GREEN TIME V SCREEN TIME: 3 Ways You Can Make Your Kids Smarter!
I’m sitting at the local coffee shop sipping on my tea, undertaking one of my favourite pastimes, people watching. To my left there’s a mother boasting to her friend that she thinks her 18 month old is gifted because she can unlock a smart phone and to my right there’s a toddler staring blankly at an iPad screen as Peppa Pig plays in Mandarin. His father explains to the others at the table that whilst Olivia isn't yet speaking Mandarin they're pretty sure she understands it now and it's just a matter of time before she's fluent.
I stare off into the distance and notice two little kids running around playing tag. They seem to be in disagreement about whether the little girl tipped him or not, its unclear how they resolve it but in no time are off running around together again.
Listening to these parents gush over their children’s achievements it’s clear that all these parents are doing their best to give their children the best start in life and the resources they need to succeed. They’re doing what they can to make their kids smarter.
Now resist the urge to google ‘3 ways to make your kids smarter’ and instead keep on reading - I’ve done the research for you. And spoiler alert - it’s not watching cartoons in foreign languages.
If you want your kids to get better grades than you need to encourage them to...
Let your kids run free! Running, skipping and bike riding improve your kids’ cardiorespiratory fitness which a 2014 study by the University of Texas found had a positive impact on reading and maths tests scores. Further research from the University of Illinois found that physically active kids had a bigger hippocampi (part of the brain) that resulted in them doing better in memory tests. University of Illinois Professor Charles Hillman has even found evidence that children who run and play (like children) for 70 minutes a day exhibit better cognitive skills than those who don’t.
Build a volcano in the garden! In 2005 the American Institute for Research found that students in outdoor science programs improved their science testing scores by 27%. They develop a sense of curiosity for the world around them and become inquisitive. Unstructured play in nature is just as, if not more, important, with children becoming more creative and innovative. When they have to make their own fun they learn to be self-reliant. Let them climb, jump and walk along rock walls. This allows children to develop problem-solving skills and learn to use the resources around them.
Take them on a nature walk! A 2015 Californian study proved that walking in nature can eliminate stress and promote ‘smartness’ in children. Spending time in nature allows their brain the chance to relax and recalibrate and in turn improves their ability to focus and concentrate in the classroom. Grow your own vegetables! Children who grow their own food are more likely to eat fruits and vegetables and to show higher levels of knowledge about nutrition.
Well I've finished my tea now and am going for my morning walk. How about you close your screen and head outside too? Go roam free, play wild and explore nature!
From: Aunt Matilda