Parenting U: Prepare Your Youngster for College

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File this one under the “Time Flies” category. Whether you’re kid is still learning or filling out applications, there’s never a bad time to start preparing for college. From what you feed your children to how much TV they see, the decisions you make now can mean the difference between Ivy League and air-conditioning school. Don’t wait until senior year to think about your child’s future. You may be checking diapers now, but before you know it, you’ll be checking AP scores online at

Try these tips to put your child on a better path to college at any age.

Feed Babies Brain Food

It’s tough to think about dorms and finals when your child is still in diapers, but the food you serve today can have a long-term educational impact. A study conducted between 1969 and 1977 revealed that infants and toddlers who receive proper nutrition score higher on tests and readingLittle girl play with book comprehension, according to Researchers gave children in Guatemala a protein-rich supplement called atole and others a sugar-sweetened beverage. Decades later, the researchers tested the surviving participants and found that children exposed to atole between birth and age 2 score higher on intellectual tests. The researchers identified significant conclusions for parents.

“Complex and rapid cognitive development takes place during the first three years of life,” the researches said in the report. It’s not just health you are promoting when you feed your child proper nutrients, it’s also learning. Along with protein, recommends food rich with Omega-3 for newborn cognitive development.

Turn Off the TV

Being a kid is tough, and sometimes the only thing you want to do is lay on the couch and zone out. Kids don’t know it, but the more the they watch TV or played video games during the week, the worse they perform in school. According to a study published by the American Academy of Pediatrics, a survey of 4,508 students in grades 5-8 revealed that the odds of poorer school performance increased as screen time increased. Students whose parents let them watch R-rated movies had significantly decreased chances of performing well in school.

It’s up to parents to limit screen time. Avoid TV and video games during the week. Instead, encourage your kids to join a club or sports team, play with their friends and finish their homework. Let them enjoy TV and video games on the weekend. Not only will you be preparing them for college, you’ll also be reducing the risk of eyesight and obesity issues.

Start College Early

Senior year of high school is a landmark occasion for students — one last hurrah filled with dances, pranks and ceremonies before friends disperse for their next chapters. Students looking to make the most of senior year shouldn’t neglect academic opportunities, though. Advanced Placement (AP) classes offer students the chance to earn college credit while still in high school. AP classes culminate with a May exam, so students looking to cruise to graduation may have reservations.

By encouraging kids to enroll in AP courses, parents bridge the education gap between high school and college course work. Professors and advisors will expect students to hit the ground running. Developing their work ethic and getting them familiar with college material will help hugely come fall.

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