Keeping your kid's brain healthy -

Keeping your kid's brain healthy

Dr. Amen is a pioneer in brain research. He says parents should start talking to kids about their brains when they're very young.

"Each of us is born with a brain containing nearly 100 billion nerve cells, and our first 10 years determine how we'll experience the world for the rest of our lives," he explains. "How you help their brains is you play with them the game I play with my daughter. She's now eight, but since she was two, we called it 'Chloe's Game: Is this good for my brain or bad for my brain?'"

Dr. Amen says the game is simply talking to your child and asking them questions like, "What are those things that are good for your brain?"

From talking about exercise and eating great foods to protecting the brain, like teaching your kid to wear a helmet when they ride a bike, Dr. Amen says it's important to take a proactive approach to enhancing a child's brain health.

"New learning is absolutely essential. Some simple supplements like a multiple vitamin and fish oil are great for kids," he adds.

Teaching children how to manage their emotions and everyday pressures is another key to raising a brain healthy child.

"Being angry. Negative thinking. Too much stress all hurts the brain," says Dr. Amen.

He studies the effects of trauma on the brain and says parents should initiate conversations about lowering the risk of brain injury.  

"I want parents to really elevate the discussion about brain health at home. So, if their child comes home and says, 'Well, you know, I really want to play tackle football,' they're like, 'Good for your brain or bad for your brain?' And based on our research, it's clearly bad for the brain. And the real reason not to do drugs and alcohol? Because they damage your brain. They damage your brain; they damage your life," says Dr. Amen.

And remember that every brain in the family matters.

"It's very important to have love, honor and respect for your brain, because you'll be a better parent, and for your child's brain, because they'll be better kids and better adults. And when you're really old and they're taking care of you, they'll be better to you," he adds.

Dr. Amen's conclusion you're never too young, or ever too old, to maximize your brain's potential.

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