Hopfully when you read this, all the snow melts. The days are getting longer and the sun is shining more. Now that spring has arrived, it’s time to go outside and get all the winter energy out. The sun and fresh air are very beneficial for children, both mentally and physically.
Soak up the sun. Yes, the effects of too much sun can be harmful, but now is the best time to be in the sun. The spring sun is not so strong and your baby’s body will benefit greatly from vitamin D after a long winter. Vitamin D plays an important role in bone development and immune system function. It can also help in healthy sleep and improve mood, both of which are essential for a productive student.
Running and engaging in more exercise has an endless list of benefits. Even if your children have strenuous exercise for 60 minutes, the AAP recommendation is to get more time at home each day. Even if it’s only another 15 minutes. Get out of there! You are a role model for your children. Studies show that strenuous exercise can increase the size of the hippocampus, the area of the brain involved in verbal memory and learning. This can lead to improved concentration and improved memory. Take a quick walk or bike ride. Push a soccer ball in the yard, tag it, or hide it.
If you can’t get out of there, wthis is very understandable, as parents, let your children play with friends. This is something the kids couldn’t really experience the last few years. At least not the same as they did before the pandemic. Even if it’s just brothers and sisters, group play is a great way to communicate and enhance their executive functions. It is a set of mental skills that includes working memory, flexible thinking and self-regulation. These skills help children perform a variety of tasks, plan, prioritize, solve problems, and negotiate. It’s a great way for kids to learn not only life skills, but skills that will make them a better student.
Playing outside also gives children a greater appreciation of nature. Children can see the beauty in all the little things, even the simple worm that works in the dust. Seeing new flowers bloom after a long winter, buds of trees, hearing the chirping of birds. All of these things can teach children that nature is very valuable and we need to take care of our environment.
When the spring break is right around the corner this time to recharge. Let your children take the much-needed spiritual break from school. Spend a lot of time outside and hope the April rains don’t get too much.
This column is dedicated to CEO Silvan and owner Patrick McNamara, who passed away in February. Patrick was an advocate for student success and he was a great friend to all who worked with him.
Vanessa Banks is co-founder of Kernel Creative Media and Sylvan Learning marketing strategy from Clifton Park and Albany. For more information, visit SylvanLearning.com.