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"The visual system is a significant part of how we process information and a key factor in how we learn. 80% of what you perceive, comprehend and remember depends on the efficiency of the visual system." (Vision and Learning)
A child’s developmental level, not just the chronological age, is vital to learning success. Developmental maturity demonstrates that the brain is able to take in sensory information and then process the information in the higher cortical areas of the brain. We are all meant to be born with certain primitive reflexes established. These primitive reflexes assist the mother and baby through the birth process. They then allow the baby to adjust to life outside the womb and to begin the process of training the body and the brain to work together. Typically, these reflexes are inhibited and replaced by more advanced postural reflexes sometime between 6 months - 3 years of age.
A light, after school snack is beneficial to a child who needs to refuel before play time, home work and after school activities. Keeping a veggie tray handy in the refrigerator, replenishing it as needed, is an easy to grab snack. Nuts, fruit and cheese cubes are also nutritious options. Try to keep processed chips, sugary cookies, candy and sodas out of the house to reduce this temptation. An Oxford study has shown that sugary and high glycemic index foods will only make children hungrier. Children who learn to eat healthy foods are more likely to become adults who make better food and nutrition choices.
Yogurt is a nutritious food option for breakfast, lunch or snack and should be eaten daily. The key to picking a good yogurt is to make sure it has live, active cultures (probiotics,) is low in sugar and has vitamin D. Yogurt is easy to make at home and can be sweetened with honey and fruit.
Eating a healthy lunch will help keep your children alert and ready to learn as they move into their afternoon. Unfortunately, we often fall short when it comes to offering nutritious meals. Start by teaching your child to make good meal choices when possible. Some excellent and easy lunch options include hearty soups, salads (try to use a fat free or low fat dressing,) fruit, and sandwiches using whole grain breads.
Breakfast is the most important meal of the day. The body is breaking the fast it has endured during the night. During the night while sleeping, a child's metabolism slows. A breakfast high in protein in needed to get the metabolism going for the day. Unfortunately, those days of big family breakfasts with eggs, bacon, biscuits, homemade jams and jellies, milk fresh from the cow or newly squeezed orange juice are no longer the normal on our more modern, typically frantic mornings. Instead, we find ourselves racing around the house getting everyone ready for work and school. If breakfast is eaten at all, it is often a bowl of sugary cereal, Poptarts or other empty calorie food that is an easy grab and go meal.
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