No matter the type of training we are giving to our children, be sure that you are training their brains for optimal performance in the classroom, on stage or the field and more importantly, for life. Wellbeing is a bit of a buzzword now, and it is something that should be taken seriously as a parent. Even in the school, the best and brightest kids (those achieving high and with good souls) also get tripped up by things like anxiety and social pressure. Our kids and we are most productive when we are not miserable.
The optimal function of our brains involves a lot of positive emotions (positive thinking or the ever-elusive “happiness”) and good neurotransmitters. With this in mind, some research-informed practices are available that you need to know to improve our own and our children’s brain function and general wellbeing. The 3 Good Things include:
Mental Fitness Exercise
The relatively short and straightforward evidence-based exercise to rewire the brain of your child is to fill it with Good Things. Negative Bias has useful evolutionary roots, and it is our teenagers’ surprising ability to focus on the worst of a situation. Naturally, our brains try to predict the worse possible outcomes before it happens and it always tries to avoid them.
If you have ever read this statement, “Anxiety is the shadow of intelligence”, you have to understand that we need to learn how to stand in the sun to shrink the size of the shadow we cast. Three Good Things is just that. Also, you can name three good things about the day or the moment. For example:
1. Rice ball for lunch!!!
2. When I did not have a pen, my child gave me one
3. I am in my pyjamas while writing this because I love my new robot pyjamas
If you are trying to create new habits or rewire the brain, the above is an excellent activity to do with yourself. You will have to start with little things (e.g. practising rugby or Jack was hilarious at lunch today). These three things will easily flow into six after just a few days. It is one of the easiest ways that parents can engage their kids in conversations about school. A role model should be of higher priority. Warn your kid especially teenagers; they can be very suspicious!
To rewire the brain of your kids, you should give them enough time to express their feelings or worries. You will have to spend some times with them discussing the positive over the challenging. You can also make use of the 3:1 Positivity ratio; Barbara Fredrickson and other psychologists have confirmed this.
You should always aim for something good (like playing with people you like at work), something personal (like learning a new poem daily) and something a bit more mundane (like wearing your best socks). Your child may not be able to comprehend what you are doing at first – this is just the starting point. They will get to know about it as time goes on.
Three good things include simple, quick and evidence-based. Therefore, you can start by asking your child what their three good things are today. Many boys and girls will struggle with this at first, but it will get more comfortable with practice like any habit.