Brain training is all the rage now among parents and their children, but what exactly is it?
WORDS NURULHUDA SUHAIMI
We’ve all heard of training our bodies to increase our stamina and keep physically fit, but what about training our brains? Is it possible to exercise our brains to improve our cognitive skills such as improving our memory or the ability to process information at a faster rate?
Our brains are responsible for our ability to function and perform complex tasks and mental processes. This ability is aided by the development of cognitive skills, which is crucial during early childhood. This is why some parents are sending their toddlers to brain training classes so their children can get a headstart in developing and strengthening their cognitive skills.
What Exactly is Brain Training?
The idea that it is possible to exercise our brains to aid in our cognitive skills development is known as brain training. “Brain training is based on the concept of neuroplasticity, i.e. the brain’s ability to change over time with repeated exposure. Through advancement in technology, scientists have discovered that human brains can adapt and change with new experiences. At the same time, scientists have made discoveries that brain or cognitive skills like memory, attention and mental speed, etc. are trainable skills. These cognitive skills form our foundational “learning engine” and are closely associated with success in learning and life,” says Marjorie Tay, brain fitness trainer at BrainFit Studio.
The development of cognitive skills is especially critical during early childhood. Proponents of brain
training claim it is ideal to start these mental exercise activities early on in your
child’s life because a younger child’s brain is more flexible to change.
“Contrary to what many people think, cognitive skills like memory, attention and mental flexibility etc. may not naturally strengthen as a child grows. Hence, there is a precious opportunity, especially in early childhood, when the brain is most malleable, to strengthen these skills,” explains Tay.
Admittedly, there is still a lot of controversy surrounding the brain training debate, but there is no denying that the popularity of brain training classes has exploded in recent years, particularly those aimed at younger children. “Brain training for a toddler focuses on building critical skills and achieving important milestones that babies typically acquire from zero to three years of age,” says Tay.
One important thing for parents to remember is that the effectiveness of brain training activities is not immediate. “The result of the training is usually evidential after a few years of stimulation, as observed in the child’s ability in handling challenging tasks and subjects,” says Jocelyn Khoo, principal of The Shichida MethodTM Singapore.