My child is addicted to their tech!
New Year, new opportunities! Children are so lucky to have an abundance of extracurricular activities at their fingertips.
However, I often hear reports of children spending a huge amount of time on tablets, computers and TVs.
This impacts their brain development for the worse.
Instead of creating positive pathways for learning skills, emotions and interaction; it feeds addictive rewards cycles and sets kids up for negative, learnt and strong brain pathways.
I want to talk about the types of activities that will stimulate your children’s brains so they become better adults.
Impacts on the brain
Neuroplasticity is the description of how the brain is able to make new synapses/connections.
The brain is always able to do this, but it is much easier as children than as adults.
Children under 2 make one million synapses every second! The more we practice anything that we have learned, these connections strengthen, and they become easier to do.
This is the same for sports, language, hobbies, routines, behaviours and emotions. For this reason, the expression practice makes perfect finds its true meaning. This can occur in a positive and a negative way.
Behaviours get reinforced with positive and negative rewards. What lessons do you want to teach?
Rewards of strict parenting
Something I was always strongly advised of as a child was to find one passive and one active afterschool activity. There was no negotiation on this rule.
The passive afterschool activities could range from; singing, musical instrument, craft projects, writing, public speaking or debating!
While the active afterschool activities would be generally the sports, dancing, soccer, netball, basketball, softball, tennis, athletics or hockey! What I found, was a very attentive brain that was adaptable.
What activities are right for my child?
What will have to be found is what you child wants to do!
Practicing something your child has no interest in will become a bore and could be a drain on you having to remind your child to do it daily!
Doing something with friends will be more appealing and could be easier for you that both sets of parents can help with pick up and drop off!
This is the secret to social interaction and a way that makes it more fun for everyone!
Its more important that your child is enjoying the activity as opposed to what the activity is.
What should my child do?
I will regularly have parents ask me which sports/activities their kids should play/do.
For sports, from a developmental perspective, I do like to suggest things that both sides of the body are involved with and are generally lower contact.
Sports like this include, swimming, martial arts (no competition), basketball, etc. This sends equal amounts of muscle activation up to the brain.
Which will maintain balance of pathways in the brain. One sided or contact sports could have a more negative impact in the long term.
You’ll have to decide which is the best fit for you and your child. In terms of passive activities, I am a big fan of suggesting musical instruments, learning languages and public speaking.
These will all give confidence and it is much easier to learn these skills as a child. The more synapses that can be formed in the brain assist in learning, so these skills are so much easier for children.
The synapses/connections that we create in our brain allow us to do anything and everything.
It just depends where we spend our time and what we choose to do. If we are spending time in a dark room, with little to no movement our brains will lack stimulation.
Of the stimulation that is does activate it will be left brain and of addictive pathways. Children should be more active using their right side of the brain as it is our creative hemisphere.
As everything learnt by a child is new information, creativity is key to link concepts, life and meaning.
Strengthening these pathways will assist your children to have problem solving skills, out of the box thinkers and emotional control. (another right sided brain activity).
Other than stimulation, proper motor function will also give correct stimulation to the brain. Ask your chiropractor about that!
Children who are left brain hemisphere dominant are more likely to be moody, have a negative response when electronics are taken away (addictive behaviour), poor communication skills for age appropriate and decreased empathy.
Nervous systems and brains can be retrained over time. Chiropractors are trained in working with brains and the nervous system through the spine, so your chiropractor can check out how these are working for your children.
What to do now?
Have a chat with you kids. See what activities they have interest in. Do some research, find out what is in your community.
From above, a passive activity will be more related to right sided brain activity.
Whereas sports that use both sides of the body will activate both sides of the brain. Make sure they’re having fun, learning and growing into awesome adults!
Better brain function makes you make the best choices. Better muscle control gives your brain more information about how your body works.
This means your brain has a better understanding of where everything in your body is. Your chiropractor can check out how these are working for you.
If you have questions about this article, please call us on (02) 6257 9400.
If you would like some more information about the spine and nervous system and how it relates to your health, please check out the other articles on our Facebook page or go to our website: www.spinecentre.com.au