Woman Holding BabyYou see lots of babies, tucked in their prams being pushed around the shopping centers wide eyed and what appears to be very interested in life rushing by.  Chances are they fail to fall asleep in their prams, as there is just so much happening.  Later on come the crying and the upset and frustrated parents soon follow.

What most people miss is the first clue – wide eyed. Wide-eyed is commonly interpreted as interested.  It is in fact over stimulated.  Over stimulated is when your baby is getting tired and rather than being in a place of low stimulation to help them unwind and drift off to sleep.  Their brain is in fact being overloaded with more stimulation.  The more over-stimulated they become the longer it then takes their brain to ‘wind down’.

We live in a very stimulating world what between people rushing about, the television constantly flicking every split second, the noise and the amount of signs plastered in our environment.  This problem not only affects babies, but children of all ages and even adults.  How long does it take you to wind down?

The solution? For a baby it’s easy to tackle, when you see the signs of tiredness, place a sunshade over their pram and cut down on the stimulation from outside.  Limit the amount of toys they have out on their shelves or cluttered around their room.

With children the same ideas are relevant although not always within a parents control.  At home you can certainly tame the clutter, put out select toys and books. Put the rest in the cupboard and swap them around.  Children focus better, have greater concentration and memory when there is order to their world and the clutter is minimized.  When reading to your children be sure to turn off the radio and television to that they can attend and listen.  All this background noise is distracting and doesn’t let these skills develop fully.

A good example to think of is think about the last time you walked into a kindy or classroom.  Were the walls plastered with so much artwork, information sheets etc. that there was no spare space?  I know I certainly have walked into kids rooms where I can’t think and wonder how our children go with being in this environment all day.  (Most often all the work on display is for the parents benefit so that they know what their child has actually been doing, there are much better ways to get this message to parents)  I have also seen centers where even the windows were covered with artwork.  Remember simple is better.   I have also seen classrooms where it is organized, with limited work on display that changes and the children certainly focus better and this aids in their learning process.  By making the walls clutter free we are actually impacting on their ability to learn.

As for adults, the same applies, the more clutter the less organized your brain is to think.  Why is it we all strive to have the great-organized cupboard or house?  The sense of satisfaction and clarity we get seeing things organized, neat and tidy.  We have a totally different feeling when we walk into a room that is ordered compared to cluttered.  At work it is the same, we are more productive when are room is organized and the clutter contained.

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