5 Effective Ways to Clear Your Mind – According to Neuroscience

ways to clear your mind

We all want to achieve great things and rise to the challenges that come our way with the mindset of a Champion. However, at times, the only thing standing in your way of doing your best is a troubled mind.

Here, we present you five simple tips that can help you clear your mind and stay calm, as researched by neuroscientists and shared on Psychology Today. Through these tips, you will be on your way to getting ahead in life as you set out to achieve your goals and make a difference through the things that you do.

1. Mindfulness

A study conducted by researchers at Brown University in the United States has found that people can learn how to manipulate their alpha rhythms in the somatosensory cortex (the area of the brain that receives sensory input from the body) as they shift their attention through mindfulness training. Thus, to put it simply, mindfulness involves consciously thinking about the thoughts that go through your mind and accepting them without getting carried away. This form of “active thinking” helps you free your mind of negative and depressive thoughts and push forward to achieve your goals with renewed confidence.

2. Distraction

Our minds work by thinking of one thing at a time. Thus, when you shift your attention on one thing, you are purposefully ignoring other thought processes that might be going on at the same time.

This act of ignoring involves finding a “distraction”, whereby we forget about the unpleasant thoughts that go through our minds and rely on external sources to draw our attention away from them. Some examples of these external sources include talking to a friend who reminds you that everything will turn out well in the end, or to volunteer your time and energy towards a worthy cause, putting all selfish thoughts aside.

3. Suppression

When your mind gets overwhelmed with various things to think about, bad feelings and negative thoughts are bound to crop up amid it all. In your bid to avoid that unpleasant feeling, you do what it takes to ignore and put these thoughts at the back of your head. This thought process is called suppression, which involves us consciously ignoring something to avoid further complications.

Although this method may temporarily work to block out distractions, do note that suppression requires a lot of willpower for it to work, as we need to keep our emotions in control. At the end of the day, there is only so much that we can contain until these bottled-up feelings bring out the worst in us (i.e think of a can of carbonated drink bursting open). Before you get to the point of breaking down, another block-out method which you can consider is substitution – which will be discussed in more detail below.

4. Substitution

Do not lose hope just yet if suppression does not help to clear your mind when you really need it to – there may be hope in substitution. Researchers at the University of Cambridge found that memory substitution is supported by caudal prefrontal cortex (the part of the brain which determines one’s personality) and mid-ventrolateral prefrontal cortex which controls one’s memories. Together, these two regions work together to bring specific memories to light amidst distracting memories.

Substitution involves using your imagination to replace unpleasant thoughts with more positive ones. It allows you to create new memories by pretending you are in a different place or experiencing something new, although this may be short-lived. However, do use this method with caution, as it can cause some people to live their lives based on what they imagine that they stray so far away from reality.

5. Meditation

Lastly, meditation is another popular method used to calm a troubled mind. While there are several ways to meditate, they all share a common purpose: to observe your thoughts consciously and watch them drift by. There is no specific sitting posture required in order to meditate – all you need to do is to assume a comfortable position, sit still and focus on the rhythm of your breathing.

 

Read also: 8 Things Parents Do to Raise Successful Children, According to Research

Find out how you can bring out the best in your child through effective learning techniques and thinking skills with MindChamps’ Thinking Cap programme. Click here to book a complimentary personal coaching session for your child now! 

This article was first published on the MindChamps blog

 

March School Holiday 2017 – 12 Amazing Activities for Children

The March School Holiday is upon us, and both parents and their children are all set to enjoy this short break from the usual school routines and homework marathons. To help you make the most of this week-long break, we have put together a list of activities that are happening during the holiday week – ranging from enriching school holiday programmes to must-not-miss theatre shows and exhibitions.

Check them out now:

Stage and Theatre Productions

1. A Peter Rabbit Tale

March school holiday 2017
(Image: SISTIC)

Based on the much-loved Beatrix Potter children’s classic, A Peter Rabbit Tale follows the musical adventure of Peter as he discovers the importance of family and the value of being true to yourself by exploring new places and the people he meets along the way. In true Peter Rabbit style, he gets up to all sorts of mischief and lands himself in a web of troubles – the last straw came when he breaks the rules and steals from Mr. McGregor’s garden. Worried about what his beloved mum might say, he decides to leave his comfy rabbit hole and run away into the “big world”.

This show is recommended for children aged 4 to 8.

Date: 24 February to 14 April 2017

Time: Weekdays 10am, Weekends and Public Holidays 11am & 2pm

Venue: KC Arts Centre – Home of SRT

Ticket Prices: Starts from $25

Book now!

2. The Ant & The Grasshopper

March school holiday 2017
(Image: SISTIC)

In the original fable by Aesop, the ants were a hardworking bunch who worked all day while the grasshopper did not understand why one should work hard. With unexpected twists and turns to the tale, there are many lessons we can learn from this interactive musical which revolves around friendship, rewards for hard work, generosity and judging others.

This show is a must-watch for the whole family!

Date: 18 February to 19 March 2017

Time: Various timings available

Venue: SOTA Drama Theatre

Ticket prices: $32 (For both adults and children)

Book now!

3. The Wonderful World of Disney on Ice

March school holiday 2017
(Image: Singapore Sports Hub)

Join Mickey, Minnie, Donald and Goofy as they take you on a walk down memory lane to relive the wonderful Disney moments through your favourite films. From diving into the East Australian Current with Dory, Nemo and Marlin to discover the true meaning of family to prowling the Pride Lands of Africa with Simba, Timon and Pumbaa, there’s something magical for everyone in the family to enjoy during the school holiday.

Date: 15 to 19 March 2017

Time: Various timings available

Venue: Singapore Indoor Stadium

Ticket prices: $25 to $120

Book now!

 

Check out the holiday programmes that are on-going during the break, and enrol your children now – before seats run out! More on the next page…

26 Little Things that Mean a Lot to Your Children

things that mean a lot to children

Sharing special moments with your children need not be a complicated or extravagant affair – all you need to do is to take a few minutes each day to show them how much you love and appreciate them. While some of these tiny surprises may seem silly to you, to your children these are memories which they will remember for years to come.

Here are some simple gestures that you can start off with to make your child’s day:

  1. Slip a note (or a tiny piece of chocolate) into their lunch box.
  2. Go for short walks with each child individually to enjoy quality one-on-one time.
  3. Put up their artwork on the fridge door, or frame it up and put it in your bedroom.
  4. Have them teach you something they know, instead of you teaching them everything all the time. Once you get the hang of it, tell them that they make a great teacher.
  5. Wear the DIY necklace they made for you as often as possible – after all, they put a lot of love and effort into this masterpiece!
  6. Set their picture as your phone background or desktop wallpaper.
  7. Say “yes” to something you won’t usually let them do once in a while, such as having ice cream before dinner.
  8. Show them photos of yourself as a child, and compare them with their baby pictures.
  9. Write a note that says “I love you” in a variety of ways – spell it out, draw a picture or use stickers – and hide them in unexpected places for them to track down.
  10. Let them fight their own battles and stand up for themselves during play dates, and only step in when necessary.
  11. Make dinner time fun: blow bubbles after dessert or have everyone wear party hats – they will always look back to silly family moments like this!
  12. Put down your phone and cuddle with them for small talk before bedtime.
  13. Say “yes” instead of “in a little while” when they ask you for something.
  14. Praise them for something they did right each day, and do keep an eye out for that attribute.
  15. Shower them with big hugs and kisses, even if they resist.
  16. Resist from flooding them with “how was school today?” questions if they look grumpy and tired. Having this conversation over dinner might be a better idea.
  17. Let them overhear you say something wonderful about them.
  18. Print and frame up their childhood photos to remind them of the beautiful moments of growing up.
  19. When they make a fuss, don’t be too quick to tell them to let it go. They are entitled to vent their frustrations too.
  20. Make pancakes in their favourite shapes for breakfast.
  21. Thank them when they help out with house chores willingly – even if it involves simple things like hanging their own towel or putting their dirty laundry into the basket.
  22. Read them their favourite book before bedtime.
  23. Sit down with them to play and paint, and stop fretting over the mess they are making. Cleaning up can come later, but memories like this last a lifetime!
  24. Put on their favourite music and have a dance party at home.
  25. Put up a family mantra on your fridge door (Unstoppable! We can, we will – because we’ve got this!), and remind them about it when they feel like giving up.
  26. Start a family tradition so that they have something to look forward to: Pizza Fridays, Saturday evening jog, year-end holidays.

 

Discover how the enrichment programmes at MindChamps can help to instil the Champion Mindset in your child and help them to excel in school and in life. Find out more here or book a complimentary one-on-one session with us.

Self-Help Rules! 10 Tips for Teaching Children to be More Independent

teaching children to be more independent

During the early years, it is only natural that we take care of our children’s self-care tasks, as they have yet to gain the skills and stability to get these done by themselves. However, psychologists and early childhood experts warn that making this a habit as they grow up could lead to a host of behavioural problems in children and hinder them from picking up some of the most important life skills.

Jeanne Williams, a Canadian psychologist says that habitually doing things for your children that they are capable of doing by themselves sends a subtle message that you, as a parent, do not have confidence in their abilities. This results in a child who lacks the independence, self-esteem and problem-solving skills who can’t (or won’t) do age-appropriate tasks – also known as “learned helplessness”.

Similarly, Jim Taylor, Ph.D. who teaches psychology at the University of San Francisco says that independence is not something your children can learn on their own, as they lack the perspective, experience and skills to develop this skill. Instead, he emphasises that parents “give independence as a gift to their children”, as it is one which they will cherish and benefit from for the rest of their lives.

The good news is that it is not too late to teach your children to gain independence, and these tips serve as a good starting point:

1. Teach problem-solving skills

Children were not born with the natural ability to problem-solve independently – they rely on their parents to teach them. While some may pick up this skill as they get more practice working on challenging tasks, there is also the tendency to be dependent on parent intervention.

One useful strategy to use in situations like this is the “try three” method. This involves getting your children to come up with three strategies on their own first to solve their problems. When none of those work, step in to brainstorm with your children using these three points:

  • State the problem
  • Identify the barriers to fixing the problems
  • List three possible solutions

By showing them how to break down the problem into manageable parts, your children will learn to take control and solve problems independently.

2. Encourage exploration

According to Taylor, most parents keep their children on a fairly short “leash” during the early years to ensure their safety. This builds your child’s sense of security and teaches them that they have a safe place to return to and that you are there to protect them when needed.

However, there is a fine line to establish between security and dependence. Once your children have established their sense of security, we should encourage them to explore the world beyond the “safety net”. This push factor gives children the opportunity to test their capabilities in the “real world” and helps them find a sense of competence, security and independence within themselves.

3. Don’t push

While there is a need to let our children spread their wings and fly as previously discussed, do bear in mind that there are some who need more time and emotional support before getting to that point of readiness. Let them take the lead in this aspect and be there for them to show unconditional love and support. Once they feel safe and secure, they will progress towards independence.

4. Look out for opportunities

Help your child to get started on the journey to independence by making a list of things that he/she can start doing solo. You might also want to get him/her involved by asking which tasks he/she feels confident enough to take on – this will increase his/her willingness to try. Check out this article for some suggested tasks to add to your list.

5. Create an independent environment

Get down to your child’s height and take a look at the setup of your home. Is he/she able to reach for things without assistance? Establishing a child-friendly home environment gives children the comfort and confidence to operate on their own, as they learn to meet their own needs.

 

Helping your child embrace failure helps to instil a sense of independence in them. More on this and other tips to teach children to be more independent on the next page.

How to Raise an Emotionally Resilient Child – Tips and Advice from Experts

how to raise an emotionally resilient child

Some people always seem to bounce back no matter what setbacks befall them, while others seem to be greatly affected by their misfortunes. Those who bounce back from adversity are described as ‘emotionally resilient’.

People who are emotionally resilient have been found to be more successful in school and work – they are also healthier, happier, they live longer and are less likely to experience depression. Andrew Shatté and Karen Reivich, authors of The Resilience Factor, say that resilient people are better able to deal with stress and adversity, and more likely to explore new opportunities. On the other hand, children with lower levels of emotional resilience have been found to be at greater risk of poor educational performance.

The good news is that children can be taught to challenge their previous thinking and learn cognitive skills that will help them develop emotional resilience.

What is emotional resilience?

Emotional resilience is the ability to cope, change and persevere when things go wrong.

A resilient person is one who is able to recover quickly after a setback, which can be as simple as struggling to construct a wooden tower block, or as profound as coming to terms with the death of a loved one. People – including young children – who are emotionally resilient employ positive and optimistic thinking patterns to deal with life’s setbacks.

Emotional resilience is not necessarily something we are born with, but children can learn the cognitive skills that support resilience. These skills include activities such as thinking, reasoning, conceiving, imagining, fantasising and constructing a self-image.

More than the genetics of intelligence, resilience is determined by our thinking style – and as we will see, thinking style is something that we can influence, even in very young children. Thus, it makes good sense to start developing emotional resilience in children at an early age. When warm, caring adults foster realistic optimism and a positive worldview, the children around them develop lifelong emotional resilience.

 

MindChamps’ Thinking Cap programme fosters emotional resilience in your child and empowers him/her with effective thinking skills and learning techniques. Book your seats to our upcoming complimentary workshop to find out more!

 

Tips for building emotional resilience in children

Here are some key ‘resilience skills’ and some suggestions for how you, as a parent, can develop these skills in your children.

1. Impulse control

Impulse control is best defined as the ability to control impulses and ‘wait’, while avoiding being over-emotional or losing control. Poor impulse control can lead to problematic behaviour such as over-spending or violent behaviour in adolescence and adulthood.

How to help your child achieve it:

  • Calm your child down if s/he is about to lash out physically when upset
  • Encourage him/her to delay gratification by saying, “Good things come to those who wait” and “You can’t always have everything you want!” (especially while shopping)
  • In ‘the heat of the moment’, use strategies such as taking deep breaths, counting to 10…or just walking away

2. Understanding cause and effect

Understanding the notion of cause and effect is a necessary skill, as it helps to keep our impulses under control and plan future outcomes. This involves understanding where the responsibility lies in a given situation and whether it is within our control, and the fact that volitional choices can and do change the outcome of any situation.

An understanding of cause and effect is not only helpful in social and emotional circumstances – it also underpins all logical thoughts in areas such as science, mathematics and literature.

So, do take the first step to teaching your children to take responsibility for their choices and to understand that better choices create positive outcomes.

How to help your child achieve it:

  • If your child wants another child’s toy, explain that simply grabbing it from another will probably just lead to a fight
  • Talk children through an “I want it now” urge

 

How do you open up your child’s mind to other points of view and instil empathy and self-confidence in him/her? Find out more on the next page.

How to Help Children Deal with Change: Simple Strategies that Work

helping children deal with change

The world we live in today is constantly changing. From having to move house, to making new friends and welcoming new products and information in the market, the pace of change is progressing at a rate that is faster than what we are able to keep up with at times.

Change can be overwhelming, especially for children who thrive on routine and appreciate the comfort of knowing what happens when. While we try our best to shelter our children from the effects of the changes that happen in their lives, it is also important that we teach them to cope with change – both big and small – and arm them with valuable life skills along the way.

Coping with change starts with building resilience

Records of research conducted indicate that children learn how to cope with change and the ups and downs of life by developing resilience. Widely known as one of the inherent traits we are all born with, psychologists have confirmed that resilience is, in fact, one of the most important qualities that parents can teach their children – alongside compassion and gratitude.

Studies have shown that children as young as two years old learn about stress management and coping strategies by watching and copying the actions of the adults around them. In addition, there is also concrete evidence which indicates how good early relationships with carers can help to make children more resilient – and the earlier this resilience-building is started, the better.

5 simple tips for helping children cope with change

As parents, we can build resilience in our children by letting them know that although some aspects of life are bound to change, your love and care for them remains constant.

Here are some simple strategies which you can put in place to help your children:

1. Answer their questions

Your children will have a lot of questions on their mind, so you need to create an environment in which they feel secure asking you about the changes they are going through. Asking questions is a way of helping them process the change and the answers they receive from both mum and dad will help them deal with the transition.

2. Give them advance notice

Nobody enjoys coping with changes that occur out of a sudden, so we should not expect our children to embrace changes that are thrown to them without a moment’s notice. To ensure that both of you get a good head start in embracing the change, do talk them through the changes early to allow them to get their heads around it. Make sure to give them opportunities to ask questions as well, as this helps them cope with the change.

3. Keep to routines as much as possible

Do not attempt to change everything at once. As much as possible, try to keep all routines in your children’s lives in place – and this includes bedtime routines, TV and homework time and the books you read to them.

4. Give them time to grieve

When we move to a new place, change schools or make any changes in life, we leave memories behind. Let your children talk to you about what they miss and don’t jump into pointing out all the wonderful things about the new change right away. Give them time to “mourn” for what they have lost before helping them move on with life.

5. Expect some regression

While coping with change, it is common for children to regress to earlier behaviours. For example, a child who had been toilet trained may revert back to soiling himself/herself and one who have learnt to sleep without a night light would once again be afraid to sleep in the dark. Take comfort in knowing that it is normal for them to behave this way, and try to be patient as you work with them to get past old habits and behaviours.

 

Empower your child with effective learning and thinking skills which will help him/her excel in school and in life. Find out more about MindChamps’ Thinking Cap programme now – book seats to our upcoming complimentary workshop!

These Expert Tips Can Help Your Child Beat Exam Stress!

help your child beat exam stress

Tests and exams can be a major source of stress during the schooling years for both children and their parents. However, there are ways to help your child cope with the pressure and ace the exams.

Here are some simple pointers to help you get started:

1. Look out for the signs of exam stress

Recognise the warning signs that your child is feeling stressed or on the verge of burning out. Some common signs of stress include:

  • Irritable
  • Not sleeping well
  • Low mood
  • Low confidence
  • Queasy tummy, headache or flare up of skin conditions such as eczema

Having your child talk to someone about their work can help to ease their worries and keep things in perspective. This can be a parent, tutor or friend – just as long as they feel comfortable talking to them about their challenges.

If you sense that your child is still not coping well with exam stress, it might be worthwhile to talk to their teachers in school and come up with a game plan to help him/her manage the stress, both at home and in school.

2. Set goals and expectations that are achievable

According to Dr. Ramya Mohan, a London-based consultant psychiatrist, it is important for parents to understand and focus on their child’s strengths and interests, while at the same time acknowledge their weaknesses.

You can tell them stories about how other children with similar weak points braved through the challenges or how they managed to overcome all obstacles with the help of a mentor. This can help children work out solutions to their own difficulties in a gentler, more inspiring way. At the end of the day, the key lesson to reinforce is that failure is part of the learning process and that we all learn from our mistakes.

3. Set up a cosy study corner

When your child is studying or going through their homework, it is necessary to set up a study corner that is comfortable and conducive to work in, while keeping distractions away. All the materials needed should be within reach so that they do not have to spend time to track them down – this includes the basics such as pens, pencils, sticky notes, printer and paper, as well as electronic devices such as tablets and laptops/PC.

Will your child be facing PSLE next year? Get an early head start with the preparations with MindChamps’ PSLE Success™ programme – enquire now!

4. Help your child with the prep work

Guide your child in planning ahead for their exams by setting up the following in your home:

  • Pin up the exam schedule in a visible place (e.g. on the fridge), as this helps to ensure that everyone in the family is aware.
  • Create a revision timeline and a set of to-do list to work on as the exam day draws near.

On top of the revision preparations, ensure that your child takes notes of all the minor details during exam day, such as the time to report in for the exam and the room in which the exam will be conducted. Having all these details in mind can help to minimise their worry on the day itself.

5. Talk about exam nerves

It is natural for your child to feel nervous during the exam period, but you can help him/her get through this in a positive way. Remind your child of the work he/she has put into studying and the amount of knowledge that he/she has by now, as these could go a long way to give your nervous child that much-needed confident boost.

 

Want to know how study breaks, nutritious meals and a good night’s sleep help your child cope with exam stress? More on this on the next page.

5 Simple Ways to Remember What You Learn

how to help your child remember better

From your children’s daily schedule to your email and social media passwords, the list of things that you need to remember daily is pretty exhaustive. Chances are, your children might be grappling with the same issues too, especially when exams draw near.

Fret not – all hope is not lost just yet! There is a group of “memory athletes” whose main goal is to help you remember the things that you see and learn each day. This group of people travel the world to showcase their skills and have recently competed in the Extreme Memory Tournament held in June 2016 in San Diego California.

Here are some great advice and simple strategies shared by these memory champs to help you – and your child – learn and remember better:

1. Create a memory palace

The memory palace functions based on the fact that our spatial memories (part of memory responsible for recording information about one’s environment and its spatial orientation) overpowers our memories for specific words or objects.

According to Alex Mullen, World Memory Champion, it is probably easier for you to recall where in your home you store your stationeries. You can apply this innate ability to other things that are harder to remember, such as your grocery list.

How to get started: Take your grocery list which might include items such as apples, paper towels, bread and milk. As you walk through your home, use your imagination to create a scene of each item in a designated space. For example, you imagine a group of kids bobbing for apples in the living room, while you picture your furniture in the dining area covered in rolls of paper towels. As you walk towards your bedroom, you picture a giant gobbling on loaves of bread in your bed and in the bathroom you see the sink overflowing with milk.

MindChamps’ Professor Snyder’s Thinking Cap Learning System equips your child with effective learning and thinking skills which he/she can apply to the MOE curriculum. Book seats for yourself and your child to find out more during our upcoming complimentary workshop!

2. Picture a scene in your mind

Visual memories are formed in a similar pattern to how a camera records an image. The things that we see gets imprinted in a specific set of brain cells in our hippocampus, much like how a photograph is processed. This series of events is called encoding.

We often misplace things like our keys, phone or car because we store so many versions of those memories which are very similar to each other. As your brain works hard to encode thousands of those memories, over time they begin to blur.

How to get started: To consistently improve your memory, you need to work hard at keeping those recollections apart. As suggested by Memory Champion Joshua Foer, the next time you set down your keys, try creating a precise scene in your head by paying attention to the minor details. For example, take note of the surface on which you have placed the keys on – is it made of wood, steel or concrete, and what colour is it. Also try to notice other objects nearby that can help you remember better.

3. Build an emotional connection

Establishing some form of connection with an object or place can help you remember the details better.

In a recent review, researchers from Harvard and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) studied the comparison between how well people could remember photographs and the colour of a few simple squares. At the end of this exercise, it was found that people fared better at remembering details about the photos than those of the squares. The researchers deduced that the difference in results might be related to people’s ability to link things in photos with their own feelings and memories, which helps them remember the details better.

How to get started: To learn and remember better, revisit the previous point discussed by thinking in pictures. Once you have created a picture or scene in your head, try to connect it with a past experience or find a way to link that picture with a significant memory.

 

Richard Of York Gave Battle In Vain – Find out how the use of mnemonics and connecting “the old with new” can help you to remember things better!

12 Basic Skills Every Child Should Have by the Time they Turn 18

skills every child should have by 18

As parents, our children mean the world to us and we would do anything to protect and raise them to become happy and well-adjusted individuals who are ready to face the world. However, this form of overparenting often ends up with the opposite effect, leaving our children unprepared to face and function in the world as adults.

Julie Lythcott-Haims, former dean of freshmen at Stanford University and author of “How to Raise an Adult: Break Free of the Overparenting Trap and Prepare Your Kid for Success”, says that we, as parents, might be doing too much for our children. “We have the very best of intentions, but when we over-help, we deprive them of the chance to learn these really important things that it turns out they need to learn to be prepared to be out in the world of work, to get an apartment, to make their way through an unfamiliar town, to interact with adults who aren’t motivated by love,” she emphasises.

So, if you are looking to free the reins of helicopter parenting and prepare your child for life as a confident young adult, Lythcott-Haims shares this list of basic skills which every child should know by the time they are done with school:

1. Wake up on time by themselves

Once your children grow up to become teenagers, they should have the confidence to wake themselves up and get ready for school in clean clothing. However, a lot of young adults are experiencing difficulties in basic skills such as this, as their parents are often on standby to ensure that the morning school routine goes smoothly.

“We feel the stakes are high, and therefore we must help, but the stakes are low in childhood compared to what they will be in college, and what they’ll really be in the world beyond,” Lythcott-Haims explains.

2. Put together their own meals

While it is normal practice for you to prepare meals for the family on most days, you might want to give your children the opportunity to learn to fix their own meals too. This sort of competence can be achieved with practice and over time, their confidence in this basic skill of survival gradually develops. “By the time your [child] is in high school, they really ought to be able to do everything related to their own care, if they had to,” Lythcott-Haims affirms.

3. Help with household chores and go grocery shopping

We need to teach our children to do basic household chores from young, as there are important lessons to be learnt from this simple act. Not only are you teaching them the value of helping out at home, this also teaches them about responsibility and the domestic skills that will come in handy later on in life.

Once they feel confident enough about their abilities in taking care of household chores, they should be ready to tackle grocery shopping as well. Teenagers should know how to find their way in a supermarket on their own and shop for essential items for the home, at least with the help of a shopping list. To do this successfully, Lythcott-Haims recommends that parents “show their [children] the ropes, watch them do it themselves once to make sure they’ve got it, and then let them handle it on their own.”

Find out how the programmes at MindChamps could help your child do well in school and in life! Book a complimentary personal coaching session to know more.

4. Order at restaurants

If your teens have yet to order for themselves while eating out, it is high time that you let them give this a try – instead of them assuming that mum or dad will order for the whole family. To do this, remind them to look the server in the eye, be polite when communicating their request and end it with a “thank you”.

“One day before long, they’re going to be out with friends, and they’re going to want to have that skill to not only order food, but to do so respectfully,” Lythcott-Haims says.

5. Find his/her way around

Most of us have made it a habit to drive or accompany our children everywhere, even when they can easily make their way to the destination through public transport or by walking. As a result, they become heavily dependent on us for directions and struggle with deciding on the transportation options that will get them there. This is a skill which they will need later on in life as they navigate their way around the city where they are working or studying, both locally and abroad.

To give your children the confidence in finding their own way, do give them opportunities to run small errands by themselves (e.g. to head to the neighbourhood shopping mall for some groceries) and have a go at meeting their friends at a designated place with the help of Google maps and the public transportation system.

 

Teaching your child to “talk to strangers” and have the courage to take risks could benefit them as they grow up. More details of this on the next page.

Are You Raising a Quitter? Here’s How You Can Inspire Your Child to Persevere

“It’s not that I am so smart; it’s just that I stay with problems longer.

– Albert Einstein

 

perseverance in children

As they grow up, our children will inevitably face challenges both big and small every day. In dealing with life’s challenges, do they accept defeat and give up easily, or do they try again and persevere?

Numerous research have shown that perseverance (the ability to stick with tough tasks) is often used as a measure of how successful our children will be in life. Children who learn to bounce back and refuse to allow setbacks get them down have gained a very important life skill that will help them succeed in this competitive world today.

But what can you do if you happen to be raising a child who gets discouraged easily? Read on for some simple, proven strategies to turn your child’s “I give up!” into “I did it!”:

1. Tone down your praises

We often find ourselves showering our children with praises and words of encouragement in a bid to inspire them with the belief that they can do anything, as long as they set their mind to it. However, this action might result in the opposite effect by stifling their self-confidence and turning on the need for constant affirmation for their efforts.

A study conducted by Carol S. Dweck, Ph.D., a Stanford University psychology professor and author of Mindset: The New Psychology of Success, revealed that children who are commended for their results or ability tend to fall apart when things do not go their way. On the other hand, children who are praised for their effort are more likely to persevere as they learn that every achievement in life is a result of hard work.

Based on the findings of the study, the key is to create a good balance in praising and to focus your words on your child’s actions, rather than his/her ability. This includes telling him/her that you admire the creativity that he/she has put in to complete the task or how he/she takes things in stride with a positive attitude.

2. Be a good role model

As with other aspects of parenting, your children are more likely to follow what you do rather than what you say. This principle rings true especially when it involves values that you hope to instil in your kids.

Show your children that you persevere on a task even when things get challenging – it is alright for them to see how you handle your own struggles every once in a while. To take things further, you can also initiate a family motto which incorporates perseverance such as “Winners never quit, quitters never win” and “We finish what we started”. With a family motto of commitment to live by, your children will be more likely to use it when they are facing their own challenges and won’t be succumbed to say, “I quit!”.

3. Help them look at failure from a different light

Most children tend to give up due to a fear of failing and falling behind their peers. Thus, it is essential that you explain to your child that setbacks are an essential part of the learning process and not a hurdle that prevents them from achieving their goals.

Dr. Jim Taylor, author of Your Children are Listening: Nine Messages They Need to Hear from You, shares that when his children face hurdles such as trying to spell simple words, he tells them that the most important thing is to keep going – if they do that long enough, they will get there eventually. To give them a motivational boost, he drills this phrase to them: “The only failure is not trying.”

The way your child learns and thinks could determine his/her success in school. Find out how the programmes at MindChamps could benefit your child’s academic progress – book your seats to our next complimentary workshop now!

4. Remind them about their past successes

“The principle of not giving up is very transferable,” shares David Shenk, author of The Genius in All of Us: New Insights into Genetics, Talent and IQ.

The great thing about perseverance is that children who have applied this on any given task tend to carry the same drive, determination and confidence to other pursuits. So, the next time your child tells you that he/she is giving up, it may be helpful to remind him/her about the times when he/she succeeded in the past and encourage him/her to persevere until the goals are met.

5. Share stories and wise words on perseverance

Apart from building your child’s literacy skills, books are also a great tool to reinforce values to them, including the concept of perseverance. Some inspiring titles that you could start off with include “Giraffes Can’t Dance”, a tale of Gerald the giraffe who could finally dance, thanks to his determination and encouragement from an unlikely friend; and The Most Magnificent Thing, which follows the adventures of an unnamed girl as she perseveres to create her very own “magnificent thing”.

You can also share the following quotes to remind your child to “try, try again” if they don’t succeed the first time:

“Great works are performed not by strength but by perseverance.” – Samuel Johnson

“Winners never quit and quitters never win.” – Vince Lombardi

“Perseverance is failing 19 times and succeeding the 20th.” – Julie Andrews

 “I have not failed. I have found 10,000 ways that did not work.” – Thomas Edison

 

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You Can Help Your Child Persevere by Instilling the Champion Mindset in them!

perseverance in children

Apart from putting the suggested strategies into practice to encourage your child to persevere, you can take this further by enrolling him/her for MindChamps’ Professor Snyder’s Thinking Cap Learning System.

Incorporating the latest requirements in the MOE curriculum, the programme empowers your children with effective learning and thinking skills to help them excel in school, and fosters emotional resilience and effective communication skills in them. The combination of all these skills will help them do well in primary and secondary school, as well as upon moving on to tertiary studies and beyond.

Book your seats for our upcoming workshops to find out more about the programme.