If you want your kids to study well and succeed in everything they do, first you need to make sure they have the right fuel to make their body function. Many people think that success at school is totally connected to how smart kids are but unfortunately, kids’ “smartness” is highly effected by the way they manage their body.
Our body, just like a car, can break down when we use the wrong fuel, when we do not give it enough water and when we do not put enough air in the tires. Accidents that can destroy a car completely. Luckily for us, it takes much longer to declare a person as a “total loss”.
For kids to succeed at whatever they do, we need to make sure their body is in good shape. Memory, understanding and focus are highly affected by sleep, hydration and the supply of nutrients.
If you are worried about your kids’ report card, before choosing tutoring (have you ever noticed the amazing resemblance between “tutoring” and torturing”?) and putting a ban on afternoon activities, go over the next 5 ingredients to help your kids study well.
For kids to be able to think, they need to have enough oxygen. When they are in a closed room, they have less oxygen and this slows down their thinking.
Make sure your kids get fresh air. When they need to concentrate, teach them to take 5 deep breathes. This will bring more oxygen to their brain and help them to function better. The best breaths include deeply exhaling all the used air at the bottom of the lungs, so that more fresh air can come in.
If you work with your kids and find they are unable to concentrate, take them out for a short time to get some fresh, new and clean air to renew the level of oxygen getting into their brain.
Being active is another way of bringing more oxygen into your kids’ brain. Being active helps their heart work faster and better and also supports other functions of their body.
People need plenty of water in order to think. My Reiki teacher told me that most illnesses can be solved simply by drinking enough water. Our brain needs water to keep cool and function well. When we are dehydrated, the brain slows down and uses most of the water for essential – remembering things. Learning new things is a luxury when you are dehydrated and the brain will give it up when there is not enough fluid.
Unfortunately, carbonated drinks are not what the brain needs, nor are coffee and tea. Most people have lost the alarm that says “I am dehydrated, I am thirsty” and do not feel the lack of water. Teach your kids that going to pee is like having a leak (no pun intended). Whenever they go to the toilet, they must drink one cup of water to top up their fluid supply. The magic rule is 1liter for every 22kg of body weight. If your kids do not drink this much, you should take the responsibility over their learning and encourage them to drink plenty of water.
Eat Brain food
For the brain to function, it needs brain food. I know that many parents fight with their kids over healthy food but I believe it is worth it and persistence is the key. Teach your kids what brain food is. Tell them when they are eating it.
Fruits and vegetables help us build our body and clean it. They should be a major part of every meal. They have many of the nutrients we need. Focus on colorful meals with red, green, yellow and orange fruits and vegetables. Eat plenty of greens – they have lots of magnesium, which helps reduce stress and improve memory. They also have lots of fiber, which helps regulate our digestive system and get the most out of our food.
Fish and meat should be a regular part of every week. Fish have the Omega-3 fatty acids we need and meat has iron, which keeps us healthy and vital.
All kinds of proteins, like eggs, milk, beans and nuts, help us heal and grow.
Bread, rice, pasta, cereal, bananas and potatoes have magnesium (no stress, good memory – remember?). Make sure they are part of your weekly eating plan.
Brain food helps kids learn better. Make sure they do not eat too many sugary or processed foods if you want them to succeed in their schooling.
Many kids function poorly at school only because of bad sleeping habits. In order to think properly, we all need enough sleep every day. Unfortunately, sleeping-in one day cannot compensate for late nights the day before. It takes the body a whole week of proper sleep to overcome one hour that we have missed.
A third of our time is dedicated to sleep and rest. The more we grow, the more time we need to sleep. This is why babies (and teens) sleep (and eat) a lot. Together with growing, the body uses this time for digesting the load of information we have learned during the day and relaxing.
10-14 year-olds need a minimum of 10 hours of sleep. 14-18 year olds need 9 hours of sleep. If your kids are not doing so well at school and they do not get enough sleep – help them understand what it means to be “sleep smart”.
The last but not the least ingredient of success is fun. If your kids learn and learn and learn some more and they do not have fun with it, it is no wonder they are not succeeding in their studying.
For kids to succeed they need motivation, fun is the best motivation there is. Unfortunately, many parents think that grades, popularity, mom and dad’s happiness or fear of punishment are good motivations, when in fact, they are the worst. They can work for a short time but cause damage in the long run. When kids are driven by fun and joy, they are internally motivated and will easily succeed. When they are driven by any form of fear, their success is temporary and damaging. Find out something they love doing – it does not have to be a school activity for them to use as motivation to learn – it just needs to be fun.
Traveling with your kids is a great way for them to learn without even knowing and an excellent example to show you how this works.
Success at school must follow these basic ingredients for kids to be healthy and happy. Your role as parents is to make sure they have these long before you expect them to succeed at school. Unfortunately, this responsibility for the most essential ingredients for learning is in your hands only, so use it wisely.