A few months ago, I received a review copy of the book Brain Rules: 12 Principles for Surviving and Thriving at Work, Home and School by John Medina. It has been sitting on my coffee table since then, waiting to be read. Waiting, while I rushed around, distracted by the details of life with kids.
I finally sat down last night to read it, and I couldn't put it down. Medina, a molecular biologist and brain researcher, is so excited about the subject (obviously his passion) that the energy of his writing leaps out a grabs hold. He also embodies that rare combination of scientist and storyteller, so he can distill complicated biological and atomic processes into accessible metaphors without insulting his readers' intelligence.
In this book, Medina provides twelve "rules" that explain how and why the brain thrives under certain conditions (most of which are the polar opposites of American school and workaday culture). He shares the evolutionary roots of the brain's functions, and he ends the discussion of each rule with a practical application in modern life. This is no "Mozart effect" mumbo-jumbo; he's not promising "super genius in 12 easy steps." He's simply pointing out the basic changes we can make in our daily lives that will help our brains do what they were designed to do.
You'll come away feeling differently about your own quirks and habits, but you'll also think about your kids' development and educations in a completely new way. Prioritizing exercise over homework, for example, may be the smart choice for strengthening their growing brains. (I'm not suggesting homework be abandoned, but, in terms of learning, exercise has been shown to be so much more important.) You also might come up with new, brain-friendly strategies for teaching your kids tasks they often forget. The book stirs up so many possibilities, it's impossible not to get excited.
Ironically, I came away with a new understanding of why I'm often so distracted (Medina explains that the brain is literally incapable of multitasking). Those of us struggling with "parent brain" (likely the majority of us) would do well to read this book.
Brain Rules would make an excellent gift for just about anyone. To find out more, read the book's Amazon page (the reviews are fascinating) or check out Brainrules.net.
Win it! A little bonus for my weekend readers! One randomly-chosen Parenthacker will win a copy of Brain Rules. To enter, leave a comment sharing your tips for clearing the brain fog, or a strategy you use to help your kids learn something new. I'll choose a winner tomorrow (Sunday, 12/7/08) at 5pm. Good luck!
Spin him right round, baby, right round
"Active resting" clears your parent brain
Getting organized: Start with your brain, sort of
Rabia Lieber says
OOOH! I love brain research! (nerd, I know). I try to stimulate my brain by doing Sudoku and now KenKen puzzles. When it somes to teaching my kids anything new, I sing it, show it, dance and make them do it. Trying to connect with as many different kinds of learning as I can. As for Mommy brain, I wish I knew the cure!!
Heather G says
Sounds like an interesting book!
To help my boys learn new things I present them in a variety of ways. When working on letter identification we find letters in books, listen to them being sung while pointing them out, trace them on sandpaper, write them, and do all sorts of other games with letters. They love it and don’t even realize they are learning!
I would love to read this book! I’m very interested in helping my daughter to learn to the best of her ability, and it sounds like this book would help explain some basic concepts. Thanks for the giveaway!
My favorite strategy for clearing my head is to close my eyes and just breathe. and breathe
List, lists, lists, and more lists!
I think what I do to help my kids learn is to show enthusiasm for learning. I always ask “why” questions, and listen to whatever answer they give (after all, there is comedy gold in there).
For me, when I’m feeling foggy, I usually eat or drink something. I find I’m less tired when I’m drinking enough water.
To clear the brain fog (or frain bog): Caffeine. To help my son learn something new: I give him perspective (my own) about how I made sense of the world when I was six-years old (his age). My approach to parenting for him is being a guide for the choices he can make. If this fails, I have him help me with my business in small ways to get his brain working a little differently.
This books sounds really interesting. I used to go for a run to clear my head, but that was before knee injuries and kids. I’m still trying to find something as good to replace running. A long, uninterrupted hot shower sometimes helps.
Frank Barrett says
I revert to my Army days and make my kids (5 and 4) do push-ups. If they continually miss a math problem or word when reading, they push. The 4 year-old is able to knock out almost 20 at a time now and it gets them energized. Mind you, I’m not in their faces yelling to do push-ups, but all I have to say is “Push” and they drop. They don’t do them alone either, because it never hurts Dad to do any.
Katie A says
The only way I survive, with two children and one on the way, is to write everything down. If I plan to fold laundry or go to the store, it gets written down in my little notebook. An added bonus is that it feels so good to cross the finished item off.
Robert in SF says
I clear my brain fog by changing my physical environment and going to someplace new with few if any associations with the problem/task I am trying to get done.
For instance, writing a report in Starbucks, or at the cafeteria. Sometimes the white noise around you allows you to not be distracted by relevant or interesting conversations and almost forces you to focus.
we use lists and leave notes around the house to remind us to do certain things. for learning new material, the act of writing it down helps my boys. i also get them to discuss it with me. trying to explain it reinforces their knowledge of the subject. good, old fashioned flash cards work for rote memory stuff. we keep them on the kitchen table and flip thru them during meals. also take them in car to practice.
If I can get to a quiet space, a few minutes of mediation is almost as good as a nap. If I can’t get quiet, I shift my focus to something that I need to do that doesn’t take a lot of brain work, and has a distinct end point. Getting a quickie job out of the way provides a distraction from the problem and gives me a feeling of accomplishment.
And of course, nothing beats a good night’s sleep, if you can get it.
Ooh, this sounds fascinating! The best thing for clearing my head is a combination of exercise and fresh air, so when I’m feeling really mommy-brained, I stick the boy in the jogging stroller and head out for a quick run. If I plan the run to end at our favorite donut place (which I do way more than I maybe should…), it gives him something to look forward to as well!
Powernap. 20 minutes (if you can find it) make a huge difference. But be careful not to oversleep. Sleep too long and you’ll feel groggier.
Lists are good and best to keep them all in one place and link them to your calendar. I use Evernote and Google. (Both are free!)
Getting enough sleep works wonders, or caffeine when you don’t, unfortunately.
Mary A says
This looks like a really interesting book. My little guy is still in the stage where I just do things in hopes that he will eventually repeat what I do. Thanks for the giveaway.
I would geek out on this book! :>) I find I’m less foggy if I can get to bed a bit earlier, since the little one is up with the chickens regardless of anything so there’s no sleeping in around here.
Oh! I really want to read this book.
To help my children learn something new I mostly use repetition, giving them opportunities to repeat back to me or teach another sibling. We’ve also written “books” detailing the new info. And for learning their address and phone number, a made-up song is just the trick.
My little boy is only 3, but every night before bed we have our “talk about stuff” time. It’s after he gets tucked in, and he has the opportunity to just bring up random subjects to talk about. Usually about the stars and the moon, or something that happened that day. Anyway, he asks questions because he’s not distracted by everything going on during the day, and he’s not darting off to play anywhere. I have an opportunity to bring up subjects too, so he really absorbs what we talk about.
To help kids learn something new – make it fun! Sing silly songs, turn it into a game…
I really enjoy the idea of ‘brainhacking’, and I try to use it on myself as often as possible (and on my husband when he’s not looking). This book seems like a good place to look for/dream up new brain hacks to fit my ever changing life as a parent.
As others have mentioned already, I make lists when I need to focus on activities or tasks. I go beyond simply noting items, however, and combine the list with a meditation or preplanning of the day before it starts. If I combine intention with a cataloging of my goals for the day, I find it easier to return to whatever I was doing when I was last interrupted. With an 8 month old just learning to walk, I would get very little done without something to help me re-focus!
I’m also a list lover. That’s the only way I work. And, I’m a new convert to binders. I used to use files, but things just get forgotten. So, I put everything in binders: notes, notes home from school, recipes, plans for my website, fliers for pizza… I have the binders on a shelf in the kitchen next to the computer. It is the best way I keep organized and productive.
You need to review _The Mommy Brain_, sort of related (at least in how society and culture don’t really let us function at our best, brain-wise).
Thanks for the book tip!
Archivist Alison says
When I’m feeling that brain fog, I have learned that it is a signal that I actually HAVE NO IDEA WHAT I’M DOING. I’m flailing around and have no clear path…or maybe no clear goal.
So, I take a minute to remind myself what I’m doing. And then I actually figure out how I’m going to do it. And then I do it.
I’d say it works maybe 75% of the time. The other 25%, I’m either too tired to be doing what I’m doing or I so don’t want to do it, that I have to figure out if there’s a better time to complete the current task.
James E. Robinson, III says
Gotta clear the head? More coffee, of course!
At the end of every day I like to make a SHORT mental list of the things I accomplished that day and what I would like to accomplish the next day. A SHORT list makes it less stressful – only 3 things usually. Some days it’s just that I took a shower! With very young babies that’s an accomplishment in itself.
I would love to raed this book.
If I feel frazzled and distracted, I get some water and a protein snack, 2 things I can low on during the day.
The best way I’ve found to de-fog my brain is to write things down. I’m a huge fan of lists. I rely heavily on my calendar and grocery list. Thanks!
With a two month old, I find the best thing for me lately is to just stop and take a deep breath (or five or ten) when I think I’m about to go nuts. It helps me remember why I walked into the room or what I was about to do. And, my lists! Of course, I have to actually look at my lists too though, there’s where that idea can fall short.
andrea from the fishbowl says
Oooh, I love this. My brain could use it for sure.
To keep my brain cells a little more limber I help my kids with their homework (grade four math can be challenging!) and play lots of tetris on the Wii. 🙂
I find I have to write everything down and leave paper and a pen in everyroom. If I write down something I need to do or pick up, then I don’t have to remember it and it clears my head a bit. I’ve been doing it for the past few months, and has really been helping me. I just need to find a way to take a pen and paper in the shower, since that is where I remember the most things!
Ooh! This book sounds fascinating to me. I will cross my fingers that I win… and if I don’t, this book is going on my wish list.
I wish I had some good strategies for clearing brain fog! With my kids – I homeschool, and I’ve definitely seen how sometimes shaking off an activity or doing it in a completely different way (memorizing times tables while playing catch) helps enormously.
Regina B says
When I need to clear my head, the quickest thing I can do is simply move around and/or get some fresh air. When that’s not possible, I let my mind wander a bit, and then remind myself to re-focus. If that fails, I’m just not meant to do what I’m doing at the moment and leave it be.
I write it down. Get it out of my head.
When my brain gets super cluttered, there are two ways I’ve found to cut through it all: yoga (if I have the privilege of spending 2 hours by myself) or cooking (with the kids, if we’re hanging out together.
For the kids, it’s about stopping the chaos, focusing on one thing at a time, and making it fun.
STL Mom says
I find that creativity is a great cure for brain fog. I’m taking an oil-painting class, and I feel clearer for at least a day after the class.
Now if I could just carve out some time to paint at home, I could get the benefits more often.
I gave up multitasking a long time ago. I thought of myself pretty special to be able to do at least 4 things at once, until I went into a tailspin depression. That’s when I learned that I needed to figure out my priorities and not have everything my priority. My family comes first, everything else is just fluff. Now, I’m happier which makes for a more harmonious home. As ‘they’ say, “If momma ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy”.
Toaster Mom says
This book sounds so very interesting and I can’t wait to read it!
When my brain is foggy – my best remedy is to brew up a cup of nice tea, go into my office and close the door – then make a list of everything I need to do. The tea is calming, and the list helps me feel like I’m not going to forget anything! Plus, nothing better than crossing something off your list (or better yet, reviewing a list with tons of things already crossed off!)
For teaching your kids – when my son was about 2 1/2 – 3, we used to read the Magic School Bus books. He loved them, and had a lot of fun acting them out. I still remember the Outer Space book where we would get in the space ship, then land on a planet and act out what we felt on that planet. Venus – lots of coughing and wheezing due to the toxic atmosphere, also very hot! Mars – red and random dust storms that would make us flee from the living room back to the stairs (where our spaceship was located). I think at a young age having kids act out what they are learning uses multiple parts of their brain and makes it easy to relate to the topic and helps them remember too!
Alice S says
I keep LOTS of lists! I would love to win this book.
Here’s how I clear a brain fog. Usually, it happens when I’m trying to keep too much stuff in my head. So I spend about five minutes making lists — stuff we need from the grocery store, chores to do, questions I have for my husband about miscellaneous mundane stuff, dates and times of events I’m keeping track of — whatever I am keeping in my head, I put it down on paper. It gives me the same feeling as setting down some heavy bags — my mental load is instantly lighter and I feel like I am ready to take on new tasks and new information again.
That book looks swell. If I don’t win, I need to check it out!
I’m a list maker as well. And if I’m feeling particularly foggy, a 10 minute walk usually clears me right up.
If I don’t write it down, it doesn’t happen! My old brain just won’t retain everything! 😉
For me, journaling is the key to keeping my mind focused on what’s really important. This book sounds terrific!
Parent Hacks Editor says
Liss: I have been meaning to read “The Mommy Brain” for some time. It’s on my wish list — perhaps I’ll get lucky at Hanukkah time this year! Did you enjoy the book?
That sounds like a great book.
A little protein is a great way for me to perk back up.
I would use song or movement to help students learn before I became a stay at home mommy.
Amy B. says
The thing that straightens me out best is a 20 minute nap. Next question: how often do I get to do that? Sadly, almost never.
oh, pick me, pick me. I obviously don’t have any really good tips for clearing brain fog (as I seem to live perpetually in it!) with the exception of always having a list & trying (futile, I know) to not multitask! I would use this book to help myself & our daughter…and to prove to my partner once & for all that she really cannot multitask, despite her belief that she can!
What an interesting sounding book. My daughter is only 14 months old but I have found that she learns very well by watching. And like many others I will take a deep breath and try and clear my mind. I was also told that Rosemary helps stimulate brain waves so every once in a while, when I need a breather, I will step outside and enjoy my rosemary.
I was a lab geek before I had kids, and I love books that bring scientific principles into real life.
My tip for learning – sing, rhyme, make up funny stories. Anything to keep it fun and interesting.
If I just have 20 minutes, a run will do it even though I’m not a runner.
If I have two hours, a soak in some hot springs (I live in NM) or the hot tub at the local spa followed by some minutes in the spa meditation room.
If none of that cures fogginess, then I go for a night of total obliteration (sans kids)which sure, increases brain fogginess in the moment, but once you recover from the hangover, the previous brain fog feels like nothing in comparison.
Amy Jo says
I make up a song to help my kids remember things! I kind sing a little too much in real life, but in this instance it comes in handy!
When I started back to grad school (at age 50!) I quickly discovered that the only way I’d make it was if I did exercise before trying to study. I was more focused, and things just made more sense.
Parent brain is a huge problem for me! I wish I knew what to do with it. When I was at work and needed to get a fresh perspective or get the creative juices going I would go for a brisk walk (no cell, no music) and just let my brain rest.
Writing out a list of what I need to do, or updating our calendar (by hand…electronic versions never do the same thing) always helps focus me and lifts the brain fog.
Mark P says
Sounds like a killer read. I always try to do things differently than inertia would have me do them. Example: I normally wash with my right hand but I’ll force myself to use my left. I normally hold the phone with my left hand so I’ll force myself to use the right for a day. I try to encourage the kids to use the same concept. Now if I can only get them to use either hand to clean up I’m golden.
Sarah N. says
This books sounds fantastic. To help myself remember things I have to write everything down no matter how small. I try to keep a notebook near me at all times. One way I help my daughter learn is to try to relate it to something familiar. For example when we were working on learning our address I reminded her that the My Little Ponies live in Ponyville but we live in Asheville.
Jaclyn S. says
The book sounds fascinating! Thanks for the recommendation. When I lived in Los Angeles, I would sit by the ocean to clear my head. I moved to Atlanta recently and have yet to find anything that centers me as well and as quickly as good old ocean air.
Great giveaway idea!
If I need to clear my head, I take 10 minutes for something I enjoy. If I have the luxury of reading I do that. If not, belting out songs with my child is a great strategy.
To teach something to my child, I use a variety of strategies. I might write it, sing it, demonstrate it, or some combination thereof.
Ohhh… I hope I win. I have heard great things about this book.
The best way to clear my brain fog is going to an exercise class. My favorites are kickboxing and yoga. Exercise classes require so much focus that the brain fog clears and I can get my bearings again.
One little trick we use with our toddler is to put things we want her to know into her little “cell phone”. It’s a toy phone that records about 10 seconds of sound. It’s in a familiar voice, so she likes playing it over and over again. I’ll put some counting in it or part of the abc’s… or just tell her I love her, etc. She plays with it in her bed, the car, wherever… and can’t help but get the “facts” stuck in her head. 🙂
Easiest way to get kids to remember anything? Put it to music. (Our whole family knows the 50 states in alphabetical order because of this trick! Useless, but fun!)
And for mommy brain, my only cure is to get out without my kids once in a while so I can actually have a conversation and pay complete attention!
This book sounds great. To clear my head or concentrate better, I often move to a different room with less noise.
As someone with two kids, two jobs, and an unwritten dissertation, I suffer from a lot of multitasking related mental issues. The biggest brain clearer for me is a long hot shower. Just when I think I’m unable to string together another comprehensive thought, I take a break, take a shower, and feel so much more centered and able to focus once I allow myself relax that way.
Sounds fascinating. I’d love to read it!
If I want my kids to learn something, I make it into a song. Our home phone and address were a snap to learn as a ‘jingle.’
the only way I can clear my head fog is sleep, sweet sweet sleep
We knock on the tablet to help our four year old learn things. It started to teach him correct pronunciation (how many syllables in a word) and is working for our phone number and address.
Brain fog is usually only clearable by exercise, or sleep.
To teach something new, I ususally draw a comic of it.
Obviously, I am in a brain fog right now…:)
My quick and easy brain fog cure is actually hanging upside down. No clue why it works or even where I got the idea, but I’ve been doing this with great success since I was about 8 years old.
Rinda Goff says
I write it all down in a messy heap on normal computer paper (no-lines) and then break it in to subjects, and if I need to do something about it, I get it on my to-do list.
If not I think through it (usually with a journal) and then let it go.
I scratch off each area as I deal with it and then tear up the sheets and trow it away!
Clearing the Brain Fog: Going to a coffee shop with the iPod loaded up with tunes and a bag loaded up with some knitting.
Teaching the Kids Something New: As many of the commenters have noted, too, I also like to approach what we are working on in loads of different angles/methods. If we are working on the alphabet, we sing, read, and write (Magnadoodle, dry/erase, crayon, pen). I have found just being in the car is great because we are all focused and not distracted. So, if we are working on letters, we will sing or I will point out letters on signs, etc.
Sounds like a fascinating book! Pick me! When teaching something new, I find it’s important to follow the me-we-thee approach of showing how, doing it together with me leading, doing it together with her leading, and then letting her do it herself.
David M. says
That book sounds very interesting. Please enter me into the random contest to win it. My methods of clearing brain fog are to go outside and take a walk and if my To Do list is getting too long, I try to make smaller lists of the more important items.
Clearing the Brain Fog: Sleep!
I find going for a run helps clear a brain fog. With three little ones this isn’t always possible though! I find singing helps my little ones learn something new. We like to make up songs and jingles, fun too!
It may be strange, but when I was in college I used to study in noisy areas in order to block out everything and focus. If I studied in the library I would inevitably be distracted by the small noises or movement in the area. I find the best way to teach my 2 year old is by example. He loves copying what I’m doing so if I want him to do something I make sure he’s watching me do it. Similar to Mike in the previous post.
Autumn Zobrist says
My favorite way to clear my mind is to do one of my 20-minute Yoga sessions on DVD from Yoga Zone. They’re easy and relaxing. Exercise and breathing deeply and rhythmically get my mind cleared and energized.
before my daughter was born, i rode my motorcycle to clear my brain because it requires complete concentration and one really can’t think about much else. now that i have a daughter, i do a lot of Sudoku. Not as thrilling, but effective in its own way.
To clear the fog I do a morning brain dump on paper ( I write a list), sometimes a evening one instead when I’m thinking of all the things I didn’t get to do that day and things I can forget, it all gets to crazy but if I write them down all down it makes way for peace and calm and gives me room for some creativity. Mindmapping is also useful!
aimee c. says
a tip for clearing brain fog…a night out with friends. without the kid(s). it’s so lovely and recharges the brain that is often overloaded with all child things.
When I go running 3-4 times a week with my son in the stroller, I don’t take along any music, and I just let my mind wander and jump around. I find that this lets me process through things, and sometimes I remember or come up with things that are a surprise. My run Thursday morning resulted in two Christmas gift ideas for family. When we got home I wrote them down, leaving less fog and more room in my brain!
S to the M says
What an awesome find! It’s on my Amazon wishlist now (hint hint, hubby!).
For me, I try to clear my mind with literal meditation. Even a couple minutes of solitude, quietly having a moment to myself can do wonders for my brain.
aromatherapy (lavender oil or simmering hot cider on the stove or inhaling green jasmine tea) and deep breathing calm me, which in turn helps clear my mind, but the best is giving my brain clutter over to God by praying for clarity and peace, trusting Him to work everything for good
Drink a glass of water!
Miss Five says
It’s all about music for me – either associating a specific idea with music or creating a soundtrack for that learning experience. Even if it’s just a “working” playlist, that simple addition helps to focus.
With my toddler I say it, show it, model it to help his brain connect to the idea.
With me, I write it down or sometimes say it outloud to remember something or to clear an idea for the moment so I can move on. Also, deep breathing helps clear the fog sometimes.
I’m a list maker, because I’ve found that writing stuff down really does help me remember it, even if I lose the list itself.
I can’t wait to read this book–even if I don’t win it, I’ll be putting it on hold at the library.
That looks like a great book.
A few minutes of exercise every morning does wonders for keeping me alert all day. About 10 minutes of good cardio is all it takes to keep me on my toes more than usual.
Michelle Cowden says
Going outside to spend time with nature is a sure way to clear brain fog. It can also serve as a way to learn something new. I think nature is a cure all for just about anything, really.
I have fibromyalgia, so ‘brain fog’ is something I have to have contingency plans for every day. My best trick for getting rid of it? Do something that makes me laugh. I might put on music and dance with my kids, or put them down for nap a little early and do some FMT (Funny Movie Therapy)! When all else fails, I call a girlfriend who I know will put a smile on my face. 🙂
Shana Smith says
I try to exercise my brain as much as possible…I have two friends at work that help out with this. Every year for almost 10 years now, we’ve gone in on one of those daily calendars that ask trivia type questions (we’ve done Jeopardy, Trivial Pursuit, brain teasers, etc.) – we “play” against each other and it challenges our brains at least once a day!
Monera Mason says
Bike ride always clears my head, and heart(if I am holding onto anger or sadness).
We are a Montessori family so when we want to teach something new we present and if they are interested then they can choose to pursue the lesson further.
Kelly K. says
My cure for brain fog is to splash cold water on my face. Naps would work better, but with two kiddies, I can’t always get the chance.
I am going to read this book because I don’t have a good answer on the brain fog. I do a couple of Sudoku puzzles on paper when I want to calm down though, and it seems to work.
For teaching kids – learn by doing. Give them the opportunity to experiment and/or observe. Let them come to the conclusion/perspective/lesson you want to teach. If you point out that other kids hold their parent’s hand when they cross the street, she will eventually reach out for you hand at street corners.
For me, it’s lists, lists and more lists….so I am never worried that I have forgotten something
I’d love to win a copy of the book…sounds like my kinda reading
Will I feel better about my quirks an habits? I love reading about how our brain works.
Electronic lists and calendars – I can’t live without them.
When an idea of something I need to do interrupts my work, I just put it right into my to-do list on my computer, and then I can forget about it. Every night or two, I take the to-do list and schedule each item into the calendar, or, if it takes 10 minutes or less, do it right then.
kim/hormone-colored days says
It’s possible to clear brainfog? I do find that getting myself to bed at a reasonable hour can make a big difference in how clear my head is.
Sounds like a great book; thanks for sharing.
Exercise helps me keep from getting too foggy in the head. I’m curious to read this book though because my son is starting to try and figure out the way the world works (he’s 18 months, so it’s very basic), and I’d love ways to help guide his brain.
Making up songs about the task (order in which to do, ect) seems to help my sons. Plus, I just love hearing them sing.
For me: I take a few minutes in a bath, or if I don’t have that much time, I just sit for a minute of so with my eyes closed and breathing calmly.
Ways to learn for kids…… Making it into a game, that almost always gets them learning better.
To clear the fog I find it helpful to get out of the apartment and go for a walk. The toddler loves it and we both end up very happy.
Lists and having my calendar always open at my desk help me plan for school, the toddler, and other fun stuff.
I’d love to read this!
Sadly, my best brain-fog lifter is a good strong cup of joe. (Not the healthiest habit, but one that does the job quickly and with pleasure for me.)
To clear my brain fog, I do one of two things…sit on the floor and play with the kids, transformers and all; or dessert in bed (time of day doesn’t matter)! With 2 boys and one on the way, sometimes snuggling into Momma’s bed with cookies, toasty milk and a cartoon are all we need to refresh!
david sellers says
i usually take a mug of green tea and a quick 15-20min nap to clear the brain.
I clear the brain fog with a hot bath and a good book. I come out of it so relaxed and unwound that I am ready to tackle life’s little complications. If I win this book I will read it while clearing the brain fog and then I will fog the brain back up with interesting and important brain function information. lol 🙂
I don’t have any particular trick aside from trying really hard to get adequate sleep – nothing works right without sleep.
We use the ‘rule of 1000’ with our son. We give ~1000 informal repetitions of a new concept before we begin to see the concept adopted. This is a generalization – but has been shown to be true in our case for issues like ‘inside voice’ and ‘use a handkerchief instead of picking you nose.’
I try to let my son’s natural curiosity springboard us into learning. I’ve noticed that trying to stuff things into his brain is about as successful an endeavor as getting him to eat something he doesn’t want to try. We’re all curious about the world around us, and can make amazing connections that way. A simple, “why did you stop the car, Mommy,” gets into an explanation of a stop sign, what it looks like, which letters are on it, what color it is, what other kinds of signs we can look for when we’re out …
Repetition to teach kids something new. If I’m feeling particularly creative, a song really helps things stick.
I have a box with little strips of paper where I’ve written every space/room of my house (e.g., stairwell, living room,) plus the name of other tasks (email you’ve been avoiding, laundry, paperwork, front closet). I set a timer for 10 minutes, pull a task out of the box, and set to work. It is the only thing that keeps me focused and not overwhelmed (I have a very distracted “brain foggy” brain). With 4 kids, sometimes 10 minutes is all I have anyway.
To clear the fog: work in the garden, pull some weeds, water the plants. Kids love to help with all these ‘chores’ plus you get outside and get some fresh air.
To help learn: soft classical music and a clutter and distraction free background go a long long way in helping process new information. This books sounds great. Thanks for the recommendation.