The human brain needs both hemispheres working in conjunction with each other to obtain optimal functioning and balance. When the brain’s hemispheres are not in balance, many issues can occur including problems with motor skills, the digestive system, mental processing, and much more.
For anyone, especially a child, to function properly, their brain must be as balanced as possible. Dr. Robert Melillo, a respected authority in neuropsychology and neurobehavioral disorders in children, offers some suggestions in this arena. First and foremost, he notes that parents should strive to find the location of the imbalance. Many doctors or psychologists can assist in locating the source of imbalance. See the image below for Dr. Melillo’s findings.
Methods of Balancing the Brain’s Hemispheres
When the source of imbalance has been discovered, Dr. Melillo and former school psychologist, Sherianna Boyle have offered some concrete examples of how to work with balancing the brain’s hemispheres.
Crossing the Middle
Take part in movements and games which require the child to cross over the centerline of his or her body. An example would be a marching game. Put on some music and have your child march raising their knees high. When they raise their left knee, have them reach their right arm across to touch their left knee and vice versa.
Going Cross Eyed
Dr. Melillo suggests pencil push ups. With this exercise, hold a pencil in front of the child's nose far enough away that he doesn’t see double but close enough that it requires a strong sense of focus. Then, gradually move the pencil forward having the child indicate when he or she views two pencils. Now, ask him or her to concentrate until he or she sees only one pencil.
Be Like Spongebob . . . Use Your IMAGINATION
Encourage the child to create a wonderful world of fiction. Ask the child to make this world as descriptive and full of life, as possible. Create a story with amazing characters and events. Let the child take you on a journey. This form of activity assists the child in developing his or her right brain.
An outstanding activity to enhance brain balance is juggling. The reasoning is because juggling demands efficient focus and motor skill coordination. This also requires the child to concentrate on objects that cross from one side of the body to the other.
Let’s Get Physical
If it requires physical exertion, it can help a child’s brain to develop properly. Play some football. Throw a baseball. Go for a jog. Take a swim. You name it, it can help. Exercise is an an energy booster and gets the blood flowing to all parts of the body and encourages the brain to be active enhancing balance.
Play a simple game called “what if?” What if the world was indeed flat? What if we had a lion for a pet? What if we traveled with a circus? Ask any creative question you can think of to engage your child in thinking outside of the box. Beyond the creative thinking aspect, this game requires the child to utilize language skills to develop a story; so while the right side of the brain is busy being creative, the left side is also being used to take command of language skills.
Get Flexible with Yoga
Beyond the physical benefits of movement, yoga requires concentration on various breathing techniques. Since breathing is what allows oxygen to get to your brain, yoga simply enables the child’s brain functioning to get a needed boost.
Make a List
This task is seemingly simple. Ask the child to list as many words that he or she can think of that begin with a particular letter. Give a specific time limit for this challenge (i.e. one minute). Keep a score of the amount of words the child is able to produce. You can also add a competitive edge to the game, by seeing if the child can improve on their performance.
Let Out Your Inner Artist
Encourage the child to be creative: pottery, painting, drawing, origami, etc. Art encourages the brain to fire on all cylinders to create something that only the mind can imagine.
While there are other activities that can certainly enhance a child’s brain balance, this list is a good starting point to begin the leveling process. Over time your child should show a more positive outlook, improved moods, increased focus abilities, improved motor skills, and an overall improvement in functioning.
Evans, Jasmine. "Brain Balance: Tips for a 'Full-Brain' Workout." Education.com. N.p., n.d. Web. 12 Dec. 2013. <http://www.education.com/magazine/article/brain-balance/>.