Expert Offers Quirky Tips to Make Your Child Smarter

Oct. 14, 2006 — -- Helping your child perform better in school could be as easy as installing a blue light in their room or encouraging them to chew more gum, according to a new book.

Dr. Frank Lawlis, author of "The I.Q. Answer," says how you wake your child up each day could be the difference between success and failure. Waking them up with a blue light could increase your child's brain power.

"If you want to wake up your child in a very positive and energetic way, probably the best way to do that is just by exposing them to a blue light," Lawlis said. "If the eyes are exposed to this blue light, there is a stimulation in part of the brain and this happens even if your eyes are closed."

Lawlis also suggests children try alternate nostril breathing -- breathing out one nostril then the other. The technique, he says, floods the brain with oxygen, which can improve test scores.

"It's almost natural, that when you're afraid, when you're facing a test, when you're facing a challenge, is to hold your breath," he said. "If you take 10 minutes or even five minutes, to teach the students how to breathe, it will help them study better, it will help them remember better, and it will help them perform 10 to 20 percent better on their tests."

Lawlis also cites chewing gum as another way for children to improve academic performance.

"You get a rhythm, so you have kind of have a dance going on inside your body with your jaw going back and forth," he said.

Although it may sound like every teacher's worst nightmare, associating lessons to a beat actually helps children retain information and also opens the area up for breathing.

"What we discovered is that if you breathe through the mouth, you really lose I.Q. points," Lawlis said. "You need to really breathe through the nose and create that kind of metabolism that makes the most sense to the rest of the body as well as to the brain. Chewing helps that."

But does it translate to the classroom? One teacher, Elisabeth Salerno, is in favor of trying.

"Throughout history, people have come up with ideas that no one believed and they have proven to be correct," Salerno said. "If this blue light can make their lives any easier, by all means use it. Whatever works, whatever works."

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