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Supporting your child’s physical health and wellness to supplement their studies

Supporting your child’s physical health and wellness to supplement their studies

The school year can be a busy and stressful time for both parents and children. As a parent, you want to make sure your child is prepared to tackle all challenges, be it within or outside of school.

That would mean staying on top of their schoolwork, eating the right kind of food, and making sure they get ample sleep every night. To help you get started, here are 5 simple tips to prepare your child for every challenge the school year might bring!

Staying active

It’s tempting to give exercise a miss when your child is in their study mode while ploughing through past year papers and assessment books. However, to keep their mind sharp and body strong, incorporating physical activities as part of their daily routine is not only helpful - but necessary as well.

According to research, staying physically active not only benefits the body but the mind as well. During exercise, the nerve cells in our hippocampus and prefrontal cortex are triggered to multiply and form new connections. This process makes our brains stronger and boosts our focus, memory, and concentration. It’s no wonder Physical Education remains a huge part of every child’s curriculum.

Encourage your child to engage in at least an hour of moderate to vigorous physical activity a day. This can include walking or cycling to school, basketball, dancing, and swimming - anything that gets them out in the sun for some vitamin D!

Getting enough sleep

For your child to concentrate in school, they need to be getting at least 8 hours of sleep every night. Research has shown that insufficient sleep can lower our attention span, making it harder for students to stay focused in class. Therefore, be sure to set up a bedtime routine that’ll get your child well-rested and recharged for the day ahead.

As every family has its own set of habits and house rules, you can expect your child’s bedtime routine to look different from your neighbour’s. For younger children in general, a routine can take the form of a bedtime story. For older children, it can be a quiet chat with you about their day followed by some alone time before lights out. While it may take a bit of trial and error, it’s worth the effort when you figure out the perfect routine that works for you and your child.

Last but not least, be sure to keep the hour before bedtime screen-free. Blue light from electronic devices can suppress melatonin levels and delay sleepiness. If your child has a mobile phone or tablet, have them place the devices somewhere out of reach.

Eating the right foods

We’ve all heard the saying that food is fuel for the body. To perform well, your child needs a healthy diet of fruits and vegetables to stay ahead in school. By getting all the nutrients they need from a balanced diet, your child will be able to better concentrate on learning without feeling restless or ambushed by sudden hunger pangs.

That said, we know eating healthy can often feel like rocket science. For a fuss-free method, simply follow the plate rule:

  • ½ vegetables (e.g. broccoli, spinach, long beans)
  • ¼ meat (preferably fish & chicken)
  • ¼ rice or noodles (preferably multigrain rice or noodles)

Consider packing some brain-boosting snacks such as unsalted nuts or a handful of blueberries your child can enjoy during break time. Nuts contain vitamin E and omega-3 fatty acids that improve cognitive functions, while blueberries are rich in antioxidants with numerous health benefits.

Keeping a tidy (head) space

There’s no doubt that the life of a student can be overwhelming at times. On top of that, there’s the added stress of having to sort through a messy bedroom and playing detective with a worksheet you needed for class yesterday.

To prevent such situations from happening, encourage your child to stay organised. Be it an uncluttered headspace or a tidy home environment, keeping things organised lowers their stress levels and increases their ability to stay focused.

For starters, consider setting aside a dedicated space at home where your child can revise their schoolwork without interruption. Be sure to include a drawer or cabinet where they can easily access their stationery and other study materials.

To help your child stay on top of things, we recommend having a system in place so nothing slips by them. It could be a wall calendar, a checklist, or a notebook that they carry with them to school. This makes it easy for your child to better monitor and manage their homework, group projects, and key exam dates.

Lastly, if your child likes studying with music on, our LoFi music playlist is perfect for easing them into study mode. Besides boosting concentration, music also reduces anxiety and makes studying more enjoyable!

Taking meaningful breaks

Don’t forget to sprinkle in a few well-deserved breaks to keep your child motivated. Studies have shown that prolonged hours of studying decrease our performance and make one more easily frustrated as well.

With that being said, it’s important that your child spends their breaks in a meaningful way. While watching television or playing video games may be enjoyable, the stimulating nature of these activities can rob your child of their limited mental resources that could be put towards studying. So, instead of more screen time, encourage them to go for a walk around the neighbourhood. You would be surprised what a short break can do for your child’s academic performance.

Conclusion

While it’s every parent’s desire to help their child succeed in school, the type of support can look different. For some, it could be to get their bodies moving so that they can focus better in school. For others, it could be keeping their room and study area tidy so that they have a stress-free environment that facilitates learning.

Last but not least, be sure to stay encouraging, celebrate small wins, and enjoy the journey as a family!

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