Healthy Childhood Development: What Parents Can Do Now
There is no more powerful stimulus to healthy brain development than a parent. Absentee parenting can have a negative impact on a child’s brain development and behavior, as can too much technology, poor nutrition, and lack of consistent rules or boundaries. Here are a few things you can do as a parent to optimize brain development and ensure your child reaches his or her fullest potential.
Understand the Needs of a Growing Brain
Awareness of how the brain grows and what is required to make it grow properly and to its full potential is key. Balanced brain development depends on outside influences. Genes are responsible for building the brain and depend on environmental influences to stimulate them into action. Understanding behavior means understanding how the left and right brains behave as well as being aware of developmental milestones.
Reduce Screen Time
I believe the home computer and the lifestyle changes it has created are the largest contributors to the meteoric rise in childhood developmental disorders. It’s the reason kids have shorter attention spans and why they expect instant gratification. Therefore, it’s important to limit kids’ screen time to no more than a hour or two a day, and never, ever permit a television or computer in a child’s bedroom. Like the television, a computer should be centrally located so you can keep an eye on how often it is being used and how.
Encourage Active Play
Muscle movement is important motor stimulation for the brain. If kids don’t move, their brains don’t grow. Make them go outside and use their bodies. Encourage them to play outside after school, climb trees, play ball, and ride bikes. Interact with your kids in active fun and games.
Spend As Much Time As Possible With Your Kids
Parental stimulation is the single most important factor in getting a baby’s brain on the correct path, meaning quantity of time is as important as quality of time with your children. Talk to them, play games, read to them, or get them to read to you.
Set Rules and Boundaries
The most common reason for negative behavior in kids is inconsistent messages from parents. Kids need to live by a set of rules. Having a formal set of rules and values is one of the most basic things you can do to improve the overall behavior of your children and make your house a more positive place to live. Design a set of family values, set rules and stick with them.
The Family Empowerment Program is a long-term plan for the best life for every member of your family and is designed to help you reconnect with your kids and bring about significant, lasting, and positive change that will benefit every member of the family. It’s a powerful tool that shows parents how to help kids of all ages find motivation and purpose in life and reach their full potential. Learn more about healthy childhood development and how you can resolve a child’s behavioral problems without medication, strife, or drama in my book Reconnected Kids.