Here is question 22 from Brain Fitness 101: Answers to Your Top 25 Questions.
Are there specific brain fitness programs for kids? My kids have problems with math-why should they do these things that may distract them?
- Learning stress management skills can reduce test anxiety and improve learning readiness.
- If stress levels are too high, concentration and focus are negatively impacted.
Stress reduction can help not only with math or test anxiety, but also with overall high levels of anxiety that inhibit learning and higher-order thinking. Programs teaching relaxation through breathing techniques with biofeedback training are already used in a number of schools with promising research results. (See Take a Deep Breath: Biofeedback software is helping students calm down for better test performance.)
High levels of anxiety provoke cortical inhibition, which is when high emotional arousal overwhelms higher-order thinking or executive functions in the frontal lobes. Fortunately, positive emotion-focused tools and techniques that foster physiological coherence have been shown to significantly improve key aspects of health, emotional wellbeing, and performance.
Educational intervention studies examine the effects of these programs in school settings. Programs and curricula incorporating positive emotion-focused tools and techniques introduced at the elementary, middle school, high school, and college levels have been demonstrated to reduce general psychological distress, test anxiety, and risky behaviors, as well as improve test scores, classroom behaviors, stress resiliency, learning, and academic performance. Studies are also underway to investigate the impact of positive emotion interventions for children with specific learning disabilities as well as with attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).
You can learn more at Brain fitness for Students
- Emotional self-regulation and test anxiety
- Growing Super Athletes (each of our students)
- Enhancing Cognition and Emotions for Learning — Learning & The Brain Conference
- Math Anxiety
- Diamond, Marian and Hopson, Janet. Magic Trees of the Mind: How to Nurture Your Child’s Intelligence, Creativity, and Healthy Emotions from Birth Through Adolescence. (Plume; 1999). ISBN 0452278309.
- Goldberg, Elkhonon. The Executive Brain: Frontal Lobes and the Civilized Mind. (Oxford University Press, USA; 2002). ISBN 0195156307.
- Goldberg, Elkhonon. The Wisdom Paradox: How Your Mind Can Grow Stronger As Your Brain Grows Older. (Gotham; 2006). ISBN 978–1592401871.
- Levine, Mel. A Mind at a Time. (Simon & Schuster; 2002). ISBN 0743202228.
- McCraty R, Barrios-Choplin B, Rozman D, Atkinson M, Watkins A. The impact of a new emotional self-management program on stress, emotions, heart rate variability, DHEA and cortisol. Integrative Physiological and Behavioral Science. 1998;33:1515–70.