As a mother of 3 super kids, an educator and a life coach, many people ask me how to raise super kids. After all, if I think all the kids have great potential, how come some of them stand out and other do not?
In a way, this is what I do here on Family Matters every day when I write – I share another part of the answer to this question by posting my experience and knowledge about parenting and my tips for raising happy, healthy and successful kids in a loving and supportive family.
Today, I want to write one trick I have used for many years to enhance kids’ performance. In fact, I use this trick to enhance my audience’s benefits from my workshops when the group of participants is small enough.
Our memory depends on the involvement of our various senses. The more senses are involved in a new learning, the more our brain records of it the better we remember it. Unfortunately, most of our learning is directed at only 2 senses – vision and hearing – through reading/writing and listening/talking. Sometimes, learning also involves kinesthetic stimulation like movement (hands-on activities), which allows the brain to store more pieces of information and strengthen the learning.
However, two important senses are very much neglected – smell and taste. Just try to recall smelling your math book or tasting your English exam and you will see what I mean.
I recommend using both smell and taste to enhance kids’ (and their parent’s) performance. However, this time, I will focus on using smell to learn and remember better.
Though we are not always aware of the smells around us, we smell all the time and smells can change our mood and performance. There is a whole science of using essential oils to relax, to be productive, to concentrate and even to improve memory. Funny enough, this science has reached such a high level that in some places in the world, they add to the air condition system smells that encourage people to buy.
Is it fair?
I do not know.
What I do know is that if some people can use it and spend millions of dollars on smells that make their clients buy more from them, I can use the same techniques to make my kids perform better.
Many years ago, before I knew anything about essential oils, I understood the connection between a good smell and feeling good. In every room where I worked, just before kids came in for a session or parents came in for a workshop, I would spray deodorant in the room or light a burner with some drops that smelled good to me (even though I had no idea what effect they had on people). Back then, my idea was, if people have a good feeling because the room smells good, they will learn better.
Kids, just like grownups, smell their surroundings and are influenced by it.
It is amazing how fast this works. Recently, I bought a device with 3 different smells that releases each of them for a few minutes and put it on the top floor where our beds are. After one day only, everyone going upstairs commented that it smelled good at the top floor. Can you imagine the good feeling they could have had if they learned upstairs?
Improving memory with scents
There is lots of research about the effect of smell on memory. People who specialize in essential oils will tell you that rosemary is a wonderful booster of memory. If you tell your kids to smell rosemary before they study for a test, they will remember more information and perform better on the test. People say the ancient Romans used to weave together crowns of sage and rosemary and put on their heads to improve their memory. Try, what do you have to lose?
It was also found that peppermint and cloves stimulate some parts of the brain that helps improve memory.
One famous research done recently (2007) found that exposure to rose scent during sleep (during slow wave sleep) improved the visual memory of the participants.
Bear in mind kids (and grownups) absorb smells even when they are not aware of them and smells which are not pleasant for them may do the exact opposite and distract them from concentrating.
Investigating the effect of smells on your kids is pretty simple. Get an essential oil burner and various essential oils and try each one over a week without the kids’ knowledge. Burners are easy to use and a few drops of oil with do the tricks, even though you may not notice them much. Alternatively, you can use scented candles, deodorant, air freshener or an electric scent dispenser (I love the easy, hassle free ones that last for 60 days).
Smells that appear in researches repeatedly and I recommend you check with your kids are: rose, rosemary, sage, cinnamon, peppermint, lemon and cloves.
It is an easy and simple way to give your kids an important boost and make them that one bit more successful and probably happier.