Category: Parenting

Pavlov’s Tween: Why Adolescence is the Perfect Time to do Brain Training

New research published in Nature Communications has found that adolescents’ brains react more responsively to receiving rewards. (If you’re curious, the World Health Organization defines adolescence as the period between the ages of 10 and 19.)

Although this strong reward system can lead to risky behavior, it can also be used to make learning easier. It’s something that we at LearningRx have been putting to work in our personal brain training programs for decades. Read more here:

3 Ways to Boost Your Child’s Self-Esteem

February is International Boost Self-Esteem Month

3 Ways to Boost Your Child’s Self-Esteem

Do you have a son who is so incredibly shy that the first day of school is enough to wreak havoc on his digestive tract? Or a daughter who you worry won’t make friends due to her constant fear of meeting new people? If so, you’re not alone.

While some scientists may argue that shyness is often due to genetic predisposition, many psychologists will point to strong experiential factors. The first may bring up some feelings of empathy; if you were a shy child there’s always the possibility that some of that was passed down. The latter of the two can often be explained by past experiences of rejection or fears of future failure.

But there is good news. For children and teens who suffer from shyness, there are three major steps that parents can take to help:

New Year, New Student!

Start the year off right with improved study habits

Returning to school after the long holiday break can be tough, but now is the time to set routines that will stick for the rest of the school year. If your child is struggling in school, it’s possible that stronger study skills could make a difference in his or hearing learning success. There are ways you can help your child develop more effective study habits.

Encourage your child to put the following suggestions into practice:

Set daily and weekly goals.Help your child developdaily and weekly plans, as well as ways to measure their success. Write these goals down, either on paper or digitally.Here are some examples of questions your child should ask himself on a regular basis:

  • “What do I want to accomplish this week?”
  • “What are my goals for today?”
  • “Did I meet yesterday’s goals?”
  • “What kept me from meeting those goals?”
  • “What can I do differently today to help me better meet my goals?”

Stop multitasking.Is your childstuck at the kitchen table for hours trying to study while checking Facebook,texting friends, or making multiple trips to the kitchen for snacks? If so, your child is training his or her brain to dawdle. Instead, show your child how to teach his or her brain to work hard for set periods of time. One way to do this is to use a timer. Start by having your child turnoff any mobile devices and close distracting browsers. (You might also have your child finish any snacking so he or she can focus fully on studying.) Then set the timer and get started. When that timed session is over, have your child take a break. After the break, set the timer again and dive in. If at first all your child can do is fifteen minutes at a stretch, that’s fine—build up over time. The point is training your child’s brain to study, not dawdle.

Choose a couple of good study habits and practice them for a month. Experts in the formation of new and lasting habits suggest committing to two or three desired changes for a period of a month. Focusing on a few changes over the course of thirty days allows time and practice for that new change to become an integrated part of your routine. In other words, if you want help your child develop better study habits, have him pick two or three habits he wants to develop, and focus on making them an integral part of his study protocol for 30 days.

Take better notes in class.When a child sits down to study and discovers that his or her class notes are incomplete or difficult to follow, that child is simply not going to be able to accomplish what he or she needs to accomplish. Encourage your child to take complete and legible notes in class. You might start by reviewing current class notes and making suggestion on how they could be improved. Some experts say a great study tip is to rewrite class notes at home. Those notes will not only be better organized and easier to follow, the repetition will make remembering the concepts easier.

Train the skills your child’s brain uses to think and learn.Something else you can do as a parent is enroll your child in a cognitive training program. Cognitive skills are the core skills your child’s brain uses to think and learn, and when these skills are strong,learning is easier.

LearningRx is a brain training company with more than 80 centers across the United States. LearningRx uses intense mental exercise done one-on-one with a personal brain trainer to strengthen cognitive skills. These skills include attention, long and short-term memory, auditory processing, visual processing, processing speed, and logic & reasoning.

LearningRx helps children and adults of all ages. To find out if LearningRx brain training can help your child learn faster and easier, contact a LearningRx brain training center near you.

“This is Too Hard!” 5 ways to help a child with a learning disability


It’s painful watching your child struggle in school, but there are things you can do to help. Find out how to turn “This is too hard!” to “I can do this!” with these 5 tips.

  1. Remind them that even very smart kids can have a learning disability; it’s not necessary an indication of intelligence. Explain that Albert Einstein had ADHD and Thomas Edison had dyslexia and look how brilliant they were!
  2. Enroll them in personal brain training. Most learning disabilities are due to weak cognitive skills. If weak cognitive skills are, indeed, causing your child to struggle, that’s actually good news because there is something you can do about it: weak skills can be strengthened. One-on-one brain training provides a way to strengthen the core skills the brain uses to think and perform. And because every brain training program is customized, even extremely smart kids can benefit from brain training. LearningRx brain trainers work with clients of all ages about five hours a week, for 12 to 32 weeks, depending on the program. Workout sessions are customized to meet the individual objectives—and strengthen weak skills—unique to each client. And because workouts consist of game-like mental exercises, clients of all ages typically enjoy the experience.
  3. Make decisions based on facts, not assumptions. Many parents mistakenly believe that learning disabilities, such as dyslexia, are a lifelong label, or that some kids are genetically destined to always be bad at math. These are myths that can keep parents from seeking out help.
  4.  Don’t give up! At LearningRx, we hear time and time again about parents who put their child in tutoring with little to no results. That’s because tutoring is a great solution when there is an identifiable, external reason that a student did not grasp classroom content the first time it was presented in class. Perhaps a child was sick or on vacation, or a relocation in the middle of the school year created a gap in curriculum. It’s also possible that something (like an extended illness or pregnancy) impacted the consistent delivery of material. The point is, when something has interfered with the delivery of content to your child, hiring a tutor to reteach that content makes sense. On the other hand, brain training does not reteach missed content, but instead exercises and strengthens the basic skills the brain uses to think, learn, and perform. In other words, brain training improves the way the brain grasps information the first time it is presented. So, if your child is struggling in more than one class, or struggling year after year, weak cognitive skills may be to blame. And if they are, brain training can strengthen those skills.
  5. Start with baby steps. You don’t need to figure everything out at once. Begin by taking one or two small actions to get the ball rolling. Talk to your child’s teacher about specific issues your child displays, such as speaking out of turn, difficulty staying organized or taking longer than most students to complete tests. Call your local LearningRx to schedule a cognitive skills assessment. The one-hour assessment will provide a detailed look at your child’s individual cognitive strengths and weaknesses, and will give you invaluable information you need in order to decide on the next best step to help your child.

Are We There Yet?

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10 Brain-boosting games travel games—under $10

Tired of hearing, “Are we there yet?” Prepare for the inevitable boredom that comes with a long car ride by stocking up on these brain-boosting travel games. Best of all, they’re all under $10!

  1. Travel Scavenger Hunt Card Game ($6.55 on

This pack of 54 scavenger hunt cards has kids looking for things like a red car, a stop sign, or a license plate with the letter Z.

Ages: 6+

Cognitive skills: attention, visual processing, processing speed

  1. Hangman – Take ‘N’ Play Anywhere ($9.99 on

The classic game is portable, thanks to magnetic letters and body parts.

Ages: 5+

Cognitive skills: auditory processing, logic & reasoning, attention, visual processing


  1. Rory’s Story Cubes ($9.76 on

A pocket-sized creative story generator for all imaginations!

Ages: 8+

Cognitive skills: problem-solving, logic & reasoning, creativity, visual processing


  1. Set Game ($6.95 on

Players review images on dealt cards for logical sets.

Ages: 4+

Cognitive skills: sequential thinking, processing speed, visual processing


  1. Magnetic Chess ($7.49 on

Take your rooks on the road, thanks to the power of magnets!

Ages: 8+

Cognitive skills: visual processing, strategy, planning, analysis, attention


  1. Battleship – Travel Edition ($7.99 on

This classic game teaches kids to narrow down where their opponent has put their battleships.

Ages: 7+

Cognitive skills: analysis skills, visual processing, logic & reasoning, attention


  1. My Word! ($5.98 on

Players search dealt cards and call out words using at least three cards.

Ages: 7+

Cognitive skills: sound blending and segmenting, sequential thinking, word analysis, visual processing, processing speed


  1. Sequence ($9.99 on

If you like the regular version of this strategy game, you’ll love the convenience of the travel version!

Ages: 7+

Cognitive skills: logic & reasoning, planning, problem solving, sequential processing, working memory, visual processing


  1. Rubik’s Cube ($7.48 on

Align the colors on the cubes so every side matches.

Ages: 8+

Cognitive skills: visual processing, attention, problem solving, deductive reasoning, strategy


  1. 15 Puzzle ($4.42 at

Just scramble the puzzle, then try to slide the numbers back in order.

Ages: 8+

Cognitive skills: memory, attention, planning, visual processing

Look for games that are appropriate for your child’s age, as well as any cognitive weaknesses of which you’re aware. You’ll know they’re learning, but they’ll just think they’re having fun!