We all know that our brain needs to be engaged if learning is to take place. Sonia says it’s important to remember that your mind and your brain are two separate entities, with our mind controlling our brain. That’s why you have to keep a positive frame of mind. Picture the scene; it’s been a long day and you’re trying to get dinner cooked before getting the kids bathed and to bed, but in the thick of it all, you’re helping a tired, hungry and possibly belligerent child study for upcoming exams. You’re tired and irritable and your child seems more uncooperative than normal. The stress and anxiety immediately trigger a the pre-frontal cortex into shutting down temporarily and a temper tantrum ensues. At best, the situation ends in tears and no learning can possibly take place – no matter how hard you yell! In this instance, the frame of mind activates a specific area of the brain, hindering learning.
It is more important than ever to ensure that your child is eating nutritious meals, getting enough exercise and sleep. Good food not only feeds the body, but it also feeds the brain. A hungry child is not going to get much studying done. Young children need to exercise in order to rid themselves of pent up energy and prevent frustration – both states of mind which are not conducive to learning. The increase of oxygen to the brain further enhances brain function. Tired children are cranky and irritable. Sleep is not only important for development of the brain, but also for the brain’s day-to-day functioning. Lack of sleep affects our frame of mind and we find that adults and children find it hard to concentrate, remember things and tend to make silly or careless mistakes. Primary school children should get least 10 to 12 hours of sleep a night.
The space in which your child studies is an important part of the preparation process. Every child is different and you may find that the traditional idea of sitting in a silent, stark room on an upright chair at a desk is not necessarily the optimum learning environment for your child. The learning environment must be: an uncluttered space, where unnecessary distractions are kept to a minimum; equipped with notebooks, paper and stationery; an attractive space. These spaces tend to be personal – some will enjoy gym balls to sit on rather than chairs, as they offer a sense of movement, others might prefer the comfort of a bean bag and a lap desk, while others might prefer sitting at the kitchen counter close to you as they work. Regardless of personal preferences, the learning space must be one in which your child feels safe and comfortable in order to maximise learning potential.
Get It Magazine (Ballito/Umhlanga) August 2017