The brain is like the rest of the body; it needs to be regularly exercised if you want it to be in good shape. Bad memory, mental blanks, inability to concentrate, confusion, stress and lack of focus are some of the inevitable consequences students face when they don’t treat their brain right. If your child is having any of these problems, then check out my top 4 tips on how to keep your brain active!

1. Watch Less TV
Television is not necessarily a bad thing, but it is a very passive form of entertainment. Have you noticed how easy it is to drift off into a mindless stupor while watching the TV? This is because the television is notoriously bad at activating your mind; it does not challenge or engage your brain. Watching more that 1 or 2 hours of television each day has the same effect on your brain as sitting on the couch all day has on your physical fitness; you get lazy and unable to focus on tasks for an extended period of time.

2. Stay Healthy
It’s amazing how often people forget that the brain is part of the body. This means that it needs what every other part of our body needs: good food, water, exercise, rest and fresh air. It’s not as difficult as it looks to achieve these things, it can be as simple as spending time in your garden rather than indoors. Encourage yourself to do this by creating an inviting outdoor space that you will want to relax in. These commuting methods could offer your brain time to relax by taking in more fresh air, increasing your ability to stay switched on when you get to school or work. However, students (especially VCE students) often develop unhealthy habits: staying up late, eating badly, not exercising and getting fresh air and drinking too many energy drinks. Not only are these things bad for their bodies, they also affect students’ ability to concentrate and focus. Remember, a healthy brain is a powerful brain.

3. Challenge Your Mind
A runner training for a race will constantly focus on improving their time. Every time they train, they will try to push themselves a little bit further than last time. This is because we can only improve at something if we challenge ourselves. If you want to get the most out of your brain, you need to keep it constantly challenged. There are many ways you can keep your mind challenged: do crossword puzzles, take times tables challenges, write a story, try to memorise shopping lists, try to solve complicated maths problems in your head, learn a new language, learn how to play an instrument, learn all of your friends’ birthdays off by heart. If keep your brain challenged on a regular basis, it will stay sharp for when you need it most.

4. Read Widely
The ability to read well is one of the most valuable skills your brain can develop. Reading improves our language skills, our spelling, our expression, our general knowledge, our comprehension skills and our imagination. Students should try to read as often and as widely as possible. They can read comic books, websites, recipes, novels, poems, plays, blogs, letters, emails, instruction manuals, magazines, brochures, maps and even the fine print on the back of the cereal box. The important thing is that your mind gets used to reading and understanding everything it can.