Some of the most frequent questions I get from parents are about homework, attention/concentration and school performance, e.g., "how do I get my child to turn in/do his homework," "how can I help my child get better grades," etc. As parents, we want our kids to do well in school because we understand that hard work and academic success can be important later on in life. Getting kids to realize that is a long, hard road for some families.
As a result, I thought I would spend some time over the next couple of posts talking about some things that we can do as parents to assist our kids when it comes to learning. So, without further ado, here is tip one:
Take small sips of cold water all day long. I learned of this one after reading The Other 90% by Robert K. Cooper. Don't get me wrong, I had always known that we should drink 8-10 glasses of water a day, that it was good for our bodies, yada, yada, yada. Reading The Other 90%, however, enlightened me to just how important water is to our brain function.
Consider this: "Water provides the medium for nerve impulse conduction, the transmission of other biochemical processes, and the muscle contractions that stimulate metabolism and generate energy (Cooper, 2001). I never really thought about it that way, had you? I had always been told it "flushed away the fat/toxins" in our bodies. I thought about water intake as more of a muscle thing.
Cooper goes on to say "By sipping extra water every 20 to 30 minutes during the day, you not only improve your overall health and resistance to illness, but also provide a clear, repeated signal to your metabolism to keep your energy and alertness levels higher. The effect may be even more pronounced when the water is ice cold because when ice cold water reaches the stomach it stimulates increased energy production through the body and raises alertness in the brain and senses."
Makes sense, huh? We have started using this information in the preschool classroom. For example, before circle time, we encourage kids to go to the drinking fountain so as to increase their concentration and attention and it does appear to help.
You can image how pleased I was as a parent to find out that my children's teacher's were aware of the benefits of regular water drinking and learning as well. They allow the children to keep water bottles at their desks and more and more schools are following suit.
I am just amazed by how far they have come in their research on the brain and how it works. As a parent, I find this information incredibly useful when trying to understand my kids and give them tools for success. As a matter of fact, information on brain development and function is one of the most important tools in my parenting tool box. As I learn about these tools and put them in my toolbox, I also make sure that I share them with my kids so they can start filling their own toolboxes. I don't know about you, but I sure wish I had know about this water thing when I was in college!
So there you go, a quick tip on one simple way that we can enhance learning, concentration and overall brain function. I will be sharing more tips on ways to help with learning, concentration and focus over the next week or so, so stayed tuned! Until then, I'm curious to know your thoughts on todays tip! Do you have your kids drink a lot of water? Are they allowed to do so at school? Do you encourage this while they are studying? Post your comments!