What’s the key to keeping your mind sharp and your brain healthy as you grow older? Online puzzles? Nutritional supplements? Mall walking? Pickle-ball tournaments?
The truth is, there’s no single “miracle cure” for memory problems or other brain changes that come with aging. But there is cause for optimism. Science points to a combination of social factors and healthy habits that—taken together—can help you build, preserve, and protect your brain’s function over time.
Continue reading “Keep Your Brain Healthy As You Age”
Conversations with your children are one of the most important ways you can keep them safe, resilient and loved. They can also be one of parenting’s most long-lasting satisfactions.
Real communication is easiest to establish when families are young, yet there are paths to openness that can be explored during any phase of family life.
Conversation tends to flow freely during ‘normal’ occasions, for example:
The benefits of families sitting down to eat together have been proven in study after study, as a means to build lifelong bonds, as well as social skills.
Parental driving duties offer an opening for conversation.
Cell phones are a potential flashpoint, in cars and elsewhere.
Lead by example: tell them, firmly, that you are turning your cell phone off and they must do the same. This is particularly appropriate in the car, but cell-free time can be judiciously scheduled.
For example, at the dinner table, have everyone put their cell phones (muted) in a basket. Whoever uses their phone does the dishes.
Opportunities to converse can also arise from other activities:
- Working on a puzzle together.
- Listening to a favorite song of theirs (and one you liked when you were their age.)
- Sharing a poem.
Here are a few pointers:
- True conversation takes place between equals.
- Listen hard and with respect.
- Engage your kids with leading, open-ended questions.
- Address them by name.
“Meghan – what was the best part of practice for you?”
“Tony, what did Mrs. Summers have to say about her trip?”
“Where would you like to go if we could go anywhere Brian? “
- Avoid offering solutions or supplying answers.
- When it’s your turn to talk, repeat a bit of what they’ve said and extend it with a leading question:
“So, how do you think this will turn out? “
- Speak infrequently, and be mindful of your tone of voice.
- Be patient, especially during silence.
- Avoid suggestive phrases that begin with “you should.”
- Be thoughtful about topics, observant about your kids’ interests and concerns, and wait for the best time to raise them.
- Time your topics for the right moments.
At some point, every child needs someone to turn to, and it is then that a well-established line of communication can literally be a lifesaver. It’s much harder to establish a rapport in the midst of a crisis.
If you have any questions or a specific concerns consider speaking with your child’s pediatrician.