Once dismissed as an innocuous leisure pastime of children during summer holidays, mind games particularly scrabble and chess are making a huge comeback within upwardly mobile middle class households. Repackaged as mind sports in the new millennium, scrabble, chess, contract bridge, backgammon among others, which test the mental strength and mettle of participants, are becoming popular among millennial parents increasingly disillusioned and frustrated with their children’s obsession with digital devices. Within schools and education institutions too, mind sports are being encouraged for all children, especially those uninterested in conventional competitive physical sports. With several organisations such as the International Mind Sports Organisation, World English Language Scrabble Players Association, and World Memory Sports Council organising international, national, state and local level tournaments, mind sports are now played competitively providing all children the opportunity to win awards and encomiums.
In this month’s cover story, we beam a spotlight on the rising popularity of mind sports and their beneficial impact on children and youth. New research highlights that playing non-digital mind sports boosts children’s self-confidence, improves memory and cognitive capabilities, develops 21st century skills such as critical thinking and camaraderie. Indeed, with neural stability and mental agility increasingly linked with physical well-being and prevention of dementia and Alzheimer’s disease, a new genre brain-games industry has sprung up in the West. According to estimates, the online brain games industry led by neuroscience research companies such as Lumosity, is expected to surpass $1 billion in revenues by 2020. In our cover feature, we explain why for growing children mind sports are as important as physical exercise.
There’s more in this October issue of ParentsWorld. Check out the Early Childhood feature on the critical importance of adequate sleep in the early years; the Middle Years story on how parents can help children overcome maths anxiety and in the Adolescence section, experts provide useful advice to parents struggling to strike a balance between respecting the privacy of adolescent children and ensuring their safety from online and offline predators (may their tribe perish). Moreover as usual, the Health & Nutrition column by Vellore-based pediatrician Dr. Gita Mathai, Your Counselor Replies and Ask the Doctor columns provide parents excellent advice on a wide range of parenting challenges.