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Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Toddler to Scholar: Prepare Your Child for School Success

Child Quest International has worked with children of all ages over the last 22 years of service, and we understand the importance of preparing children for success in school as well as when out-and-about. One minute they're taking their first steps and the next they're grabbing the car keys as they graduate high school and head off on their senior trip! Children grow quickly, and you want to give them every opportunity for a great life. Down the road, you'll have let go of your pride and joy as they leave for college, but now is your chance to instill positive values, habits and beliefs.

It may sound crazy, but it's never too early to start preparing your child for college. From providing a healthy diet to offering constructive criticism, parents can guide their students to the honor roll with these principles.

Brain Food

Nutrition plays a large role in raising a happy, healthy child, and the right diet can promote academic success. According to Telegraph.co.uk, food rich in omega 3 improves reading, writing and spelling among children. Researchers added an ingredient called "atole" to porridge in Guatamala over an eight year period. Children that ate atole, a protein-rich ingredient, achieved higher test scores on reading and cognitive tests.

"This study confirms that the first three years of life represent a window of opportunity when nutrition programs can have lifelong benefit's on a child's development, particularly in education," professors at Middlebury College, Vermont John Maluccio said, according to Telegraph.co.uk.

Foods like fish and nuts contain high levels of protein and omega 3. Feed your children brain food when they're young to help them pass AP College Board tests as they approach college.

Healthy Self-Esteem

Every parent wants their children to have high self-esteem, but over-inflating kids' egos is a recipe for failure in the classroom. When parents tell kids that they're are naturally gifted without encouraging work ethic or improvement, students adopt what Stanford researchers call a fixed mindset. These students value being perceived as smart more highly than learning, and when someone questions their intelligence through construction criticism, they're likely to reject the feedback. Kids that view intelligence as a product of effort and dedication, on the other had, have a growth mindset. From this perspective, students don't find their esteem in their natural ability, but their effort and progress.

There's nothing wrong with affirming your child's self-esteem, but acknowledge that hard work and humility are characteristics that make the most of talent.

Turn off the TV

It's easy to plop kids in front of the TV for a much-needed break, but too much virtual reality negatively effects students' grades. According to Msnbc.com, researchers found a correlation between watching TV or playing video games during the week and school performance.

"On weekdays, the more they watched, the worse they did," study author Dr. Iman Sharif told Msnbc.com. The study found that spacing out on the weekends doesn't have a significant effect on school performance.

Instead of TV, give your kids more productive activities to do during the week. Sports teams, dance lessons and good ole-fashion trips to the park will promote health and happiness. If your children want to veg out, there's nothing wrong with some Saturday morning cartoons. Just don't let Monday—Friday turn them into TV zombies.

Writer & Editor: Anthony Gonzalez for Child Quest International.

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