Do you know what Brain Training means? Well, though it may appear to be a tough question, the answer is simple. Exercising the brain to learn and master ANYTHING one chooses to.
Brain training was initially used in speech therapy, rehabilitation, geriatrics and special education, but today it is a godsend for teachers and parents the world over. It is a great blessing because it can be used by individuals of all ages. So, irrespective of whether your child is in preschool or getting ready for college, he can start brain training. Furthermore, he doesn’t need any fancy locale, equipment or coach to give his brain a workout. He can train his brain in the comfort of his own home, with you as his coach.
In their book ‘Brain Training: the complete visual program’, authors James Harrison and Mike Hobbs state that the brain works around the clock and generates more electrical impulses in a day than all the mobile phones in the world. So, it is reasonable to expect that with such brain power, your child should be able to accomplish anything and everything! However, the secret to harnessing the potential of her powerful brain is to train it. Brain training can help your child perform better by improving the following areas—
- Memory refers to the filing of information throughout life. It is also the biological search engine that helps an individual select and use specific data. For the brain to file information effectively, particular details need to be memorised and should remain easily retrievable. Brain training can help your child sort information based on details, and then store them in short-term memory, sensory memory and long-term memory. During brain training, he will learn to use techniques like association, acronymic phrases and rhyme to memorise effectively.
- Visual and spatial awareness is the use of mental pictures to strategise responses in situations. Brain training would enable your child to use her imagination to visualise actions and responses, and concretise them even before she faces them in real life. It applies the same science that we use in our daily lives. For example, our mouth opens when a spoonful of food reaches our lips or we duck without thinking when passing under a low branch. Some brain training exercises for visual and spatial awareness include depth perception, puzzles and riddles that require division and distribution.
- Creative thinking is nothing but original thinking that involves innovation and ingenuity. For your child to be at his creative best, he has to be in the right state of mind. Brain training can enable him to focus and achieve that mental state instead of waiting for it to happen on its own. Exercises related to this would also widen his imagination and help him think outside the box.
- Numerical reasoning ability can make math appear an easy subject. Numbers are everywhere and in everything. There is simply no getting away from them. If your child tends to flee at the very mention of numbers, brain training can help her change her mind. Doing things like visualising math, mental math, patience with numbers, and so on during brain training will soon have her looking forward to practising math skills.
- Verbal reasoning, in layman’s terms, is ‘gift of the gab’. From door-to-door salesmen to world leaders, all have a great sense of verbal reasoning, and there is no just reason for your child to not master it. Brain training uses visual association to strengthen his ‘fluid intelligence’ or intelligence-on-the-move. It enables him to understand the meaning of words and phrases based on the context, visual representations and the sound of words.
- Mind–body connection is best evidenced when an individual engages in regular physical exercise. Exercising increases blood circulation to the brain and sharpens perception and emotions. It also helps the brain grow new brain cells! Physical activity can spike up your child’s energy levels the same way as consuming caffeine and chocolate do. Physical exertions that encourage cross-work can enhance both the right and left hemispheres of the brain. Side-to-side workouts, physical stress busters and meditation are all promoters of the mind–body connection.
As you begin brain workouts for your charge, try some simple brain training at the beginning. You could use games like memory or number recall, shapes assortment, matchstick games, darts, mosaic puzzles, word or sentence scramble, Sudoku, Kakuro and age-relevant reading and comprehension.
Proceed with no hesitation! Get those little grey cells tingling!
Hannah S Mathew is a freelance teacher, trainer and certified diagnostic counsellor.
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