My sister recently asked me whether I felt it was a good idea for her to put my six-year-old niece, Sophia into a math tutorial. My niece is a smart girl when it comes to co-curricular activities. She is very social and loves art & craft activities but gets disinterested when it comes to doing homework, especially when it’s Math. Was this a sign of an unbalanced brain? I remember when I was a child I was of Sophia’s age, I was a bookworm who didn’t like sports and was selectively social.
Reflecting back to the fact, 90 % of the brain development happens between 0-5 years of age. When areas of the brain are not utilized, the brain automatically locks up the areas which do not get used. For example, if a child is struggling with academics, it means they have a weak left brain and if he/she lacks social skills it means they have a weak right brain. It is important that the two sides of the brain are developed and balanced. To strike this balance, you ought to engage them in activities which utilize both the sides of the brain.
So, in Sophia’s case she was predominantly using her right side of the brain. But would this problem get solved with taking some extra tutorials? Would she get enough of relax time? She is too young to be squeezed out.
One way to promote a balanced brain is to serve a healthy mind platter. It’s made up of seven daily essential mental activities that work in sync to optimize brain balance. This idea is developed by Dr. Daniel J. Siegel and Dr. Tina Payne Bryson in their book The Yes Brain Child.
Here’s what’s on the platter:
1. Focus time – I can completely focus on a task and get absorbed in it
2. Play time – I have time to play and be creative
3. Connecting time – I spend time face to face with others and I connect with nature
4. Physical time – I move my body every day
5. Time in – I have some quiet time when I pause to breathe, think and reflect on images and sensations
6. Down time – I have time where there are no goals or outcomes expected – I let my mind wander or relax
7. Sleep time – I sleep so my brain can rest and recover and learning can be consolidated.
(Adapted from pages 65-66, The Yes Brain Child by Dr. Daniel J. Siegel and Dr. Tina Payne Bryson)
P.S: As parents, we want our children to flourish and grow. We can either nurture their mind-set that leads to happiness and a love for learning or we may trigger a negative mind-set which makes them feel pressurized. The more relaxed, stimulating and encouraging the environment is, the more likely a child is to be curious, keen to explore, solve problems and become confident.