These days when technology and fast food encompass our lives, it is very easy to succumb to the habit of spending entire evenings on the computer while eating a bag of chips. When we look around us, it’s no secrets kids these days are more involved with screens than with physical activity. As busy parents, it’s also harder to spend more time preparing home-made foods.
We need to ask ourselves: does a healthy diet and exercise really affect educational development in kids? Many researchers would say yes, in more ways than one.
Active kids score better
From sitting at school all day, to coming home and sitting in front of a computer all evening, kids can get bored and their attention span can decrease. However, kids who participate in even just 20 minutes of vigorous activity three times a week were found to have gotten higher grades, according to humankinetics.com. These kids were found to receive higher grades due to the increased attention span that came from taking a break from sitting and switching up their activity, thus increasing blood flow to the brain.
Physical activity in schools
You may think that taking any time out of school to do something non-academic would not help students academically, or may even hurt their academic performance. However, since physical activity actually enhances cognitive functioning, taking time to do a bit of exercise during the school day increases academic performance.
Teachers can even add in educational content into physical activities and games to make them even more beneficial. Not only does physical activity during the school day improve academic performance, but it can make students more attentive and improve their classroom behaviour. So why not turn a math lesson into a fun game of catch outside? For example, here’s an idea:
Set up a game of ball where one person asks a multiplication problem and the other person has to answer correctly before the ball reaches them. If they get it wrong, they do five jumping jacks.
It will get the kids’ blood flowing, make math exciting, and their academic performance just might shoot up as a result!
What you eat may affect what you know
Exercise is not the only thing that can help kids do better in school; food also makes quite the impact! Since kids brains are still developing, good nutrition encourages optimal brain growth, according to researchers in the UK. Younger children who ate more processed foods were found to have lower IQs than those fed a well-rounded and healthy diet. Another study from “The Journal of Nutrition” also found that with poor nutrition came poor academic performance and lowered mental capacity.
Physical and nutritional health go hand in hand when it comes to children’s educational growth and development. Consider adding in even just a little brain break, whether at school or home. Get your kids some exercise and maybe munch on some vegetables for an after-school snack rather than a processed alternative. Small changes and efforts like this can make a difference in your child’s learning.