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Missing piece of the brain puzzle

Video Games & Your Child’s Brain

Do you have an uneasy feeling that playing video games is bad for your child’s brain?  It’s much worse than you think!

We all know how pervasive video games are in our children’s  lives, but what most people don’t know is the profound negative and lasting effects they have on a growing brain.   This report is based on Dr Dunckley’s experience with several hundred pediatric and young adult patients on- and off- video games: what symptoms occur due to gaming and other screen-time activities, how damage occurs over time, what systems are affected, and what happens to your child’s nervous system during and after an “electronic fast.”   This, combined with compiling the research, makes for a very compelling argument that video games, computer, texting etc can cause short and long-term negative effects.

Sign up HERE for your FREE Save Your Child’s Brain minicourse.  Arm yourself with the truth about video games, and get your child’s brain on track.

Today, many children are misdiagnosed, for example as ‘bipolar’ or ‘ADHD’, if they have meltdowns or trouble focusing.  Even more disturbing, some of these children are put on psychotropic medication unnecessarily, when the real culprit is over-stimulation from electronics.  Parents should first educate themselves on the effects of electronic screen media, then consider taking a solid three to four week break–an electronic fast— if their child is having any problems at home, in school, or with peers.

But how does one do this, in this day and age? First, you, the parent, must be convinced yourself that it’s worth it.  You must learn what happens in the eyes, brain, and body during gaming or other electronic media stimulation to cause dysregulation of mood and arousal levels.  Dr. Dunckley’s program explains the behind-the-scenes action in simple terms with lots of examples. Then, to be fully committed, you need to learn about the potential benefits of the electronic fast:

  • Better compliance, e.g.  being told to do a chore or get ready for bed.
  • Smoother homework time- more gets done with fewer tears and tantrums.
  • Improved reading and math skills*
  • Improved attention**
  • Better quality sleep, due to both sleep “signals” and body clock being reset.***
  • Better frustration tolerance, fewer meltdowns, less aggression****
  • Less irritability, depression, and agitation.

Lastly, you need to know how to implement it.  This is the tough part! Parents get overwhelmed with the just the thought of telling their child.  Dr Dunckley’s program specifically addresses this issue, and provides practical tools to help you and your child succeed.

What the FREE minicourse provides…

This is a preview to Dr Dunckley’s 4 week “Save Your Child’s Brain” teleseminar program, which is being developed to help support parents in what may seem to be a daunting task.   “The hardest part for me as  a clinician is helping the parent who resists.  It’s either because they’re not convinced of the video games’ impact,  because they feel it’s too difficult, if not impossible to implement in today’s world, or because they feel they’d be giving up precious moments of peace and quiet,” Dr Dunckley states.  “The program will address these concerns and helps the parent take it day-by-day, learning as they go.”

7 Tips to Make Homework Time Happier!

1. Use a timer. This is helpful in two different ways; if you’re creative you can figure out how to use both. 1) If your child gets stuck, distracted, keeps getting up to walk around, can’t focus, can’t finish, etc, use a timer as a game, as in “let’s see how fast you can get your spelling words done!” Make certain rules, like the assignments have to be complete, legible, and show some effort. Then create scores, like they get 2 points if done in 30 minutes, 5 points if 30 min and >80% correct, etc. Involved your child in the brainstorming to see what motivates them and they think is doable. For your part, if they’re not earning the points, you’ve made it too hard. 2) If your child gets obsessive and keeps stalling due to perfectionist qualities, set a timer for a certain amount of time and score the same way. Keep the emphasis in this case on amount completed.
2. Take only a 20-30 break after school, and only if necessary. A lot of families let kids play for a few hours and then try to get it done in the evening, when it’s extra hard to shift gears, which makes for tears!
3. Keep time period reasonable and realistic -Figure out grade-wise what the amount of homework is supposed to be (in hours), then the amount of time you think your child can handle before going into a meltdown. Some kids are so exhausted from holding it together at school that they really have nothing left! In these cases with my patients, I fully support them being able to play and relax after school and sometimes even write letters to school personnel. This can be done without a formal IEP or 504, but it’s a lot harder without a legal plan in writing. There’s not much evidence that homework does any good beyond learning to read and solidifying facts like multiplication tables, and forcing a stressed child to do homework is counterproductive.

4. Use Sensory Motor tricks– tie an exercise band around the front legs of your child’s chair. They can press and pull the band with their feet or lower legs, which provides organizing sensory input. You can also try an exercise ball for them to sit on. Some kids even do better standing up. Experiment and see what works.

5. Create a Productice Environment- ideally, you want a completely plain room and desk with NOTHING for them to look at besides their work, and some white noise or classical music playing softly. Other kids yelling and running around is not conducive to concentrating! Have a healthy snack like nuts or celery and cream cheese. Chewing can be another organizing sensory trick.

6. Get a tutor or homework buddy– the tutor doesn’t have to be a genius, just someone who your child likes and responds to, who is calm and responsible. Kids take better direction from almost ANYONE other than mom or dad!

7. Break it down- do this for the entire homework assignment, then each subject-into steps.  Check them off when completed.  This prevents overwhelm and helps them focus on one assignment at a time.

Kids spend minimum 7-8 hours a day at school. Their time at home with you should not be torture!!