1.Get adequate sleep
Sleep is essential for health and well-being. Sleep affects cognitive functioning. Getting enough sleep is important for physical health, learning, and mood. Not getting adequate sleep can negatively affect learning and mood for children and teens. (See previous blogs for more information about sleep). Children 6 to 12 years of age should sleep 9 to 12 hours. Teenagers 13 to 18 years of age should sleep 8 to 10 hours.
Nutrition and healthy eating affects student learning and academic achievement. Good nutrition facilitates positive brain functioning. Malnutrition has been linked to behavioral problems. Sugar can also negatively influence behavior. Staying hydrated helps with improved thinking and learning. A good breakfast is important for concentration See the websites below for recommended food and research about nutrition and child functioning.
Exercise improves mood and behavior. Regular exercise can reduce symptoms of anxiety and depression, as well as increase feelings of happiness. It helps with sleep and better physical health, prevents disease, increases confidence and self-esteem, and maintains healthy body weight. Exercise helps build the brain area involved in learning and memory (hippocampus); it improves attention and problem solving abilities. Encourage an hour of exercise/physical activity each day, whether playing outside in free play or involvement in an organized sport. Physical activity is also an important stress reliever. Even walking for 10 minutes with your child (try before or after dinner) has benefits and provides a time and opportunity to talk.
Encouraging these healthy behaviors will support a strong start to the school year and continued school success. Next month, I will continue with the topic of promoting school success by addressing how a student’s “mindset” or belief about intelligence and approach to learning and challenges influences academic achievement. I will also describe what parents can do to promote a “growth mindset” that is connected to improved achievement.