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6 Brain Training Exercises for Children and Teens.
- Elevator Breathing:- Practicing deep breathing (“elevator breathing” or moving the breath to all parts of the body) helps improve memory as well as emotional control. Kids love doing this, so do it often. Start out by having your child sitting in a cross-legged position or lying down and breathing naturally. After she has practiced breathing naturally, say:Imagine that your breath is like an elevator taking a ride through your body. To start the elevator, I want you to breathe in through your nose. Now breathe out all your air. Now breathe in and take your elevator breath up to your chest. Hold it. Now breathe out all of your air. Now breathe in and take your elevator breath up to the top floor, up through your throat into your face and forehead. Hold it. Now breathe out and feel your elevator breath take all your troubles and worries down through your chest, your belly, your legs and out the elevator door in your feet.
- The Brain/Body Coordination Workout:- Our brains and our bodies are part of our whole self, and both parts need exercise. When we “exercise” them together, we are actually helping various functions of the brain work more collaboratively and stay in order. Motor coordination is a function of our brain as well as our body.
- The Concentration Game:- Activities to improve memory and concentration are important for all of us. For younger children, you can take a few of their toys and line them up. Then cover them and take one away. See if they can tell you which one is missing. You can also have them try to remember short lists of familiar objects in the home. Try remembering them forward and backward. For older children and teens, try putting random objects in front of them for 15 seconds, then remove the objects and see how many they can remember. Start out with five and keep increasing the number as they master the task.
- Family Game Night:- Playing games like checkers and chess, as well card games including UNO, Hearts, Go Fish and Speed teach problem solving, planning and cooperation (such as taking turns and handling frustration). Board games are also great for this, such as Monopoly and Yahtzee. Games like Jenga and Operation improve attention, concentration, coordination and helps in tolerating frustration.
- Daily Talk Time and Challenges:- In today’s world of constant texting, talking, really communicating is getting to be a lost art. Taking time each day with your children to learn about their challenges and sharing yours will greatly improve your child’s communication and conversational skills. Sharing your challenges can also help them to learn problem solving skills. Family dinnertime is an awesome time to do this and a great tradition to start. Or read a book with your child and ask questions about what was happening. Discuss the events and also the feelings, not only how the characters were feeling but what your child was thinking and feeling as well. Share your thoughts and feelings as well.