How to Motivate Your Child to Be Successful

coach your child to success

It’s no secret that we live in an achievement-centric society, where it feels like there are insane expectations on us and our children just to keep up. In the frenzy of trying to give our children holistic childhoods and seek the best from them, we can end up placing incredible demands on them. How can we then encourage our children when it comes to academics? How do we continue to affirm them while they may not be doing well?

Here, we offer you the following tips to help you coach your child to attain success in school and in life.

1. Have a vision for your child

When coaching a child, it is tempting to focus solely on academics – particularly if he or she struggles in specific subjects. Take a moment to step back and consider your child’s abilities and personality. What is your vision for your child? What sort of person do you hope they will be? What core values and attributes do you hope to see in your child? If you hope to raise an independent thinker who will be resilient and confident, incorporate that training into your academic coaching too.

2. Focus on the everyday achievements

While we tend to find fault with the things our children do, it is crucial that we focus on the positive. For example, when your child brings home a Mathematics test with an average score, you could say, “That’s a good improvement, you got six marks higher than your previous test!” In the same vein, when they do well in a test, praise their effort, not just their intelligence. Notice what they are doing well in or trying hard at, and praise them for that.

3. Create bite-sized goals

Children respond well to clear and specific instructions, rather than vague concepts. Instead of repeatedly telling your child “You need to study harder for English!”, break your feedback up into small, measurable tasks and goals – such as aiming to do an extra hour of English revision daily, and setting a target grade to achieve in the next class test. This will help your child to clearly understand what is required to improve their academic grades and stay focused when they revise their work.

4. Ask questions

Coaching is a two-way process – be careful not to turn it into a monologue of instructions and warnings for your child. Take the opportunity to ask them how they are coping with school, friends and life in general. By asking open-ended questions and listening closely, your child will feel empowered to openly share their thoughts and feelings with you. This will give you insights on suitable methods in guiding them effectively in academics and other areas of life.

5. Be encouraging when the rubber meets the road

Some days, children find it tough to pick themselves up when they have failed, especially if the failure is repeated. In spite of your disappointment, let them know that failure plays a big part in learning. Most achievements in school occur because of one key character trait – the ability to persevere through difficult and discouraging circumstances.

By encouraging them to be disciplined, put in the hard work and have a hopeful attitude towards challenging tasks, we can help our children develop perseverance. Make the effort to first empathise and understand their feelings by saying things like, “I’m sorry. You must be disappointed that you failed your Chinese test.” Then, encourage and coach them by saying, “Don’t give up, let’s try and think of ways to help you improve.” You can’t do the work of developing perseverance for your children, but you can be their greatest cheerleader, especially when the going gets tough.

With constant guidance and affirmation, your children can be motivated to overcome challenges and meet their potential – at school, and in life!

© 2017 Focus on the Family Singapore. All rights reserved.

Article contributed by Judith Xavier, Focus on the Family Singapore.

Read also: 8 Ways to Encourage Curiosity in Children

5 Common Mistakes to Avoid in PSLE English

psle english mistakes

When it comes to English, mastering the fundamentals of grammar and its correct usage is essential for your child to do well in the subject. However, despite many years of learning the language and going through numerous practice assessments, some students may still find themselves making errors that could have been avoided and thus saving them a few extra points.

Ms Suritha Shah, a PSLE English Trainer at MindChamps, highlights some of the mistakes that students commonly make in the PSLE English paper and shares the correct usage for each.

1. Everyday vs Every Day

‘Everyday’ is an adjective. When used as an adverbial phrase of time, it should be written as ‘every day’.

Incorrect: She jogs in the park everyday.

Correct: She jogs in the park every day.

Here’s how to use ‘everyday’ correctly:

Jogging in the park is her everyday activity.

2. Issues with Apostrophes

When used to depict possession

Apostrophes are commonly used to reflect possession, such as:

Jack’s house

Today’s agenda

However, do take note of the correct placement of apostrophes in the following instances:

* If two people possess the same item, put the apostrophe + s after the second name.

Jack and Helen’s house is magnificent.

* If there is no joint possession and each person owns a separate item, add apostrophe + s to both names.

Jack’s and Helen’s houses are both magnificent.

When it comes to personal pronouns

When using personal pronouns, do not add apostrophe + s.

For example:

Incorrect: It’s leg is injured.

Correct: Its leg is injured.

Incorrect: She turned to face Helen, who’s face was pale.

Correct: She turned to face Helen, whose face was pale.

Omission of apostrophes in contractions

Apostrophes can be used to show an omission of letters, and is commonly used as part of a contraction.

For example:

it is = it’s

does not = doesn’t

has not = hasn’t

Changing a regular noun to the plural form

Do remember not to use apostrophe + s to change a regular noun into plural.

For example:

Holiday should be changed to holidays and not holiday’s

Apostrophe should be changed to apostrophes and not apostrophe’s

3. Were vs Where vs We’re

Here’s what you need to know when using these three words to construct sentences:

‘Were’ is the past tense of the verb ‘to be’.

Examples:

If I were a king, I would live in a grand palace.

They were in school today.

 

‘Where’ is an adverb to indicate ‘in’ or ‘at what place’.

Examples:

Where is the train station?

Where are we going tomorrow?

 

‘We’re’ is the contraction of ‘we are’.

Examples:

We’re going to Sentosa tomorrow.

We’re having a discussion.

4. Lie vs Lay

First of all, do familiarise yourself with the definition of these two words:

Lie – recline or assume a resting position

Lay – to put or place something in a horizontal position

Take into consideration how the past and past participle tenses would differ, when both lie and lay are taken as present tense.

Present Tense: Lie

Past Tense: Lay

Past Participle Tense: Lain

Present Tense: Lay

Past Tense: Laid

Past Participle Tense: Laid

5. Then vs Than

‘Then’ is most commonly used as an adverb. It is used in relation to time and the order in which events occur.

For example:

He ended the call, then packed his bags.

Walk straight, then turn right when you see the huge painting.

 

On the other hand, ‘Than’ is used to express a comparison between two or more items.

For example:

Tom is stronger than Aaron.

 

This article was first published on the MindChamps blog.

Want to know how to help your child do well in PSLE English? Find out more about our PSLE Success programme now and book a one-on-one PSLE Learning Strength Evaluation for your child.

 

5 Ways to Help Your P3 Child to Love Science

primary 3 science

Here in Singapore, students embark on the learning journey to discover the wonders of science in primary 3. While most students start off the journey filled with high hopes and excitement (after all, science truly is a fascinating subject filled with amazing discoveries), they may soon lose interest in the subject upon learning that their love and interest may not be enough to help them score well in the science exams.

So, what can you do to help your children retain their passion in the subject and motivate them not to give up hope? Charmaine Choo, Assistant Director of Curriculum and Training at MindChamps shares the following tips to help parents instill a love in science in their children from the start:

1. Make learning fun

The rule of thumb to spur your child’s interest in Science is to make it comprehensible, engaging and fun.

You can achieve this by conducting simple Science experiments with your child such as making slime with cornflour, creating static electricity or making ice lollies. On a good day, you can also “wander and wonder” together. This could involve a trip to a nearby park, the Botanic Gardens or the Science Centre. Alternatively, you can also introduce your child to Science games and/or simulations online.

See also: How to Raise a Child Who Loves to Read

2. Make science relevant

When children see how the knowledge learnt in school is applicable to their lives, they will naturally become curious and interested to learn more.

Watch Science documentaries on channels such as Discovery Channel Animal Planet and National Geographic with your child and ask him/her questions such as:

Q: Why is it common practice to spread and hang towels after using them?

A: This increases their exposed surface area, thereby increasing the rate of evaporation of water.

Q: Why is it necessary to brush your teeth before going to bed?

A: Some bacteria in your mouth respire anaerobically and produce lactic acid that causes tooth decay.

Q: Why is it important to exercise regularly?

A: Aerobic exercise makes the heart stronger.

Q: Why is it important to put fresh milk in the fridge?

A: Low temperature slows the growth of bacteria.

When you relate the things that are taught in school to what your child already knows, this helps to increase his/her retention of the new information.

3. Be supportive of your child’s efforts to learn

Form a learning partnership with your child where partners are equal rather than adopting an instructor/student (master/slave) model. Ask your child what he/she is learning in school and encourage him/her to “fill the gaps” by seeking clarification. Empower your child to understand that learning is a process, and that failure is an important part of that process. Also, focus on your child’s strengths and recognise and celebrate your child’s achievements (no matter how small) as these forms of positive reinforcement will keep your child motivated to learn.

See also: Top Ways to Encourage Your Child to Learn Chinese

4. Inculcate healthy study habits

This includes being ready for class, paying attention during class and revising the material that was covered in class as soon as possible. It is also important to help your child stay organised and in control of his/her work. You can help your child by setting up a system when filing his/her school papers and assignments, and drawing up a simple and realistic timetable to follow every day. With everything in place, your child will be able to take charge of the learning schedule without feeling overwhelmed, and in turn, he/she will be more motivated to learn.

5. Communicate

Encourage your child to express his/her opinion, talk about his/her feelings, and make choices together. Good learners have the confidence to be heard without the fear of being judged, put down, discouraged or ignored.

On the other hand, it is also beneficial to catch up with your child’s teachers every now and then. This will give you a better understanding of the school curriculum and activities and help you support your child better. A positive parent-teacher relationship also demonstrates to your child that he/she can trust his/her teacher.

 

Does your P6 child need help in PSLE Science? Find out more about our PSLE Success™ programme now and book a one-on-one PSLE Learning Strength Evaluation for your child. 

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!

5 Things You Can Do to Help Your P5 Child Prepare for PSLE

psle preparation in p5

We all want our children to do well in their studies and exams, especially the all-important PSLE in Primary 6. While current P6 students are feeling the stress and are frantically doing what they can to prepare for PSLE which is just months away, this does not make things any easier for your child in Primary 5 who will be in the exact situation next year.

Education experts often recommend early preparation as the secret to PSLE success. But what can you and your child do to kick start the PSLE preparations now without letting stress get to the both of you?

Here are some areas to focus on to help you and your child stay ahead of the PSLE preparations in P5:

1. Start a study timetable and set realistic targets

Start preparing for the big exam early by drawing up a practical and realistic study timetable to help your child get the most out of the time he/she has available. From the timetable, both of you can zoom in further to establish realistic and measurable goals which he/she is confident about achieving.

If your child is not one who has been scoring straight A’s throughout his/her primary school life, it may not be realistic to expect him/her to work towards that for PSLE. Instead, since your child has the advantage of time on his/her side, you could encourage him/her to focus on perfecting one module at a time before moving on to the next. By conquering the task in bite-sized pieces, your child’s confidence level will increase and his/her performance might just surpass both your expectations.

2. Reinforce the relevance of studying

Discuss with your child on his/her aspirations in terms of the secondary school, junior college or university that he/she hopes to attend. However, be mindful and nurturing about the way you approach the subject and do refrain from making judgemental remarks which may make your child feel discouraged. This discussion will help to reinforce the reasons why he/she should put in the effort to study hard and get good results for PSLE, because at the end of the day all these will help him/her reach his/her goals.

3. Explore proven study methods and exam strategies

Instead of letting your child get caught up in a marathon of assessment books and past exam papers, take some time to look up on study methods that can help him/her prepare for the exams better. Try them out and see if they are suitable for your child and make necessary tweaks according to your child’s strengths. Talking to his/her teachers and other parents whose children have gone through PSLE on strategies for tackling exam questions helps to make the study preparation more effective.

4. Instil a positive mindset towards learning

Oftentimes, the one thing that is holding back your child in reaching his/her fullest potential lies in his/her lack of interest in learning. You can help to turn this around by zooming in on what is expected of your child for each subject to ease his/her confusion and frustrations towards the study preparation.  With the right mindset and learning strategies in place, your child will be able to handle the PSLE preparations with confidence and ease.

5. Practice balance and don’t leave fun out of the picture

Although you are helping your child stay on track of his/her PSLE preparations, it is equally important to create a balance in his/her life. Make sure your child gets enough rest and has enough time to destress by doing other things that interest him/her such as watching TV, spending time with friends or playing his/her favourite sports. This teaches your child about goal-setting and achievement while taking care of his/her emotional and physical growth and well-being to avoid getting a burnout.

 

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Kick Start Your Child’s PSLE Preparation with MindChamps Enrichment Programmes

Apart from helping your child start his/her study plans for PSLE early with the suggested actions discussed above, you can take this a step further by enrolling him/her for the following MindChamps Enrichment programmes:

Professor Snyder’s Thinking Cap Learning System (For P1 & P2)

psle preparation in p5

Let your child benefit from MindChamps’ proprietary Professor Snyder’s Thinking Cap Learning System that meets and goes beyond the latest requirements in the MOE curriculum. This 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 greatly benefit him/her during the learning journey in primary and secondary school, as well as upon moving on to tertiary studies and beyond.

Primary 5 Success™/PSLE Success™

psle preparation in p5

MindChamps’ Primary 5 Success™ and PSLE Success™ programme is developed with the specific purpose of equipping your child with proven strategies to excel in his/her PSLE English, Maths, Science and Chinese exams with confidence. In line with MOE’s syllabus, the programme features the proprietary OPTIMAL FLOW METHOD™, a special ‘brain-friendly’ approach to learning the curriculum where students learn to actively understand and recall concepts effectively. This method has been found to be more effective compared to when subjects are taught separately and students struggle with joining the pieces into a coherent whole.

Ask us about our “100% Money Back Guarantee” terms when you enrol your child in the Primary 5 Success/PSLE Success by August 2016!

 

Find out more about the programmes and enjoy great savings when you enrol your child by 30 June 2016!

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