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The Tool You are Missing when Establishing a Child's Emotional Foundation |

The Tool You are Missing when Establishing a Child’s Emotional Foundation

This article introduces methods to build a strong emotional foundation and “hardwire” the brain for learning. Integrated Learning Strategies (ILS) is a learning and academic center. As a reminder, ILS is not a health care provider and none of our materials or services provide a diagnosis or treatment of a specific condition or learning challenge you may see in your child or student. If you seek a diagnosis or treatment for your child or student, please contact a trained professional who can provide an evaluation of the child.

So many kids thrive off of coloring, painting, scribbling, crafts and other fun creative activities. But is there a purpose behind this type of play or is it just for fun?

Believe it or not, these types of activities are precursors for building your child’s brain. Your child actually needs this type of play to enhance their future learning development.

For the first few years of a child’s life, your child “lives” on the right side of their brain, which is more commonly known as the creative and emotional side. As kids get older, we want them to transition to more left-brained thinking or logical thinking that helps them do the following:

  • Regulate their emotions
  • Solve problems
  • Think critically
  • Complete harder tasks like reading, writing and math.

Building Bridges between the Right and Left Brain

Kids who don’t make the necessary connections between the right and left side of the brain, can get stuck on one side or the other. When this happens, some children may not have an emotional foundation to enter the classroom.

Parents may find that when the lower levels of the brain haven’t fully developed, their child may be very emotional. It may cause them to struggle in one or more of the following areas:

  • Can’t attend and focus in the classroom
  • Trouble with behavior
  • Experiences tantrums or meltdowns over the age of five
  • Doesn’t know how to self-regulate their emotions
  • Can’t stay on task or listen to the teacher

How to Bridge Gaps in the Brain for Higher Learning

If a child struggles in many of these areas and hasn’t fully developed those left-brain connections for intellectual, social and emotional growth, how do we fix it? Or, better yet, how do we begin working on the emotional foundation when our kids are young before they enter school?

The answer is very simple. More handwriting! Mindful handwriting exercises and tracing activities are the gateway to rewire the brain for higher learning and emotional development.

Unfortunately, too many schools are transitioning to electronic devices. While technology is wonderful, less handwriting time in the classroom can cause impulsive behaviors and negative emotional behaviors. 

Jeanette Farmer, certified handwriting and remediation specialist said:

“Stressing age-appropriate handwriting exercises reinforces self-regulation in the early stages of preschool and kindergarten. Ultimately, in organizing the young brain, sensory-integration impacts the emotional brain, so a shift in dominance can occur and impulse control is gained.”

So there is your answer! More rhythmic and repetitive strokes have a greater impact on the brain for reading, writing, impulse control and emotional stability than any other exercises.

Handwriting exercises can build your child’s left-brain dominance needed for better organization, self-control, self-confidence, abstract thought, reasoning, processing what the teacher says and much more.

Types of Handwriting Exercises

Keep in mind, not all handwriting exercises are created equal. It’s ok to use handwriting activities for abcs, but the focus should be on repetitive strokes.

When looking for handwriting exercises that target building neural connections to rewire the brain, find a handbook with the following:

  • Use exercises that encourage repetition on the page
  • Find activities that provide curves, lines, sharp angles and even swirls
  • Don’t choose an option based on the child’s age, rather their level of handwriting (a teenager may still be at a beginner level)

To find handwriting exercises that incorporate all these tools and methods into one, click here

Why are repetitive strokes so important?

Have you ever wondered why your child can do the same task, color the same picture or play the same game over and over again without getting bored?

While it may seem repetitive and tedious to us, repetitive play is needed to commit the task to your child’s muscle memory. Eventually, these tasks (for example, climbing stairs, holding a crayon, buckling their seatbelt or tying a shoe) should become automatic without giving it a second thought.

The same goes for handwriting, tracing and drawing. The more your child practices certain strokes and rhythmic movements, the more they will commit these skills to memory so learning can become automatic.

Mindful handwriting and tracing activities, for example, can help the hands and eyes work together. They also encourage your child to use both sides of their brain and is a fun visual activity for getting your child to strengthen their muscle memory.

Just remember, deeper learning development and neural connections can be established at home and in the classroom when we encourage more handwriting, tracing and drawing exercises, as shown here.

Rewiring the Brain Roadmap

If you have an overly emotional child, they may be “stuck” on the emotional side of the brain. To help get them on the right path, download the Rewiring the Brain Roadmap below. The roadmap can get you started on ways to approach your child or student’s emotional well-being. It will also help you determine your child or student’s emotional “type.” 

Integrated Learning Strategies is a Utah-based center dedicated to helping mainstream children and children with learning challenges achieve academic success. Our services provide kids with non-traditional tutoring programs within the Davis County, Kaysville, Layton, Syracuse, Farmington, and Centerville areas. Areas to find Integrated Learning Strategies include: Reading tutors in Kaysville, Math tutors in Kaysville, Common Core Tutors in Kaysville, Tutors in Utah, Utah Tutoring Programs

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