The Hidden Danger Sabotaging Your Child's Learning

Posted by Enza Lyons on December 06, 2010

There are many factors that may contribute to your child experiencing early learning difficulties, and stress is one which is often overlooked.

We like to think of childhood as a time of carefree play, unburdened by adult responsibilities. However, in our modern, fast-paced society, our every activity from a very young age is scheduled, scrutinised and measured. Whether it's getting better grades, winning the grand final, or having lots of friends, there are many situations in which children feel pressure to perform.

Moreover, why, when we are so frequently stressed by our relationships, finances and careers (just to name a few common concerns), would we think that children are immune to this influence?

In fact, stress and anxiety is a real problem for children and can certainly contribute to serious early learning difficulties, or delayed development of important educational skills such as learning to read and write. It can also impact on children's long-term health and well-being.

Does your child display the danger signs of stress and anxiety?

  • Does your child complain about headaches and pains in the neck, shoulders or jaw?

  • Does your child have bad dreams or wet the bed?

  • Does your child have difficulty adapting to change and do they question what will happen in the future?

  • Does your child have difficulty understanding instructions and often appear distracted?

How does stress and anxiety sabotage your child's learning?

Stress is a reaction of perceived threat. The stress response prepares the individual to mentally and physically take protective action... But the stress response does not make us smart, creative or rational.” Carla Hannaford Phd (Neurobiologist)

Your child's ability to learn is directly impacted when they are under stress, because the stress response:

  • decreases blood flow to the higher areas of the brain that have to do with planning, memory, insight and learning

  • increases muscle tension throughout the body which can lead to chronic pain and digestive problems

  • increases heart rate to distribute oxygen around the body, thereby reducing oxygen available to the brain

  • dilutes pupils to increase peripheral vision and heighten awareness of potential danger, thereby reducing reading abilities

  • induces hypersensitivity to sound to heighten awareness of potential danger, thereby reducing ability to concentrate on instructions and take reasoned action.

Deactivating the stress response for successful learning

It is clear that stress and anxiety can be key contributors to children's early learning difficulties, or to other developmental problems they may experience with socialisation, literacy and physical co-ordination.

For this reason, Brain Gym incorporates techniques that empower children to:

  • work through whatever anxieties or fears are holding them back

  • gain confidence with fun, easy exercises

  • engage higher reasoning to overcome any problem or stressful situation

  • activate the mind-body connection for calm, relaxed focus.

For your child's success, stay alert to stress and consider ways you can empower them to become calmer and happier every day.

To learn more about Brain Gym, and how it can switch on your child for success contact us.

Through our Dynamic Learning & Health Centre you can also access, for free and without obligation, the four step process we use in the Brain Gym program to integrate mind and body, and prepare for learning.


Enza Lyons

Accredited Brain Gym Instructor (Brain Gym International)

Registered Kinesiology Practitioner (A.K.A., A.T.M.S.)

Director, Dynamic Learning & Health Centre



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