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Making a Mark: Helping kids adjust after the isolation of the COVID-19 pandemic

Teachers and parents are focused on kids' mental health following virtual learning during the pandemic. Dr. Heather Kinchlow has tools that can help.

NORFOLK, Va. — Mid-line writing: it's an exercise Dr. Heather Kinchlow recommends to help strengthen the mind.

"You have an imaginary line inside of your body that separates the left and the right hemisphere," said Dr. Kinchlow. "And when you do [mid-line writing], it actually stimulates both sides of the brain."

Dr. Kinchlow has more than two decades of experience in cognitive educational therapy. In 2000, she founded the Mind Brain Academy, a program designed to energize memory and combat mental decline.

"We use a variety of multisensory exercises, not content-driven, to be able to enrich the brain," said Dr. Kinchlow. "All the way back... from the cerebellum, it swings around to the frontal lobe, and it switches on your higher intelligence." 

Dr. Kinchlow said mental restoration is vital for students who spent more than a year learning from home, leaving them feeling disconnected and isolated.

"Every year lost, for one year, takes three years to be able to bring that student back up to where they need to be," said Dr. Kinchlow.

She said parents should do activities with kids at home to invigorate their minds.

"Their parents are encouraged to work with them three days a week at least," said Dr. Kinchlow. "It could be up to five minutes that they just begin to do those exercises to reset, rewire, and relax that mind."

And just as the learning tools help students stay focused, energized, and engaged, Dr. Kinchlow says they can help parents, too.

"Every single day, you are getting 700 to 1,000 new neurons," said Dr. Kinchlow, "so that you have the capacity to learn anything."

Dr. Kinchlow also hosts "cognitive conversations" twice a week on Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube.

More information about the Mind Brain Academy is on Dr. Kinchlow's website.

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