There are many variables that can affect your child’s ability to learn to read. In this article we will be exploring the affects the environment plays on learning. Everyone is exposed to diverse environmental factors that can affect all areas of life, most importantly cognition. This is why it’s very important to decrease the number of negative additives your whole family is exposed to. Some of these additives include artificial food dyes, artificial sugars, white four, white sugar, fluoride in water supplies and dental products, as well as pesticides and herbicides used on the produce we consume. Aside from additives in our diets we need to think about potential hazards like lead poisoning from paint which is found in many homes. We need to make our children’s surroundings as inviting and healthy as possible so that we can cultivate an atmosphere of lifelong learning. Let’s explore different detrimental environmental factors that we can avoid or lessen to create the healthiest home for our families to thrive.
Q: How do we take control of our environment and health? There are many environmental conditions that you can’t control. That’s why it’s so important to address the ones you can! Your number one goal should be to go through your cabinets today and throw away anything with food coloring, artificial sweeteners white flour or white sugar. By doing this alone you’ll eliminate wear and tear on your liver, kidneys, and stomach, improve your long-term cognition, improve digestion, and remove carcinogens that you otherwise would’ve eaten!
Q: How do we change our environment? Here are some simple ways to change your environment to a healthier place for you and your family:
1) Find out if there is any lead paint inside your home. Lead poisoning has been linked to an increased risk of developing ADD in small children. If there is lead paint in your home take corrective action to paint over it with lead-free paint. Also, educate your children to wash their hands often because lead is often transferred from hand to mouth contact.
2) Install a water filtration system that will remove excess fluoride and other unnecessary water additives to decrease your family’s exposure. Fluoride in excess has been linked to neurological and cognitive difficulties. Also, choose fluoride-free toothpaste and mouthwash which can easily be found in health food stores or online.
3) I can’t stress it enough: Take away all processed foods! Remove dyes, artificial sugars, white flour and sugar, and preservatives from your diet…you’ll gain more energy and a longer life in the process. Eat fresh, delicious organic produce, organic grains and dairy products, and free-range meats and eggs. Balance your diet as much as possible and don’t forget to take a good multivitamin with vitamins A, B, C, and E. Also, take Vitamin D with calcium and magnesium supplements for increased immune health and strong bones.
Q: What do you feed your children for optimal learning? For optimal learning it’s best to feed your child organic fruits and vegetables along with other “one-step” unprocessed foods. Try to choose fruits and vegetables that are in season so that they are less likely to have preservatives and synthetic chemicals sprayed on them…used to postpone the process of ripening and to make them last longer. If you can’t find or afford organic produce, please wash everything thoroughly and peel the topical layers off fruit which is where most of pesticides localize.
Don’t forget to choose organic and free-range animal products if you choose to eat meat. Overuse of antibiotics in livestock has led to increased antibiotic resistance in humans. Also, hormones used to speed the growth process of animals has been linked to early onset of puberty in children as young as 7.
This article is a nutshell of information regarding how food additives and other environmental influences can affect your child’s ability to learn to read, not to mention their entire cognition as a whole. Even though we can’t control larger environmental issues such as air pollution, we do have the power to affect what kinds of food we eat and water we drink. We can also control the paint that is in our homes and create a healthy and nurturing atmosphere for our children.
The take home points from this article include: first and foremost, educate yourself! Don’t know what those additives are in the cereal you eat every morning or in your favorite protein bar? How about what the food coloring in your child’s favorite fruit snacks does to their ability to focus? Do you know what lead poisoning can do to cognition? How about what overexposure to fluoride can do to your health? Other things to think about are why eating organic is so important. It’s costly, but as demand increases costs are bound to decrease! While it may not be possible to eat exclusively organic, the more you can the better it will be for your family in the long run. Do some research on the fruits and veggies that are most exposed to pesticides so you can learn to avoid them or choose them only when they are organically grown.
Finally, when you’ve changed your diet and made your home more safe think about the atmosphere of learning available in your home. Do you have plenty of books available for you to read to your child and vice versa? Are there educational games for your child to play? How about educational videos for your family to watch together? Do you encourage your child to be your helper and learn how to do common household tasks? All of these things are vitally important to encouraging learning in your home! Please remember that education begins at home. What you do to engage a love of learning in your child’s early years will carry on throughout their lives.