Current research is reinforcing what teachers and parents have witnessed for many years: Sleep, good nutrition, water and exercise really do matter!
- Sleep is essential for brain development as well as function. Brain growth occurs while sleeping and consolidation of learning does as well. (Ensure 11-13 hours for 3-5 year olds; 10-11 for 5-12 year olds.)
- Nutrition: Make sure children consume protein, calcium, fat, vitamins/minerals, antioxidants, and omega-3s daily for brain development. And because the brain requires sustained high glucose levels for optimal function, snacks and meals should ideally always contain a balance of fat, protein and carbohydrates.
- Water: Brain function actually diminishes without water so encourage regular sips of water throughout the day. (Water is always available to children while in class.)
- Exercise actually boosts brain function. Recent studies have found that 20 minutes of exercise actually generates a blitz of neurotransmission, which improves cognition. This just reinforces how important recess really is for children’s bodies and minds!
For more information about the importance of sleep, read also Sleep and Your Child.
For more information about the importance of nutrition, read also Scientists learn how what you eat affects your brain and those of your kids.
For more information about the importance of water on brain function read, Why Your Brain Needs Water.
For more information about the importance of exercise and cognitive development read: Exercise and Children’s Intelligence, Cognition and Academic Achievement.