Friday, October 4, 2019

Habits for Healthy Brains

My 9 year old did research last spring for one of her classes and her topic fascinated me so much that I started quoting it as part of my yearly well check questions with my pediatric patients.  This was based on a Time for Kids article that can be found here.

Bottom line is this.  A study showed that kids' brains are strengthened if they meet these 3 benchmarks for health.

  1. Sleep 9 to 11 hours at night
  2. Exercise at least 60 minutes a day
  3. Spend less than 2 hours of recreational screen time a day

This study was based on 4,500 children in the US between the ages of 8 and 11. So these kids were tested on attention, language skills, planning and mental processing. Kids who scored the highest met all 3 benchmarks. Interestingly, only 5% met all 3 benchmarks while nearly 30% met none!

Just out of curiosity, I had my kids chart their habits in these 3 areas for about a week this past summer. For the most part, they did pretty well but it took intentional effort.

Now especially as the school work and activities start piling up, we need to be very intentional about the sleep and exercise part. I don't think we have much time for the recreational screen time. That is much harder in the summer or on days off.

Happy Fall, everyone!