Every parent wants to make sure their child makes good grades and prepare for success, but is there a proven recipe to make it happen?

Students

Research supports at least five key ways parents can help make their kids smarter:

Physical fitness

Dr. Brenda Armstrong, a pediatric cardiologist and assistant dean of admissions for Duke University Medical School, says being physically fit fosters success in the classroom and into adulthood.

A Columbia University study showed a three-month exercise regimen increased blood flow by 40 percent to the part of the brain focused on memory and learning.

Armstrong says fitness and nutrition go hand in hand. She’s the founder and fitness coach for Durham Striders track club.

“We can’t do any of this on fast foods. We need greens, and we need baked food, not fried food,” Armstrong said.

Other things to avoid, Armstrong says, are sugary drinks. Kids should be drinking water, and getting at least 64 ounces each day.

Sleep

Research shows that insufficient sleep challenges the brain’s ability to absorb and process information.

The National Sleep Foundation recommends that preschool-aged children get 11 to 14 hours of sleep each night. For school-aged children, aim for 9 to 11 hours.

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