Tot2Teen Tools

Maggie Jones

Maggie Jones

Passionate about providing children with an educational space which allows them to blossom and tools which they will learn to love.

Can your child grow their own brain cells?

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In a previous blog we looked at the amazing piece of circuitry, called the neuron.

Everything we do and think and feel is governed by how our neurons connect to one another and our environment. Scientists have found that the brain has plasticity and that rather than being hardwired, the brain is constantly being rewired. I am thrilled to tell you that with the help of exercise, your child can become their own electrician.

 John J. Ratey, MD, Harvard Medical School says: “Exercise is really for the brain, not the body. It affects mood, vitality, alertness and feelings of well-being.”

If you have already used our Headstart Movement Sequence, you will have noted the benefits of repetitive movement on brain development in your child. If not, please do not miss the opportunity to buy this programme and provide your foundation phase child with the head start advantage they need.

Please also look out for the very well researched book and DVD called Wired to learn by Professor Shirley Kokot. You can purchase it online in our Tools section.

 What are the benefits of exercise?

It improves learning on three levels:

  1. It optimizes your mind-set to improve alertness, attention and motivation.
  2. It prepares and encourages nerve cells to bind to one another, which is the cellular basis for logging in new information.
  3. It spurs the development of new nerve cells from stem cells in the hippocampus, which is the area of the brain related to memory and learning.

Scientists have found that the best time to focus on a project that demands sharp thinking and complex analysis, is directly after exercise.

What type of exercise should your child participate in?

The exercise which is a combination of challenging the brain and the body, has a greater positive impact than aerobic exercise alone. The technical movements inherent in for example; martial arts, yoga or competitive swimming; activate a vast array of brain areas that control balance, timing, sequencing, evaluating consequences, switching, error correction, fine motor adjustments, inhibition, intense focus and concentration.

With contact sports on lockdown during Covid19, what exercise routine could I start with my child at home?

To keep your children exercising and to ensure that they do not miss out on any developmental milestones, I will be loading a 45 minute fun exercise routine called, Come Move, twice a week from today until the end of 2020.

Equipment you will need: Tennis balls, Frisbees, cones, parachute type material, plastic balls, bean bags, 2 large dice, skipping ropes, pack of playing cards, hoops, whistle, hockey sticks, baseball bat, ball inflator, steps, round balls and rugby balls.

Yoga is the perfect exercise to do at home, because it requires very little space and equipment and it challenges the brain and body. I am working on a Yoga Package called YogaT2T, a programme which you and your children can use to practice: relaxation, how to control sleep disorders and anxiety, exercises for strengthening certain areas of your body and breathing techniques. I have divided the programme into two categories of practices: Kindergarten, where I use storytelling to hold the child’s attention, with age appropriate yoga movements and Teens/Adults, with more advanced yoga movements. Watch this space!

Remember, the more neural pathways in the brain are used, the stronger they become, meaning the more often you practice feeling calm, the easier it will become to feel calm and peaceful. Yoga is a wonderful tool to use in order to achieve this goal.

Hope you will join me for my next blog, where we look at how anxiety affects you and your child.

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