guide might be very useful for you as well.

 The Average Amount of Sleep Needed By Age

Newborns (0-2 months)12 - 18
Infants (3 months to 1 year)14 - 15
Toddlers (1 to 3 years)12 - 14
Preschoolers (3 to 5 years)11 - 13
School-aged children (5 to 12 years)10 - 11
Teens and preteens (12 to 18 years)8.5 - 10
Adults (18+)7.5 - 9



BRAIN INSIGHTS TO SHARE: Movement Activities Advance Brain Growth and Learning

Monday, November 12, 2012

Brain Insights to Share: Movement Activities for brain development! 
It is very exciting for me to see an increasing amount of research and wide ranging information on the benefits of play for healthy brain development. One area in particular that is demonstrated to make an extremely positive effect on growing brains is, movement and physical activity. The thing that seems to be occurring however, is that while the awareness of the value of  movement and play is becoming better understood, the amount of time children play is not increasing. 

The printable for this week explains the benefits of physical activity and movement. When children move, various brain areas are activated and essential connections for a wide range of abilities are created. As a result of repeating these activities the connections become stronger. There is a saying, "Brain cells that fire together...wire together." The opportunity for this to occur is exactly what play and movement activities provide.

This past weekend I had the wonderful pleasure to sit down and talk with Gill Connell while here from New Zealand. Gill is the founder of MOVING SMART, and co-author of MOVING TO LEARN. In one of her extremely valuable blog posts she writes, 

"The most powerful tool for fostering the growth and development of neural connections in your child’s brain is physical movement. "

Printable #9  

Movement Activities Advance Brain Growth and Learning!

Too often it is thought that the best way to help children develop and learn is to provide structured activities that require children to sit and not fidget. However, research demonstrates that play and physical activities contributes to the development of better language and social skills. Evidence also reveals that movement is effective in the reduction of stress and leads to greater ability to pay attention. 

So, it is essential that all adults ensure that children have the opportunity to use their energy in the ways that comes very naturally! The brains of children say "to learn best, we NEED to move and play!" 

Your brain will also benefit, 
so join in and have lots of fun!!

BRAIN INSIGHTS TO SHARE: Brighter Brains Result from Good Nutrition!

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Nutriton affects learning, attention span and moods! I Brain Insights

Sadly, the brain sometimes gets neglected when it comes to nutrition. Often healthy foods are only thought of as impacting the body. However, growing brains need certain things to function well. When it doesn’t get what it needs, it doesn’t work at its best. 

At times the brain actually gets the opposite of what it needs. There are many things that are provided for children that the brain doesn’t know what to do with. When this happens, a child's brain does not perform well. And, an immature brain does not yet have the ability to control the unbalanced brain systems. The printable for this week focuses on the impact of this. 

It is wonderful that the solution is extremely simple.... give children the nutrients their brain needs most!  

It especially helps when children know which foods are most healthy. Many children feel a great amount of pride when they learn about healthy foods. It is very fun to hear children share excitement as they eat nutritious foods and express ... "this is good for my brain."

When presenting I am frequently told by audiences, that many school breakfast programs are comprised of sugary cereals and sugary juices. This is completely the opposite of what the brain needs....Especially for breakfast! 

When eating these types of foods without adequate amounts of protein, the brain does not have the nutrients to function well. It is not fair to a child to be expected to listen, sit still, pay attention and learn, if their brain is not given what is needed to help make all of this happen. 

Printable #8   

Kelly Dorfman has written an extremely wonderful book that is full of very valuable and important insights on nutrition for children: What's Eating Your Child? 

It is a book that is based on real kids to make it an easy and inspiring read.  Check out this terrific video clip of Kelly to find all she provides for caring educators and parents.  

Have a very healthy day! 

Brain Insights Printable #8 Nutrition and the brain



Friday, November 2, 2012

The Creating Great Connections and HOPE (Helping Other People Everywhere) Newsletter has been revised. Through the wonderful feedback received, I am thrilled to share with you the new version of the newsletter.

It is filled with a wide variety of information from various areas to continue to make brain development common knowledge on the part of EVERYONE! The newsletter includes links that contribute to better understanding and also bits of brain information that are easy to share!

It is such a pleasure to share it with you, because the intent is to make this interactive. If you know of a terrific book, research, blog, website, conference, etc, that should be included, send the link to me and if it is used,  I will give you credit for contributing.  It will be wonderful to share something that you would like others to be informed about relating to life skill development and healthy brains.

Hopefully, you will also enjoy visiting the sites of the sponsors for this issue. Moving Smart and Healthy Foundations are both very dedicated to making a great difference for developing young children. 

Thank you for your part in making a positive difference and creating the needed understanding of what is need most for young children! As I always say... "We ALL benefit when ALL children have healthy brains!"

HOPE Newsletter 
November 1, 2012

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