If you’re like most parents, establishing homework habits with your child can sometimes feel like a nightmare.
But Dr. Rick Graebe, a behavioral optometrist in Versailles, knows how to make study-time a breeze by optimizing your child’s visual system.
The combination of posture, lighting and auditory control play an important role in brain functioning.
First, Dr. Graebe recommends setting aside a designated study area where your child can routinely do his school work free from distraction.
“This gets them mentally set. It helps get their body and brain prepped and ready,” Dr. Graebe said.
Good posture and a stable body are crucial. Use a chair that fits your child so that his feet touch the floor and his back is straight.
This is important to help “reduce the wiggles” so your child can focus on what’s in front of them.
“After all, you couldn’t read a book while jumping on a trampoline,” Dr. Graebe said.
Books should be centered straight ahead of your child and elevated at 23 degrees. Try placing a tissue box underneath the book to create this angle.
This combination creates a line from the eyes to the book, which helps the visual system be most efficient.
But let’s not forget how important lighting is during study time. Dr. Graebe recommends using a full spectrum light bulb or an OttLite.
These bulbs mimic the same wavelengths as sunlight and create the most comfortable spectrum for the visual system, Dr. Graebe said.
Consider a hobbyist who works with paint or thread. Color perception is more accurate and true in natural sunlight.
To filter out extraneous sounds that could distract your child, Dr. Graebe recommends downloading a free smartphone app for auditory beats.
Basically, these beats send pulses of sound through headphones from the right ear to the left ear.
Although you can’t hear these pulses, they’re working to sync your Alpha (creative) and Beta (factual) parts of the brain.
The goal here is to “change the sensory input to maximize the brain for learning,” Dr. Graebe said.
If these techniques don’t help and your child is still having problems with homework, he may have binocular vision dysfunction.
But Dr. Graebe said this is an “absolutely” fixable problem corrected with Vision Therapy .
Said Dr. Graebe: “This is what we do every day.”