Monday, February 18, 2013

Teach your child to focus

The ability to focus on a goal is probably one of the most important lessons you can teach your child. 

Luckily, there are many things you can do at home to improve your child's ability to focus. 

Whether your child suffers from Attention Deficit Disorder or simply has trouble with inattention 

at school, not being able to focus can cause problems with your child's grades and 

comprehension. Instead of becoming frustrated by your child's lack of focus at school, seek to 

understand and remedy the problem. 

With the help of a committed teacher, coping mechanisms and exercises at home, you can help your child 

focus in school and become more successful in learning.

Step 1: Meet the teacher face to face. If your child's teacher has sent home a report card or note about your 

child's inattention, talk to her about it so that you can better understand the problem. 

Step 2Make sure your child has enough physical activities throughout the day. Studies by leading 

universities show that children who participated in physical activities throughout the day exhibited better focus 

in the classroom.

Step 3Assess changes that may have occurred in your family that could cause inattention. Sometimes, big 

changes like a new house, a change in the family or a new baby occupy your child's mind so that he has 

difficulty focusing. If you find that changes are the cause for the lack of focus, take time to talk about them 

with your child. This may help stop any anxiety about the changes in your home

Step 4:

Play focus-related games at home with your child as practice. You can make your own games, but traditional 

board games that require focus, like "Monopoly," "Battleship" and "Operation," can all help your child learn 

the right way to focus


Wednesday, February 13, 2013

What are your kid’s talents and natural inclinations

Remember that what your child enjoys doing is a good indicator of what he’s good at doing

One of the great things about having kids is you get to experience things (good things) that you didn’t get to experience in your own childhood. You get to see the world through your child’s eyes. And this is an opportunity that shouldn’t be missed.

So it’s important to stay open to whatever your child chooses for her hobbies, school courses, college major and career goals. Not every happy, successful adult is a prestigious physician or attorney. In fact, neither satisfaction in life nor financial success are related to being the top student in high school. Most millionaires in America run Mom-and-Pop businesses like gas stations and mini-marts. A lot of millionaires were high school dropouts.

One of your jobs as a parent, then, is to figure out what your kid’s talents and natural inclinations are. You can then provide extra-curricular experiences to develop those talents. Extra-curricular experiences can be classes or organized activities, but also they can be just your interest and support.

Kids whose natural talents lie in other areas, like art, athletics, or music, for example, might have more trouble in school or might feel that school isn’t right for them.
Obviously, every child needs to learn to read, write and do math. It’s hard to function without these skills. But clearly not every school child is going to be an A student. This doesn’t mean the C students are hopelessly mediocre. It just means that school’s focus doesn’t match the C student’s talents.
So, while of course you want your kid to stay in school, you also want him to follow his own path to success. Try not to steer him too forcefully into the way you’d like him to go. Your dreams may not be his dreams. 

In addition, remember that people these days have serial careers. Most adults do not work in fields directly related to their college majors. Many adults wind up in careers that no one could’ve predicted from what they did for their first jobs.
As you help your child figure out how to spend the coming summer months, keep in mind what talents she’d like to develop. As you consider with your teenager what courses to take next year or what college major to focus on, remember that what your child enjoys doing is a good indicator of what he’s good at doing. 


Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Effects of Praise on Children

When it comes to praise, quality over quantity may be the answer to building kids' self-esteem

In many cultures—-like China-—praise is rare. People worry about the effects of praise. That too much praise will inflate the ego...This seems to be an ancient concern. But today things are different. Parents praise their kids all the time.

Why? Because we think that praise is going to make our kids better—more motivated, more confident, more inclined to tackle challenges. But does it really work that way?

Well, yes. Praise can be a powerful form of encouragement. For instance, research in the US indicates that mothers who praise their preschoolers for their good manners have kids with better social skills.

Jennifer Henderlong Corpus and Mark Lepper, psychologists who have analyzed over 30 years of studies on the effects of praise:

They determined that praise can be a powerful motivating force if you follow these guidelines:

Be sincere and specific with your praise

Insincere praise may harm self-esteem and damage relationships 

Praise kids only for traits they have the power to change

While praising kids could motivate and improve self-esteem of child, the flip side is that there is a risk that kids become more cautious. They may avoid challenges. It’s as if they may afraid to do anything that might make them fail and lose your high appraisal. For these reasons, it’s better to avoid praising kids for ability. Instead, praise them for things that they can clearly change—like their level of effort or the strategies they use

Use descriptive praise that conveys realistic, attainable standards

Some praise is merely about making a judgment “Good job!” Other praise provides information about what the recipient did right: “I like the way you begin your essay by describing the problem and explaining why it’s important.” The latter is called descriptive praise, and it is thought to be more helpful than general praise

Be careful about praising kids for achievements that come easily

If you praise kids for easy tasks, kids may conclude there is something wrong: Either you’re too dumb to realize how easy the task is, or you think the kids are dumb. Such interpretations are unlikely to occur to younger children. But as kids mature, they become more sophisticated about the social meaning of praise

Be careful about praising kids for doing what they already love to do

It’s okay to praise kids for doing what they like to do. But be careful not to go overboard—particularly with older kids. When you praise kids every time they do something they enjoy, it might actually reduce their motivation

Encourage kids to focus on mastering skills—not on comparing themselves to others

Social-comparison praise is only motivating as long as kids continue to finish first. If their competitive edge slips, kids are likely to lose motivation. In essence, kids who are accustomed to social-comparison praise become poor losers. Also social-comparison praise teaches kids that competitive standing, not mastery, is the goal.



Sunday, February 10, 2013

Activities to improve your child's thinking skills

  • Encourage pretend play:  Let your child be the “director.” This helps her develop her own ideas. It also strengthens her thinking skills as she uses logic in her play: The dog has to go back in his house because it’s raining. You can help her develop her ideas by asking questions: What is the doggy feeling? Why? What might happen next?
  • Offer materials that help your child act out the stories he’s creating —hats, dress-up clothing, toy dishes, child-sized brooms, pads of paper, blocks, play food and household objects like big cardboard boxes, blankets, pillows, etc.

  •  Ask questions during your everyday play and routines. As you go through your day together, ask your child questions about what the two of you are seeing: Why do you think the leaves fall from the trees? Where do you think the butterfly is going? This gets your child’s mind working and lets her know that you are interested in her ideas.
  • Offer lots of chances to explore in creative ways. Take nature walks. Play with sand and water. Give your child objects he can take apart and investigate. By exploring objects during play, children figure out how things work and develop problem-solving skills.
  • Use everyday routines to notice patterns. Using language to explain these patterns helps your child become a logical thinker and increases her vocabulary “When the buzzer rings, the clothes are dry.” “You wear mittens to keep your hands warm when it’s cold.”
  • Sort and categorize through the day. Your child can separate laundry into piles of socks, shirts, and pants. He can help set the table and organize the forks, plates and spoons. At clean-up time, have him put the cars on one shelf and books on another.
  • Talk about feelings. Help your child develop a feelings vocabulary. Put words to what you think she might be feeling. You are so mad that we have to leave the park. This helps your child understand and cope with her emotions. Talk about what others might be feeling: That little girl is jumping up and down and smiling. How do you think she feels?
  • Encourage your child to test out different solutions to problems, rather than doing it for him: You might suggest he try the square block in another hole in his shape-sorter, or add some blocks to the bottom of his tower to keep it from collapsing.