As we all begin to settle into a new rhythm of life for a while, a discussion has been taking place at Lifeline Children’s Services. In all that we do, we want to exercise good neighbor love during this response to COVID-19. We’ve been thinking, “What does it mean to be a good neighbor through Bridge Educational Services?” In times that feel so uncertain and are causing us to adapt in so many ways, we want to be intentional. We want to walk alongside you during these days and help you to redeem the time.
Here are some ways we are poised to do just that:
Over the last decade, I have had many parents say they wished they had more time to be able to focus on some needed skills and to implement brain games with their kids. But life is just too busy. Well, that opportunity is here.
At Bridge, we believe God is allowing us to use a 21st Century understanding of the brain to strengthen cognitive processing and executive functioning. We use a comprehensive, trauma-informed training based in neuroscience that integrates social-emotional learning and cognitive development. It is designed to connect the dots between science, adversity, academic performance, and the gospel to create healthy child development and achievement.
We hope to give you some ideas that you can use to create a new habit within your daily routine. These tools have been proven to help translate neuroscience research into tools and strategies for caregivers of children and families impacted by adversity.
At Bridge, we believe the brain is always under construction. That notion is backed up by science and is called neuroplasticity. I recently heard neuroplasticity compared to the spiritual process of sanctification. As believers, we know the Holy Spirit is changing us and making us more and more like Christ day-by-day through His intentional activity. Neuroplasticity is a little bit similar. By using brain strengthening tools, we are changing our brain and reshaping how it is wired. To leverage this God-designed, God-created capacity to reshape the brain and improve cognitive functioning, we will give you an idea of something you can do each day to strengthen a different part of the brain. Today, we will start with the cerebellum, the part of the brain that governs motor development. Strengthening motor development is important because it impacts our sensory and visual systems.
As you plan your day, try to set aside 15 minutes to implement a few of these exercises aimed at strengthening intentional motor movement.
Day 1: Primitive Reflex Exercises/Movement
Repetition: at least five times at a slow pace
Moro Reflex: Starfish Exercise
Have your child sit in a chair with his or her right wrist crossed over the left and the right ankle crossed over the left ankle. Fists should be closed. Ask your child to inhale and act like a starfish by swinging his arms up and out and thrusting his legs out while extending the head back and opening hands. Have him hold this position for five to seven seconds while holding his breath. Then tell him to exhale and return to the same position, crossing the left wrist and ankle over the right wrist and ankle. Repeat this again until the child is back to the original position. Do these six times in a row a few times a day until the reflex is inhibited fully.
Spinal Galant Reflex: Snow Angel
Lie on the floor on your back with legs together and arms to the side. Very slowly open legs and raise arms with arms and legs always touching the floor. It will look similar to a jumping jack on the floor. Arms and legs should move at the same time and it is helpful if it is done to a beat. A metronome can be used.
TLR Reflex: Superman
Start out on stomach with arms stretched out straight in front of you and legs straight out behind you. Lift head and hold for 10 seconds.
ANTR Reflex: Lizard
Lay on your stomach. Turn your head to the left and as the head turns bend your left elbow bend, and bend your left leg toward your waist. Switch sides.
Palmar Reflex: Stress Ball/Finger Taps
It’s just like it sounds, squeezing a stress ball or tapping your fingers on a hard surface.
STNR: The Stretching Cat
Bend your knees and set back on your heels. Straight arms are stretched out in front with palms down and your forehead is touching the ground. Slowly move forward to tabletop position, inhaling and keeping the arms straight. Body weight is over the arms. Your head lifts upward as your body moves forward. Back remains flat at all times and does not arch or dip down.
KEY THINGS TO REMEMBER
- Exercises should be repeated daily in succession, five to 10 times until the reflex fatigues.
- Frequency is more important than intensity.
- Movement must be slow and purposeful.
- Give it time.
Extra Resources: Here are a few things for further understanding of today’s concepts:
In case you need a little help in organizing your day while you are at home, here is a daily schedule that includes implementing brain games and cognitive fitness exercises:
COVID-19 Daily Schedule
Before 9:00 Wake Up
9:00-10:00 Morning Exercise (Go Noodle/Pyramid of Potential)
10:00-11:00 Academic Time
11:00-12:00 Creative Time (Brain Games/Science Experiments)
1:00-2:00 Academic Time (Reading/Spelling/Writing)
2:00-3:00 Outside Time