By Guest Blogger Dr. Aleksandra Vujnovic
Children often face challenges when their daily routines change, leading to increased uncertainty, anxiety, and physical complaints. It’s important for parents to recognize and address these stressors, using a brain-based approach to support their children. In this blog, I will share brain-based tips to help parents navigate these challenges, providing crucial support to their children while meeting them where they are. These practical strategies aim to foster resilience and create a positive and supportive environment for your family.
When children encounter changes in their routines, academic demands, social pressures, extracurricular activities, or sensory overload, they may experience increased stress. Consequently, this stress can manifest in various ways, such as emotional outbursts and physical complaints like tummy aches. It’s crucial for parents to be aware of these stressors and address them effectively. By adopting a brain-based perspective, you can better understand your child’s needs and offer the support they require to thrive.
Brain-Based Tips for Supporting Your Child
- Include Intentional Brain and Movement Breaks: Incorporating short brain and movement breaks into your child’s daily routine can work wonders. For example, something as simple as a few cross crawls or a 10-minute walk can help them recharge and maintain focus. These breaks don’t need to be lengthy – just 10 minutes at most. They can include breathing exercises or impromptu dance sessions. The goal is to connect with your child daily, share a laugh, and have fun while simultaneously helping their nervous system handle stress better and build resilience.
- Visual Imagery and Visual Schedule: Visual aids are essential for helping children understand and process complex instructions and concepts. Use pictures, drawings, or color-coded visual schedules to help your child visualize their daily activities. This approach enhances their ability to process information, predict what’s coming next, and minimizes anxiety. By implementing these strategies, you’ll likely observe reduced verbal questioning and decreased anxiety in your child.
- Praise Your Child for Effort, Not Outcomes: When praising your child, focus on their effort rather than the end result. Praising the process, not just the outcome, encourages them to develop a growth mindset. For example, when your child brings home a good grade, say something like, “You worked really hard for that grade; you deserve it!” Acknowledge their concentration, self-correction, and the strategies they used to achieve success.
- Prioritize Nutrition: The connection between the gut and the brain is vital, especially during times of stress. Your child’s nutrition plays a crucial role in maintaining this connection. Consider reducing processed foods, sugar intake, and artificial food dyes in their diet. You might find helpful resources for healthy recipes in the “Gut and Psychology Syndrome Book.”
- Be Intentional About Nurturing the Nervous System and Brain: The nervous system is like your child’s body’s communication hub, controlling every action and reaction. Nurturing it is essential for their growth and function. Remember, it’s the input for growth and function. Keep this in mind as you navigate the challenges of change with your child.
Parents, you’ve got what it takes to make a positive difference in your child’s life. By incorporating these brain-based tips and developing a brain-based perspective, you can enhance your connection, compassion, and family dynamics. Your efforts will create a more supportive and loving environment for your child to thrive academically and emotionally.
Incorporating brain-based strategies into your parenting approach can significantly impact your child’s well-being. Understanding the effects of stress and using these practical tips allows you to provide the necessary support during challenging times. By fostering resilience, encouraging a growth mindset, and prioritizing your child’s overall health, you can help them navigate stress and succeed in their educational journey. Remember that you are doing a fantastic job as a parent. Your dedication and the development of your brain-based lens are powerful tools for creating a stronger, more connected family. Best of luck on your journey toward nurturing your child’s well-being and growth.