Cultivating a Happy Brain

My morning probably looks like many of yours; with three small children at home I roll out of bed with just enough time to realize that there’s no time to lose before children need to be off to school and I need to be off to Kidspace.  Coffee is made, breakfast is made, lunches are packed, kids are clothed, etc., etc., etc.  Depending on the day, two or more of us pile into the car and we head to multiple stops on the way to our day.  Frantic though it may be at times, my wife and I have strived to establish a mostly dependable routine that not only gets everyone up and moving but sets them up for a successful day, and week.  In our house the routine comes down to three non-negotiable categories: sleep, eat, and time to play. We feel that these three are essential to happy kids with happy bodies and happy brains.

Sleep.  Happy Brains need sleep, all the clutter from the day gets cleaned up and organized while we sleep but getting there can be a challenge.  Tired is tough.  As Parents, we want tired at the right time but tired is as tired does and each kid has their own way of dealing with it, some kids can self-regulate and can calm things down in time with their energy and others can’t.  This first week back to school can be tough for a lot of kids, a lot to take in, and a lot to remember.  My wife tells me that my oldest was literally spinning in circles after his first day back and talking a million miles an hour.  Bed time happened a little earlier than usual but it was carried out in the usual manner.  Lights begin to dim, teeth are brushed, jammies are on, stories (some briefer than others) are read, and kiddos are tucked in.

Eat.  Food is fuel.  Parents have all seen what happens when happy kids run out of fuel, they implode. The problem is compounded when we can’t get the kids to eat the good stuff to keep brains churning.  The routine for us is that no one misses breakfast in our house, adults might have to fend for themselves but breakfast happens every day.  “No, thank you bites” are taken when noses are turned up at good food (which usually breaks the ice enough to get them to eat the rest) because above all FOOD MUST BE EATEN.

748 Play.  Why not work?  For Children, play is work, just ask Captain Kangaroo.  Play takes on many forms:  active and body-moving play, silly and imaginative play, curious and creative play, challenging and problem-solving play, etc.  A happy brain needs a place to express everything that it has taken in and play facilitates that.  Chores happen, as they must, but though we might not always remember to make the bed we always find time to play.

We don’t bat 1000, but if old habits aren’t working for you try incorporating a little routine.  Need a little play-inspiration to help kick things off?  Come down to Kidspace, we have great ideas for cultivating happy kids with happy brains. 

Learn more at these websites!

Captain Kangaroo quote:

Importance of sleep:

Brain boosting foods:

Importance of Play: 


Blog entry by:

Tim Scheidler, Marketing Manager, has been with Kidspace Children's Museum since 2011.  During his time with the museum, Tim has been involved in the Camps program, volunteer coordinating, and educational programming.