There is a free, safe, and easily implemented way to help your child perform the their best in school-EXERCISE. Huh? Not studying, not tutoring, and not extending the school day and hours. Cardio-Respiratory fitness was the most consistent factor in improving kids' test scores in both reading and math.
Unfortunately, this information is coming at a time when physical education is being cut in many locations in order to reduce school expenses and staying within budget. However, a physical education program from school is not a requirement for exercise. There are many clubs, and extracurricular organization for kids to participate in sports or exercise related activities. Local clubs here include the Boys and Girls Club, Zionsville Youth Soccer Association, and Zionsville Youth Football League to name a few. (Not to mention lacrosse, swimming, field hockey etc)
So, maybe your child isn't a group sport type of kid. There are still a multitude of ways to get physically active, and best of all, you can do them as a family. How about a family bike ride? or weekend hiking? or bike/walking to school. If you can't do any of these, then as a last resort, adopt a puppy, with required daily walks someone is bound to get active ( ok, this one is a bigger commitment than just walking, so don't take the joke too seriously) My experience is that kids like to get active(some may be hesitant at first), but especially when the parents are involved. This is a good way for parents to get active as well. Could you use a little stress relief? better focus? less exhaustion? These are all benefits for you as well. So not only are you helping your child perform better academically, you are helping them adopt healthy lifestyles, you are helping to strengthen family bonds and relationships, and you will gain those health benefits as well.
Not only are you doing all this for improved academics, but if you substitute this for TV time, you may also help reduce the incidence of behavioral problems such as aggression and inattention. The more time kids spend with electronic media, especially TV, the increased likelihood that they will manifest behavioral problems, which many educators can tell you is a problem.
Starting this week, try to reduce the time your kids spend with media, but don't just unplug, get actively involved yourself.
David G. Swiney, DC, CSCS
Dynamic Spine & Fitness