By Dr. Lindsay Grieve, DC
Becoming a mom has been such a life-changing experience for myself. As a “modern-day” mom I try to be a variety of things for my son: role model, health advocate, provide a loving & nurturing environment and help my son grow up and develop into the person he was meant to be. Oh and did I say fun? I want to do all of the above and also be remembered as the “fun mom”….am I asking for too much?
With all those objectives in mind I make an effort to prepare healthy meals, incorporate fun activities, play dates, get him to bed in a timely manner, teach him to move his body, challenge his mind and exercise his brain. Yes you read that right, exercise his brain!
There is so much growth and development that happens in a child’s first year of life. By the age of 1, the brain grows 2.5-3x it’s size from birth. 1,000 to 100,000 brain synapses are formed in the first year of life alone. By the age of 2, the brain reaches 80-90% of it’s adult volume. And by the age of 6, they have formed almost all of the major sensory and motor pathways they will need for their entire adult life. That is an immense amount of growth and development in a short amount of time! There are a lot of things, particularly in modern-day, that can interfere or hinder a child’s normal growth and development: birth trauma, skipping milestones (ex: going from sitting straight to walking, missing the crawling stage), overuse of “screen-time” (iPad, computer, cell phone, video games, TV, etc), lack of movement and stress.
Did you know movement and brain function are inter-related? A large study conducted in California assessed 1 million students over a 10 year period and found that just 20 minutes of walking improved a child’s ability to concentrate and improved their overall performance on an academic test. Movement and cognition happen in the same parts of the brain and use the same pathways. Our ability to think, control our emotions, pay attention, understand math, learn to spell and use language are all related to our body’s ability to move well.
What if I told you that you can help stimulate your child’s brain by doing specific exercises? When we practice movement patterns we build nerve pathways and establish connections in the brain. A study was conducted in 2003 that looked at the effect of 6 months of brain-coordination exercises on kids with learning difficulties. The children who were in the exercise group had significant improvements in reading, writing & comprehension, dexterity and speech fluency. When they followed up with those kids 4 years later the children had still maintained those same improvements….it’s long lasting!
Tonight try these 3 brain stimulating exercises with your little ones. (Some of the exercises may be challenging at first but the exciting thing is, the brain will catch on.) Get down on the floor with your kids and and make it a fun activity. My son has a blast doing them and some of the exercises are even challenging for me too! We aim to do the exercises every other day.
Log Rolls: great for stimulating the vestibular area of the brain.
Have your child lay on their stomach with their arms out overhead. Keep the body straight and try and encourage them to use their abdominal muscles to slowly roll onto their back. Continue rolling back and forth and work up to 12 rolls to each side.
Inch worms: Great for increasing central muscle tone and overall increasing stimulation to the whole brain. This exercise incorporates cross-body movement which connects the two halves of the brain.
Have you child lay on their back on the floor with their arms at their side, knees bent and their feet flat on the floor. Instruct them to roll one shoulder up and backwards well pushing a little with their feet. This will drag and push the body along the floor. Then roll up the opposite shoulder and do the same. Continue the exercise for 2 minutes.
CrossCrawling: This is great for integrating the left and right sides of the brain. All actives of the brain require input from both sides of the brain and this movement is essential for optimal brain function for all forms of learning: Reading, thinking, math behaviour, emotional control and planning. Cross-crawling is also essential for training the eyes to cross the midline and for the eyes to focus and track.
Get on your hands and knees. Move the opposite arm and leg forward at the same time. Try to focus on your hands when you do this exercise. Continue for 60 seconds.
For more information and video demonstrations of the above exercises, check out Dr. Lindsay Grieve’s website and blog: www.drlindsaygrieve.com
By: Dr. Lindsay Grieve, DC
It’s that time of year again when the nights get shorter, the weather gets cooler and kids are back in school. For me it was an extra-special time this year as my little love monster started his first few days of junior kindergarten, insert mom cry here. Truth be told it’s an exciting and terrifying moment all at the same time. For me, I rejoice as I get a bit more time to myself and at the same time get to watch my little boy grow and flourish in his new school.
The first few weeks are a crucial time for kids as they start new routines, meet new faces, are exposed to “new germs” and experience new stresses.
I’m sure other mom’s, like myself, are worried how their little ones will manage. Will they get the dreaded never ending snotty nose & nasty cough?!
Here are a few strategies and tips on how to insure your kids are armed with their best to thrive during this fall season:
1- Come in for a spinal checkup. Having a balanced spine and nervous system is essential for anyone who is looking to function at their best. If we think about all the things kids do in a day: run, jump, fall, stumble, it’s not hard to see how their little bodies get out of balance. A chiropractic adjustment is simply about bringing more balance and movement to the body, reducing stress & tension and allowing their nervous system to function with ease. That’s it. By removing interference from the nervous system it boosts the immune system and gives your little ones more energy to fight off whatever “bugs” they are exposed to. Studies show regular chiropractic adjustments boost the immune system by as much as 200%!
2-Minimize their sugar intake. Did you know the “average” kid consumes 16 teaspoons of sugar every day….that’s more sugar than eating 4 twinkie’s (we all remember twinkie’s, right?) Sugar can cause hyperactivity, difficulty concentrating and lower the immune system. Just one teaspoon of sugar can lower your immune system for up to 5 hours!! Of course, not all sugar is evil. Fruit and starchy vegetables contain naturally occurring sugars combined with important nutrients. You might be thinking, “my kid doesn’t eat a lot of sugar.”. But remember sugar is hidden in a lot of things: breakfast cereal, yogurt, granola bars, apple sauce, fruit snacks, bbq sauce, pasta sauce, gummy vitamins and juice.
3-Wash your hands with good old soap & water. It seems simple really but it’s a great way to minimize your family’s exposure to germs. It’s become a household rule for us, whenever we come back into the house, the first thing we do before anything else, is wash our hands. If we think about what kids do, they touch anything and everything, put their hands in their mouth, eyes, ears and noses and then touch anything and everything again. Teaching our kids the importance and easy habit of washing their hands can minimize the potential of spreading “germs” to you and your loved ones.
4-Supplement with a few key vitamins. I know there is a lot of information out there and sometimes it can be overwhelming on what to give our kids. I generally stick to 3 solid supplements and make an effort to be consistent. My top 3 recommendations for children are: Vitamin D, Probiotics & Omega 3’s. Vitamin D is a must for my son and I give it to him all year round, summer included! I give him 1200 IU’s a day. Vitamin D is an extremely powerful immune system booster. I also make a point to incorporate a quality probiotic into his routine. Generally I sprinkle some in his drink every other day but if he is fighting something or if your child has taken a course of antibiotics I would recommend giving it daily. Probiotics are extremely important for immune health and more and more research shows the health of your gut determines the health of your brain! Omega 3’s are another supplement that is necessary for optimal brain function. Omega 3’s aid in the development of the brain, eyes & nerves, and our mental & emotional well-being. To get my son a source of Omega 3’s I use hemp hearts or ground flax seed and sprinkle it into various things he eats: oatmeal, smoothies, baked goods etc
Since the school year started I incorporated a product by St Francis Herb Farm called Deep Immune for Kids. It is amazing for helping boost the immune system and can often ward off or minimize any general cold symptoms ( I have been giving him a dose of this 3 times a week to give him that extra boost).
Two products I keep on hand in my cupboard are:
-Elderberry Syrup….it’s amazing for anything respiratory.
-Stodal Honey Cough Syrup….it’s a homeopathic medicine that works great to sooth a cough or sore throat.
For more information, check out Dr. Lindsay Grieve’s website and blog: www.drlindsaygrieve.com
Just hopping on to share some great news with our followers today! Our Thrive Health blog was added to this list of “Top 50 Chiropractic Blogs to Follow in 2013.” See the infographic below for details and our ranking.
Thank-you to Bobby Ellis for the recognition and to our wonderful clients and readers. If you haven’t been on the blog lately, do some browsing this weekend! Here are some recent articles you might enjoy:
1. A Canadian study has found moms aren’t prioritizing their health. Are you one of them?
2. Being a new parent can be back-breaking work. Lift and carry your infant properly to avoid hurting yourself.
3.Got a fussy eater on your hands? Optimize your child’s nutrition with these sneaky tips!
Thanks for reading! Have a wonderful weekend.
An infographic by the team at CouponAudit