Tuesday, July 26, 2016

What is brain fitness? Is there such a thing? Just like physical fitness, it has five pillars that determine how fit a person is: strength, flexibility, endurance, speed and coordination. Brain fitness also has five pillars: sensory-motor, attention, visual, auditory and social emotional. Our physical fitness influences our performance in sports while brain fitness influences our learning and achievement in school, work, and daily life. Today, there's a center that provides the most modern neuro-scientific-based brain fitness training programs in Asia and that is BrainFit Studio.
Two years ago, Y's school had a talk about EQ and grit by BrainFit Studio. The talk was very informative and an eye-opener for me. There are enrichment program centers on Math, Reading, Filipino and Chinese and I've thought of enrolling Y and R but up until now I haven't really decided on it mainly because of the mixed feedbacks from different parents. It is said that if you give a man a fish, you feed him for a day; teach him to fish, and you feed him for a lifetime. BrainFit focuses on the foundational skill needed to further the learning process be it in the academic aspect or learning a skill.
 BrainFit's training uses the SMART protocol based on neuro-scientific training: S is for setting appropriate and achievable goals, M is for measurement, A is for adaptation, R is for rewiring through focused practice, and T is for transformation of the brain and the individual.

Last May, we were given the opportunity to try one of the BrainFit programs, we went to their San Juan branch (Y was also having art class in My Little Art Place, that's why we chose this branch). Y had to take the CogMap (Cognitive Map) assessment which is an essential tool to measure and analyze the brain fitness level or cognitive skill of a student. It's a 2-hour long, one-on-one assessment using standardized tests which profile the student's brain in the five key areas of visual, auditory, sensory-motor, attention and memory and social-emotional.
BrainFit offers five kinds of programs based on the five key areas mentioned above, your child can take one program or a combination of the programs.
SMART Moves involves improving sensory-motor coordination.
  Exercises for this fitness program includes enhancing fine motor strength with the help of special putty, using a vibrating “Wiggle Pen” to improve control (and handwriting), and other activities that help your child achieve better balance, endurance, and so forth.

SMART Vision is all about visual and spatial processing. Some exercises may challenge the child to process shapes, colors, and directions they read while performing physical activities like jumping on a trampoline as well as a series of hand-eye coordination exercises, drawing exercises, tangrams, and even specially designed computer programs and apps to develop this area of the brain. In a Singaporean study of the exam results of boys who took six months of SMART Vision training in 2001, schools reported a 25% increase in overall marks, a 35% improvement in English, 50% in mathematics, and 12% increase in foreign language skills.

SMART Listening helps develop auditory and language processing skills. BrainFit Studio uses a scientifically proven program designed to improve attention, comprehension, and auditory memory. These use cute and colorful animations to make the experience more fun for the child.

SMART Focus uses neuro-feedback technology also used by NASA and the US Air Force to monitor kids’ brains while they perform exercises to improve attention and memory. Don’t worry that your child will be hooked up to wires like something out of a sci-fi movie, though! This equipment looks more like a biker’s helmet, and it tracks the active parts of your child’s brain while he engages in specially designed programs that train his brain to focus better.

Following SMART Focus training, a test group of kids showed an average improvement of 12% in attention and 14% in impulse control.
SMART Emotions is all about EQ; it teaches social-emotional self-regulation to help kids handle their moods, learn to relax, and deal with various social situations. These are achieved through a workshop course designed with sessions for just the kids as well as ones with the kids and their parents. Through guided role-playing and other activities, children learn how to express and handle their emotions in efficient ways and deal with social situations that may not always be comfortable.

While waiting for Y during her assessment, I was also given a form to answer which I think was matched to Y's CogMap. It was a very detailed form with questions about your child and how well you know them. We got the results for the CogMap the next day and was asked to come again so the results can be explained to me as well as choose which of the recommended programs Y will take. The CogMap result was explained to me by Teacher Apple. I was really surprised on how detailed and accurate the result was. The CogMap was able to identify Y's strength and areas that needed improvement. Ang galing lang! The CogMap recommended 3 programs for Y which were SMART Moves, SMART Vision and SMART Listening. I chose Smart Vision based on the results and because it had one of the lowest scores.
Each program requires 8 1-hour session. Each class has a 1:4 teacher-student ratio. Most of the time, Y didn't have a classmate so it was a one-on-one session with her teacher. They were given a My BrainFit Progress Book and each session the teacher tracks their progress and writes a feedback/comment for the parents (see photos below). They're also given points every session depending on their progress and by the end of the program, you can exchange your points for a prize, parang Time Zone! Y was motivated by because of the prize! Heehee!
This is where classes for SMART Vision was held.
She was given this My BrainFit Progress Book to track her (as the book's name) progress.
I love the feedback section. Even if I don't see what she does in her sessions, I knew she was improving.

I was able to join Y on her last class and see what she does during class. I was surprised, amazed and impressed all at the same time. Y is a great student, she listens to her teacher, follows instructions well but I think she got a bit distracted because I was in room. **They normally don't allow parents inside the classroom.
She did a series of activities including reading shapes, directions while jumping on a trampoline, walking to and from a line, and more!
After the physical activities, Y also did table activities such as hand-eye coordination exercises, drawing exercises and tangrams.

They were given homeworks too but they're very easy. Most of the time they already did the same activity during their session and they just do another sheet at home. One of their worksheets was a word search activity, I bought a word search book for her after that. When I was in high school I loved doing word searches, I'd ask my mom to buy me word search books at the bookstore and I would spend hours finishing a page after another. Then I became addicted to Sudoku, I guess that's how my exercised my brain!
One of the few homeworks she did.
At the end of our 8th session, she happily picked her prize! Parang Time Zone lang. Heehee!

BrainFit Studio also caters to individuals diagnosed with learning difficulties such as attention deficit hyperactive disorder (ADD or ADHD), auditory processing disorder (APD), dyslexia, language delays, sensory-modulation disorder, dyspraxia and autism spectrum disorder (ASD). They also have a programs for young kids aged 3-6 years old called BrainFit Junior, which helps kids develop their fine motor coordination and core stability but also their ability to listen and follow instructions, take turns and recognize feelings.

Brainfit Studio will also be launching a BrainFit Baby program in the second half of 2016, which will target babies from nine months to three years old and require more hands-on participation from the parents.

Y enjoyed her SMART Vision classes. After the 8 sessions she attended, I noticed there are improvements in her Chinese subjects. We usually argue a lot when I tutor her at home, this first quarter, we are doing really good, we're not as stressed as before, we argue less and she seems to be doing well in her class. She remembers what the teachers taught for the day. I'm really happy with how our school year is going so far! She'll continue her SMART Vision next month at the BrainFit near us! Yay! I think BrainFit is something you should consider for your child, I know a lot of moms would prefer programs for specific subjects but I think it's also essential that they can be trained on how to do well also on other subjects. Call or visit the nearest BrainFit Studio to inquire and schedule of CogMap test today!

BrainFit Studio Philippines will also be having a couple of workshops for parents this September that is really worth attending.
Click on the image to enlarge.
For more information, please visit www.brainfitstudio.com

BrainFit Branches:
3F 224 Ortigas Avenue, Greenhills, San Juan

Unit 7, 140 Mayhalique St. corner Masangkay Street, Broadview Towers, Santa Cruz

Quezon City
412 NS Amoranto Street corner Speaker Perez, Barangay Maharlika, Quezon City

9th Avenue Preschool, M Level, ACTIVE FUN Building, 9th Avenue corner 28th Street, Bonifacio Global City, Taguig

Unit 3B Bajada Plaza, J.P. Laurel Avenue, Davao City 

Sunday, July 17, 2016

It's been three weeks since R started going to school. He is a #FirstTimeSchooler but he wasn't really new to the school environment. Ever since going yaya-less last year, he has been taking and fetching his achi with me from school everyday. He knew the guards, where the playground is, where manong fishball is, achi's classroom and even knew some of achi's classmates. 

R has always expressed that he wanted to go to school like achi. I could have enrolled him last school year but decided to delay his schooling because I felt he wasn't ready yet. Earliefr this year, when we learned he was accepted to the school, we were all very excited for him! Achi was teaching him what she learned daw in Nursery. They're so cute!
Bagong lig, gulo gulo pa hair but I was excited to take his photo! Heehee!

A few weeks before school started, our school always conducts a Parents Orientation. I always make sure to attend it not only because there are a lot of reminders from the school's head teachers, traffic flow, etc. but also because I get to meet my kids' teachers for the school year. School is our children's second home, I want them to feel secure and safe as they are at home. So when I found out that one of Y's Nursery teacher will also be R's, #Sigurado ako that R will be in good hands! 

Because I also wanted to be #Sigurado that R will enjoy his time in school. I made him a part of the preparation like buying what he needs for school. Konti lang naman because the school provides everything else. We went to the department store to buy socks and a windbreaker then to the grocery to pick his baon, I let him choose what he likes to psych him more for school! Making him part of this process is just one of the things that will make us the #BestTandem for his first year in school. 
If you ask R what he likes about school, I think his answer will be recess haha! He actually eats the snack the school gives everyday. But I always pack extra biscuits in case he wants to eat more.

He had first day jitters for a couple of days, he didn't want us to leave the classroom but when once he started to get to know his teachers and classmates, he has been making kwento of what new songs and things he learned in school. R is still adjusting though, there are days when he doesn't want to go to school and I needed to sweet talk him so he would go inside the classroom. Although I worry about R, I'm just happy he doesn't cry and I make sure he's full in the morning and in a good mood.
Papa's boy. He wants papa to be his classmate haha! This was the first day of school.
A week into school, I asked the teachers about R. I'm happy to learn that he behaves well and listens to the teachers! I am actually amazed of the things he's been telling me of what he has learned in school.
We also had a late celebration of his birthday in school. We celebrated it in school two weeks after because there was no school yet during his birthday. I wanted him to experience it like his achi! He was happy with his doughnut party in school!

Seeing R in school made me reminisce about Y's Nursery days, while she adjusted better than R, I remember she got sick a lot during her first year in school. She would come home from school with colds or cough and as much as possible I don't want the same thing to happen to R. But if he does get cough, my #BestTandem Pambatang Solmux 200mg will help him not miss out school and not get in the way of learning new things or making new friends at school.
Pambatang Solmux 200mg is trusted by many pedia and moms. It it safe and effective because of its Bacterial and Viral Expel Action.

Pambatang Solmux 200mg comes in two sizes: 60ml for Php97.80 and 120ml for Php148.64 only!

I'm really lucky that R is easy to give medicine to whether it's yummy or not but you don't have to worry about that with Pambatang Solmux 200mg because it's strawberry-flavored! Less medicine intake too because Pambatang Solmux contains 200mg of medicine per 5ml vs. other carbocisteine medicines which only contain 100mg of medicine per 5ml.
Pagod on his first day! Haha! He usually falls asleep on our way home, I guess he's tired from all the playing and singing he does in school. Heehee!

How did your kids adjust to school? Share naman your tips! 

Don't forget to like Pambatang Solmux on Facebook!

Thursday, July 7, 2016

BOS and I celebrated our 8th Wedding Anniversary last month. We had our first date night in a really looooong time! Thank you to my MIL who watched our kids while we went on our date. We don't usually exchange gifts anymore because alam mo yun when we see things we like in the mall and we buy it, sasabihin na lang namin "ito na gift ko/mo ah!". Mahirap kasi mag-isip minsan and since choosy ang asawa ko, I like to gift him with something he really wants. Sometimes we just eat to celebrate! Oink! Hihi!

My husband is very low maintenance and a minimalist. We have a very small cabinet for clothes, 4/5 of it are my clothes, 1/5 are his and that consists of only plain black, white, gray and blue shirts. He owns a couple of long sleeves polos pero he RARELY wears them and some he never wore kaya ang hirap kaya I always ask him what he wants para isusuot talaga niya. He owns a few pair of shoes and he has been wearing this Tiger Onitsuka sneakers everyday for 3 years. For so long, he wanted to buy this Adidas Samba on Amazon, he has been looking for a pair but it's hard to find one here. Nasa wishlist lang siya (may forever! Haha)! Then about 1.5 months ago, bumigay na si Onitsuka but he still wears it, anak ng patatas! Na-guilty naman ako, he spoils us when he can, so I decided to buy the Samba in secret and surprise him on our anniversary.
Ang mahiwagang Adidas Samba! The price has lowered since I first bought it. $48 ko nabili yung kay BOS.
My friend Conci was in the US that time so I asked if she can bring it home for me. She was coming home 3 or 4 days before our anniversary which was perfect.... sana. Ordering the shoes was easy, I've never encountered any problems with Amazon until this time. Bigla ata ako nagka-balat sa pwet! My gulay, the shoes didn't arrive the day it was supposed to be delivered at Conci's Aunt place. I went online to chat with an Amazon CS, telling them my package hasn't arrive and I needed it to be delivered on a specific date! 
Yun pala, the first package was lost, hence it didn't arrive at all!
To ease my worries, they sent a replacement BUUTTT it arrived when Conci have already left for the airport. I emailed them again asking if they can pick up the shoes, ibabalik ko na lang. STRESS SILA. 
I asked the package to be rerouted but I guess di na umabot sa courier. The package was left on the front door kasi nga walang tao. Kung pwede lang ako mag teleport, ginawa ko na!

I was at a event when all of this is happening! My mind was flying off to the US, palpak na surprise! Wahhhh! But I really have to say na ang galing talaga ng customer service nila, they said I can just keep the replacement (thank you to Conci's Aunt for including the shoes in their balikbayan box) and place a new order and choose the fastest shipping and they will waive the shipping fee. Na-feel siguro nila ang pagka-desperada ko! I was pleading them to reroute my package to another address, pick up my package mga ganung chenelyn. I was really desperate and basa-kili-kili stressed out! I had to vent it out to friends kasi hindi naman pwede kay BOS, mabubuking ako! Haha!

Third time's a charm! I had to think of a Plan B! I know a lot of my friends buy online and have it shipped here by air via couriers like Johnny Air, Forex, Kango Express, etc but the kuripot in me is saying NO kasi mahal. Almost half the price na ng shoes ang shipping noh! Haha! I've only tried Johnny Air and USA Direct PHL once before. BUT sabi ko din, if I didn't push through with it, wala nanaman akong gift! E madami ng binigay sakin si BOS! So I compared prices, nakakalaglag-sa-upuan naman yung iba e!
I just discovered Johnny Air has Johnny Air Plus na pala. The last time I used them was 2011 pa. Kung hindi lang malayo pick-up offices nila, I would have chosen Johnny Air.
 Shipping cost for pick-up at their Makati or Megamall branches.
Shipping cost if you choose to have it delivered to your house.
This is the rate naman for Forex. $38.27! Plus $10 na lang, price na ng shoes!
For Kango Express, it's almost the same rate as Forex.
Cheapest estimate cost I got was from USA Direct PHL and their office is in Quezon Ave lang, nearer to me than Makati and Megamall. You can also opt to have your package shipped to your house pero baka hindi din madeliver agad kaya pick up na lang (kung atat kayo like me! Haha! Ayaw ko na ng suspense!) and that is why I picked USA Direct PHL.

One thing I wish they'll do is improve their website and make it more user-friendly like the other shopping websites. Their website is medyo nakakalito to use. I just email them directly to get updates. Their website says it takes 5-7 days (please read their FAQs) for the package to reach Manila but with customs and all, mga 10+ days before you can pick it up at their office. 

And because I was hoping that it will arrive for our anniversary (kahit na may ETA nakalagay sa website), I called them the day before, wala pa daw! Kaya ako palusot nalang kay BOS, sorry wala akong gift. Eto naman si BOS, panay sabi wala akong shoes, pano na sa Cru baka di daw siya papasukin haha (where we had our anniversary dinner)? May idea ka ba BOS? Nabuking ba ako? Hahaha! The shoes arrived the week after, nakulitan na ata yung sa USA Direct PHL, everyday ko ata tinawagan! And when they said it was already there, hindi ko na din napigilan at sinabi ko na din kay BOS. HAHAHA! 

Right after R's first day of school, we went to USA Direct PHL to pick up the shoes. 
Their office is just along Quezon Ave., the same side as Halili Cruz School of Ballet. 
Kaya naman pala they had a hard time looking my package in their manifest whenever I called them to follow up was because it was my second name ang nasa list! Haha! But they found it naman.
For real na talaga! Haha! I paid Php1058 for the shipping of a 3lbs shoes. Naging belated Anniversary and Father's Day gift na siya, sorry! 
Siyempre he opened it right away in the car!
But worth the wait naman diba?
Ganda!!!! BOS wore it right away, yasss excited! I told him about the hullabaloo I went through dahil sa shoes na yan and because of that hullabaloo, he now has 3 pairs of Adidas Samba (2 replacements were sent!) but I only paid for 1 pair. Ang swerte mo naman 3 pairs of shoes agad, may pampalit ka na lolzzzz! I hope you liked your gift! After 5 years na ulit yung next gift mo ah. Char!

USA Direct PHL
Instagram: @usadirectphl

1211 Quezon Avenue
Cecileville Bldg. Quezon City

Contact No. (02) 411-7495 or +63-917-885-8086

PS. If you are looking for this particular pair, I recently found out that Adidas Samba is now available na in Manila through Sole Academy but I couldn't find it in their website or IG. I just saw it from another person's IG account.