Most of schooling is the process of memorizing and recalling facts. Unfortunately, this is typically the main way a child is often evaluated regarding their level of intelligence. How well do they memorize, but what are some things that affect this ability?

Children are usually told to sit still and pay attention. However, that is one of the worst things anyone can do to increase their understanding and retention of material. Movement grows the brain and the longer we are still the more the brain shuts down. You may have heard the new phrase, “Sitting is the new smoking.” This eludes to the detrimental effects of prolonged sitting. Let’s look at some ways we can use movement to enhance not only our recall abilities, but our true learning.


Movement Tips

When studying or doing homework, stand when possible or sit on an uneven surface. Balancing while memorizing helps both brain hemispheres stay fully engaged; moving information from short term to long term memory more easily. Walking while repeating information is highly effective and can be even more powerful when we walk in an infinity sign pattern, helping keep both brain hemispheres active. If you need to sit to do something, stand up every 30 minutes minimum, 15 is ideal. Just the process of standing helps to refocus the brain. Brain Gym, Teacher’s Edition by Paul Dennison, is a great resource for specific movements that help to activate and coordinate the whole brain. Stretching of any sort also helps. By loosening the tension in our muscles, we increase the speed at which our nervous system responds.

Understanding a person’s learning dominance profile can give us a lot of insight to how we process information and give us tips to make that easier. It can help us understand how our brain reacts during times of stress. For example, a person who is left ear dominant may need a couple of extra seconds before they respond because of the way they are transferring information thru their brain. I can help you determine your dominance profile or you can get the book Dominance Profile by Carla Hannaford.

We also need to stay hydrated! It only takes being 2% dehydrated for brain function to begin to slow down. We want water, not sodas or juices. Start the day with a glass of water, send water in your child’s lunch and have them have some as soon as they get home from school. See what kind of difference there is in their focus.

This is all more effective if the primary reflexes are fully integrated. If the foundation of our brain isn’t strong, then everything else can’t be as effective. Let’s give our children every possible tool so they can feel confident in their abilities to learn, understand and recall. Those abilities are not a basis of a person’s true intelligence, just another skill all of us need to learn.