Archives for July 2010

Smart Kids Get Fit to Succeed in School

Secret to Your Child's School Success

OK, if you've been following this blog, my articles, my audio classes and the Tuesday Teletips, you already know the secret.

It's physical exercise. It's movement. Kids can improve additude, grades, and test scores with movement--even manage ADHD.

So how about organizing a race in your neighborhood to raise money for your kid's school?  It's a fabulous end-of-summer activity and fun for everybody. Just be sure to have it early in the morning so it isn't too hot yet.

In San Diego, the Girl Scouts organize a 5K race (that's about 3 miles) every year and everybody gets free Girl Scout cookies. Last year's race raised $20,000. Open to kids and adults, 1,000 folks turned out to run and eat cookies.

Note: Cookies are great but oatmeal makes a better breakfast before the race. And new oatmeal products are coming out from Quaker Oats. The company is reducing sugar and salt--a very good thing indeed. They're introducing multigrain oatmeal (hmm, does that mean it isn't oatmeal anymore?) and an oatmeal product for kids where they can mix different flavors together.

Your race doesn't need to be as elaborate at the San Diego Girl Scouts--could be shorter and fewer people. Could be open only to kids. It's up to you--better yet, your kids. Let them

Creativity for Kids: It's Good for the Their Brain

Creativity seems to be everywhere these days.

How about the dress made from 1000 origami whooping cranes? If you're in London, you can take a look at it in the London Science Museum.

Or the two college students at Rice University who used a simple kitchen salad spinner, yogurt cups, a comb and a glue gun to make a centrifuge for separating blood to test for anemia.

The professor told the class to invent a cheap medical device that didn't use electricity and could be used in developing countries. They didn't just get an A for their class project. This summer the two young women, Lauren Theis and Lila Kerr, are traveling in Africa helping clinics test their device!

Now I'm not suggesting your kids are going to come up with an invention like this during summer vacation (of course, they might) but they certainly can

Rewire Their Brains on the Playground


Traditional Playgrounds or Creative Playgrounds? Perhaps an Adventure Playground?

Even when I was in college, I still loved the swings. I used to go down to the playground at Cascade Park and swing. It just felt good and made me happy.

Little did I understand that swinging was just what my brain needed. By stimulating the brain's vestibular system which regulates balance, I got a sense of where I was in space.

The fancy word for that is proprioception, and I had lousy proprioception--always bumping into things, tripping, falling down a lot. So I knew instinctively that swinging was just what my brain-body connection needed.

Swings are an important part of every traditional playground. Money bars are too. The brain loves monkey bars and rings because they require crossing the center mid-line which is essential for reading, writing, math and tons of other skills.

You can even hang upside down on monkey bars--another good thing for the vestibular system.  They help with

ADHD: Did Your Kid Get the Right Diagnosis?

Ethan is hyperactive, acts without thinking, talks out of turn and can't pay attention. Mom thinks he has ADHD.

Sophia is "spacey," never seems to know what's going on, doesn't make friends at school, and her grades are lousy. Her teacher says she has ADHD. Is Ethan's Mom right? Is Sophia's teacher right? Maybe so. Maybe not.

ADHD is real. That's a fact. And it can cause all kinds of problems in school, with friends, at home. It can make kids miserable and their parents frantic. It can drive teachers crazy. ADHD-like behavior is epidemic, but ADHD itself is

ADHD and Breakfast: How to Get Kids to Choose Healthy Cereal

Boy eating healthy breakfastLast year our teenage grandson lived with us. He had some adhd behavior, little motivation for school, and lousy grades.

We loved having him with us but what a challenge. Just getting Caleb to eat breakfast at all, much less a healthy one, started out as a struggle. But it was step one toward doing better in school and helping tame the adhd behavior.

We're at the grocery store together.

Caleb: "Grandma, let's get Froot Loops (with red dye 40, artificial flavor and mostly sugar)?

Me: "Are you kidding?"

Caleb: "But you said you wanted me to eat a good breakfast."

Me: "Right."

Caleb: "Then how come I can't get Froot Loops (with red dye 40, artificial flavor and mostly sugar)?

Me: "Because Froot Loops (with red dye 40, artificial flavor and mostly sugar). It isn't even food."

Caleb: "Well, I'm not gonna eat some gross old people's health food cereal that tastes like dog food."

Me: "I agree. Sounds truly disgusting."

Despite that conversation, by the time the year with his grandparents was up, Caleb was happily eating

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