5 Tips for Improving Brain Function in Children

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Every parent wants to raise a happy, healthy, growing child. But how to help a child further brain development has been a much-studied topic in the area of child development, and many myths about the development of children’s brains still persist. If you’re concerned about helping your child’s brain function improve, here are five of the best tips to help you do just that.

Exercise

In humans of any age, exercise helps to improve cognition and memory. According to Harvard University, regular exercise increases the size of the hippocampus, which is the part of your brain that governs memory and learning. Cardiovascular exercise is critical to this, so encourage your child to run and play as often as possible. Encourage them to take up athletic pursuits if they have a mind. As an added benefit, those who engage in cardiovascular exercise regularly may lower their risk of dementia and other related diseases such as Alzheimer’s disease. Developing healthy exercise habits as a child very often persist well into adulthood.

Sunlight

Exposure to sunlight assists the body in producing vitamin D – and once again, the hippocampus benefits. According to Lumonol, there are receptors for vitamin D in the hippocampus and elsewhere in the human nervous system – and vitamin D plays a vital role in brain enzymes, neurotransmission and the health of neurons and synapses. Too little vitamin D can actually paralyze brain development and function – so if you’re the kind of parent who thinks they must keep little Susy or Johnny protected from the sun at all cost, abandon that idea and allow them an hour or so per day of sun exposure.

Good Nutrition

A healthy body cannot develop without the aid of appropriate nutrition, and the brain is certainly no exception. A healthy diet is absolutely key to brain development and cognition. Ensure that your child is eating a balanced diet of whole grains, plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables, lean proteins, and – especially – lots of water. Good nutrition may help to address behavioral problems as well, since kids who are well nourished tend to have fewer of these types of problems than children who do not eat healthy diets – so before you reach for the Ritalin, make sure that you child is eating a nutritionally balanced diet and, if you’re unsure, visit with their school’s nutritionist or health instructor for tips.

Reading to Them

In a study conducted by Dr. Thomas DeWitt of Cincinnati Children’s Hospital, DeWitt and his team discovered that reading aloud to children assists them in developing language and later literacy skills. It also helps them to develop language comprehension, in addition to forming relationships with caregivers – which is also essential to healthy brain function.

Absenting Absolute Poverty

It goes without saying that poverty is a significantly harder problem to tackle than any other a parent or child may face, but poverty ultimately results in smaller brains in children than those of their wealthier peers. The causes of this are still somewhat hazy, but overall impoverished families have less time to spend together – which makes activities such as reading, outdoor play, and other brain-boosting activities difficult to pursue – and poor children may not receive as good nutrition as wealthier children, which also delays cognition. The added stress that poverty places on children, particularly adolescents who may be facing pressure to assist with the family’s economic problems can result in decreased focus on academic pursuits – such as reading – and other brain function essentials as they grow.

For families facing poverty, every effort should be made to take advantage of social programs that allow them to spend more time with their children to pursue the aforementioned activities and ensure that they are eating a proper diet. Many local resources exist to help impoverished parents reach these goals, so a trip to the local drop-in center or social services offices may provide much-needed information.

The health of a child is a holistic picture. Brain development is a tremendous contributor to future successes and greater grasp and knowledge of the world around them. These five tips may very well help your child to improve their developing minds – and contribute to their and their family’s future success.

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About Author

Kelly is DailyU’s lead blogger. She writes on a variety of topics and does not limit her creativity. Her passion in life is to write informative articles to help people in various life stages.

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