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20 Tips to Boost Your Kid's Brainpower

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  • Dr. Charlotte Reznick PhD
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    Message 1 of 1 , Aug 31, 2011
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      20 Tips to Boost Your Kid's Brainpower

      If you've read The Power of Your Child's Imagination you know the story of the
      eight-year-old girl who was panicked about returning to school because her
      brain had rotted over the summer. Her math and spelling areas were black from
      non-use, but by imagining washing them with white foam she transformed her
      brain into a beautiful flower ready and able to learn. iVillage recently
      consulted with me for about half of the 20 tips in their new article, Boosting
      Your Child's Brain Power. I especially appreciate their balancing
      educational/psychological insights and research with nutrition and exercise
      ideas. Here are some to start you off before you go directly to their site. Let
      me know which are your favorites.

      Guest article by Stacey Colino for iVillage

      Help Your Kid's Become a Better Learner

      At the start of a new school year, you may feel like a spectator who's simply
      cheering your child on. After all, his brainpower is largely out of your hands,
      right? Wrong. The truth is there's a lot you can do to boost your kid's ability
      to learn and reach his potential. "Children are born with their brains
      hardwired in a certain way, but parents have a tremendous influence on the
      development and shaping of their child's brain and the connections that are
      being made inside," says child educational psychologist Charlotte Reznick,
      Ph.D., an associate clinical professor of psychology at UCLA and author of
      [2]The Power of Your Child's Imagination: How to Transform Stress and Anxiety
      into Joy and Success. The key is to give your child's brain the TLC it needs
      and deserves. Here are 20 ways to do that.

      Sign Up Your Kid For the Breakfast Club

      Your mama was right: Breakfast is the most important meal of the day - so make
      it nonnegotiable for your kids. Researchers at Ulm University in Germany found
      that high school students who ate breakfast had better visual-spatial memory
      and were more alert than those who skipped the morning meal. Likewise, a study
      from the U.K. found that a breakfast rich in complex carbohydrates helps kids
      maintain mental performance - particularly in the areas of attention and memory
      - throughout the morning. "A healthy breakfast with whole grains, fruit, low-
      or non-fat milk or yogurt and a protein-rich food - such as nuts, eggs or
      peanut butter - provides the body with key nutrients as well as with glucose,
      which is the main source of fuel needed by the brain and provides steady blood
      sugar levels, which can help a child focus," explains Elisa Zied, M.S., R.D.,
      author of Nutrition at Your Fingertips.

      Ask Open-Ended Questions

      You know how your kids love to ask you why? Well, turn the tables on them and
      crank up their brainpower in the process. Ask them why they like certain
      friends as much as they do, or why they think certain rules exist, or what's
      the best vacation they've ever taken and why it was the best. "Such questions
      will encourage your child to come up with novel ideas, which in turn will help
      to create new neural connections in her brain," explains Reznick. Try to
      involve your kid's senses in your questions - by asking what the ideal vacation
      spot looks like, sounds like and smells like - and you'll engage and stimulate
      her brain even more.

      Be Warm and Fuzzy - But Firm

      "Research suggests that a warm, emotionally stable home, in which children's
      decisions are monitored and age-appropriate rules and goals are set, is
      important for the development of executive cognitive function - skills
      involving planning, abstract reasoning, working memory and emotional
      regulation," notes Nathanial Riggs, Ph.D., an assistant professor of preventive
      medicine at the University of Southern California. "Conversely, kids with
      punitive or harsh parents are at risk for problems with these skills during
      childhood." The take-home message: Provide your child with rules and limits and
      guide him through decision-making processes - with love and compassion - so he
      can learn to anticipate the long-term consequences of his choices.

      Make Sleep a Priority

      If your child doesn't snooze enough, he or she may lose precious brainpower.
      "Sleep impacts every aspect of a child's cognitive functioning, including
      attention, memory, problem-solving and decision making." says psychologist Jodi
      Mindell, Ph.D., associate director of the Sleep Center at the Children's
      Hospital of Philadelphia and author of Take Charge of Your Child's Sleep.
      "Studies have shown that children who don't get sufficient sleep are more
      likely to do poorly in school and be identified as having learning difficulties
      and/or attention problems." Set a consistent bedtime and wake-up time for your
      child, enforce an electronic curfew (no TV, computer or other device) two hours
      before bedtime and create a relaxing bedtime routine to set your child up for
      enough good quality shut-eye every night.

      Encourage One-Thing-at-a-Time-Tasking

      A recent study by researchers at the University of Leuven in Belgium found a
      U-shaped curve in people's ability to multitask throughout their lifespan: At
      the ages of 9 and 11, kids struggled to perform a task that required naming
      items in certain categories while walking; young and middle-age adults did much
      better. There's a reason for this: While kid's brains are undergoing
      full-throttle development, it's easier and more efficient for them to focus on
      a single task rather than try to juggle several. "The research shows that when
      kids multitask, many do everything worse," explains Reznick. Make a
      no-TV-while-doing-homework rule, and encourage your child to focus his
      attention on the task at hand before moving on to another one.

      Put Omega Power on Your Side

      Whether it's because of their anti-inflammatory or anti-clotting effects, or
      the way they improve signaling between nerve cells, this much is certain:
      Omega-3 fatty acids are beneficial for the brain. Research at the University of
      Cincinnati College of Medicine found that when healthy boys ages 8 to 10 took
      daily doses of 400 or 1,200 milligrams of docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) - the
      primary omega-3 fatty acid in gray matter - they experienced changes in the
      activation of areas of the brain that could potentially promotie improvements
      in attention, memory and other aspects of cognition, says the study's lead
      author Robert McNamara, Ph.D., an associate professor of psychiatry at the
      University of Cincinnati College of Medicine. "It's critical that children get
      DHA in their diets to support brain development. Supplementation with fish oil
      (1 gram of EPA + DHA daily) is one option, and several foods are now fortified
      with DHA." Incorporate them into your child's diet regularly.

      Get Your Kid Off the Coach

      Regular physical activity is beneficial for every aspect of a child's health -
      and brain function is no exception. A recent study at the Medical College of
      Georgia in Augusta found that when sedentary, overweight kids ages 7 to 11 put
      in 20 or 40 minutes of exercise a day, after 13 weeks they experienced
      improvements in executive function and ability to do math; what's more, MRIs
      revealed that important areas of their brains became increasingly activated.
      (Their sedentary counterparts experienced no such increases.) Meanwhile.
      research at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign found that kids who
      are more aerobically fit perform more accurately on cognitive tasks requiring
      attention and control in response selection. Sign up your kid for the sport of
      her choice, make playground trips a regular part of the day, schedule family
      bike rides on weekends - anything to keep her active.

      Play Stimulating Games Together

      Whether you play "I Spay" or "Geography" on a long car trip, do challenging
      puzzles at home, or play card games involving memory or board games requiring
      strategy or abstract reasoning skills, you'll be doing your child's brain a
      favor. "Playing is how kids learn early on," Reznick says, and all of these
      games will help your child's brain forge new neuronal connections. A hidden
      perk. Playing them together will help you appreciate different aspects of your
      child's intelligence you may not have noticed.

      Read the rest of the tips listed below in [3]iVillage.com[4] [5]here.

      Hit The Off Button

      Crack Open a Good Book

      Offer Nutritious Noshes

      Don't Be a Superhero Parent

      Tap Your Kids Inner Mozart

      Organize a Homework Routine

      Harness the Power of Produce

      Help Your Child Conquer Stress

      Turn Down The Volume

      Give Your Child Healthy Doses of Nature

      Cut Household Chaos

      Encourage Kids to Name Their Feelings*

      Check out the cool photos that go with the helpful tips in [6]iVillage.com[7]


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      With love and light,
      Dr. Charlotte

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      Annual Conference
      "Imagery: Hope and New Beginnings"

      Sept. 30 - Oct. 2
      Burlingame, CA

      This is a wonderful organization and their Annual Conference is just around the
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      friends and colleagues, and have great fun.

      Topics include:

      "Metaphoric Dialogue: Bringing Hope Alive"
      "The Neurobiology of Hope"
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      "Expanding Open-Heartedness: Imagery as a Spiritual Practice"
      "Dancing the Dream Image"
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      Registration, agenda, workshop info, all on website.[13]
      [14]Learn More and Sign up TODAY.

      About Dr. Charlotte Reznick
      Charlotte Reznick PhD specializes in helping children and adolescents develop
      the emotional skills necessary for a happy and successful life. She is a
      licensed educational psychologist and Associate Clinical Professor of
      Psychology at UCLA. Dr. Charlotte is the creator of Imagery For Kids^TM:
      Breakthrough for Learning, Creativity, and Empowerment and is the author/
      producer of several therapeutic CDs for children, teens, and parents. An
      international workshop leader on the healing power of children's imagination,
      she maintains a private practice in Los Angeles, California. Visit



      Go here to join in.....


      Feb. 21
      Workshop at School
      Westchester Parents Nursery School
      7:00 - 9:00 pm
      Westchester, CA.
      [20](Link to School)

      March 22-25
      Workshop at Conference
      Psychotherapy Networker Symposium
      Creating a New Wisdom
      Omni Shoreham Hotel
      Washington, DC
      [21](Link to conference)

      May 3-6
      Workshop at Conference
      California Association of Marriage and Family Therapists
      Annual Conference
      Altogether Now: Diverse Faces of Mental Health
      The San Diego Marriott Mission Valley
      San Diego, CA
      [22](Link to Conference)

      I'm passionate about helping kids develop self-love and learn self-healing
      techniques for life's challenges.

      I'd be delighted to come to your school or organization - anywhere in the
      world. Let me share how Nine Imagination Tools can transform stress and anxiety
      into joy and succes for the lives of the children and teens you care about.

      Write me directly and tell me your needs at

      Dr. Reznick can help; call (310) 889-7859 for more information.
      Imagery For Kids | 11911 San Vicente Blvd. | Suite 240 - Brentwood | Los
      Angeles, CA 90049

      Counseling Services, Guided Imagery, and Meditation Training offered to clients
      living in: Los Angeles, Santa Monica, Pacific Palisades, Malibu, Beverly Hills,
      Beverly Glen, Culver City, Brentwood, Westwood, Marina Del Rey, Mar Vista,
      Encino, Sherman Oaks, Topanga Beach and Topanga Canyon, Ocean Park, Hancock
      Park, West Hollywood.

      Consultation, Workshops, Trainings and Speaking Offered Worldwide: U.S.,
      Europe, Asia, Australia, South America, Africa.

      All Content Copyright ©2010 Charlotte Reznick PhD, All rights reserved.


      1. http://www.imageryforkids.com/learnMore.html
      2. http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0399535071?ie=UTF8&tag=book-search-engine-20&linkCode=as2&camp=1789&creative=390957&creativeASIN=0399535071
      3. http://www.ivillage.com/help-your-kid-become-better-learner/4-b-376830#376846
      4. http://www.ivillage.com/help-your-kid-become-better-learner/4-b-376830#376846
      5. http://www.ivillage.com/help-your-kid-become-better-learner/4-b-376830#376846
      6. http://www.ivillage.com/help-your-kid-become-better-learner/4-b-376830#376846
      7. http://www.ivillage.com/help-your-kid-become-better-learner/4-b-376830#376846
      8. http://www.ivillage.com/help-your-kid-become-better-learner/4-b-376830#376846
      9. http://www.imageryforkids.com/holidaySpecial.html
      10. http://www.imageryforkids.com/holidaySpecial.html
      11. http://www.thelittleguidetobigchanges.com/
      12. http://www.thelittleguidetobigchanges.com/
      13. http://imageryinternational.org/annual-conference/
      14. http://imageryinternational.org/annual-conference/
      15. http://www.imageryforkids.com/
      16. http://twitter.com/#!/imageryforkids
      17. http://twitter.com/#!/ImageryForKids
      18. http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=744618470
      19. http://www.linkedin.com/in/imageryforkids
      20. http://www.wpns.org/
      21. http://www.psychotherapynetworker.org/symposium/symposium-2012
      22. http://www.camft.org/AM/Template.cfm?Section=Conference_Link_1&Template=/CM/HTMLDisplay.cfm&ContentID=9489

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