Memory Techniques

Let’s face it, we could all use a few memory techniques (I’m embarrassed to admit how many times I’ve stood in a room and tried desperately to recall why I’m there)!

Many kids assume that, if they just read over their notes enough times, they will memorize the content and be able to regurgitate it for the test.  Unfortunately, this is not really the case.  Although memory does require some repetition, there are much more effective study techniques than simple rote memorization.  To really transfer the information from short to long-term memory, so that it can be retrieved when needed, a number of different methods can be used with much greater success.

The below memory tips and techniques are being provided to the medical and dental faculties at the University of Manitoba, but are applicable to anyone who wants to train their brain to remember things more effectively.

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Regardless of the age of your children, there are at least a few memory techniques that they could be using to study more effectively.  Start off with a couple of the more enjoyable ones first (e.g. creating silly songs and mnemonics), then go from there!

If you’re interested in teaching your children good study habits, you may also wish to read my post entitled How to study effectively.

How to study effectively

We’ve all heard about (and, let’s face it, many of us have even experienced) the ‘all-nighter’.  However, all the research points to the fact that this is definitely not how to study effectively, and will not likely lead to the kind of grades you, or your children, will be happy with.   There’s a better way, and the earlier we start teaching our children how to prepare for and write tests, the better off they’ll be, both now and in the future (these days, there is an expectation of ‘lifelong learning’, so they can expect to write even more tests once they’re out in the work world).

My daughter is only in grade 3, but she has tests on a regular basis (math tests on Fridays, spelling tests on Mondays and a spattering of science and social studies tests at the completion of each unit of learning).  Part of me thinks that’s a lot of testing for an eight year old, but the other part is hoping that the extra practice is helping her become more comfortable with the test-taking process.

Understandably, her current study skills are a little ‘undeveloped’, but I hope to give her some tips and techniques that she can use to ensure that the time she does spend studying leads to the most effective results.  As she gets older and the work gets even more challenging, she can build on these study skills even more.

This video provides some good overall tips for getting the most out of your study time.  Check it out.

It may be difficult to convince kids to be proactive and to implement good study habits but, if we’re successful, the payoff can be significant.  After all, “study skills” are not just useful when studying for a test, but can also be applied to other life and work situations.

If you’re having a tough time encouraging your child to try their best, you may also be interested in my post on How to motivate your child to do well in school.

 

How can you motivate your children to do well in school?

In my last post, I talked about why kids procrastinate when it comes to studying and schoolwork.  To be blunt, the cause can typically be summed up as lack of interest and motivation (i.e. “what’s in it for me?”).  The ultimate goal as parents is to instill in our children an intrinsic desire to do well, but most kids probably aren’t ready for that until they’re older.  The truth is that kids often don’t have the personal experience and maturity required to see the connection between their grades now and their employment prospects in the future.  They are much more motivated to advance to the next level of their video game, than they are to put in the extra effort required to get an A on their social studies test.

On the contrary, we as parents know that ‘academic success’ often plays a significant role in a child’s success down the road (e.g. good grades will surely be a factor when trying to get into the right college or university and/or when applying for the job opportunity of a lifetime).  It is our concern for our children’s well-being that drives us to nag and threaten, in what typically amounts to a variety of futile attempts at motivation.

But, don’t despair.   We can influence our children’s attitude and priorities when it comes to school.  In this article, you will discover 10 ways that you can help motivate your children to do well in school.

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Click here for the complete article

As parents, we do our best to instill in our children the values and habits that will make them more successful in life, but we’re not always sure of the best way to go about this.  The techniques in this article are a great start!

If your children are in the habit of putting off school work and studying until the last minute, you may also wish to read my post entitled “Fighting Procrastination“.

 

 

 

 

Fighting Procrastination

It just seems to be human nature to put off today what you can do tomorrow.  Most people find themselves fighting procrastination at one time or another, while others seem to make an Olympic sport of it.  There are many reasons we give for procrastinating, although more often than not, they are simply excuses.  Truth is, at the core of procrastination is a lack of motivation and an instinctual desire to protect ourselves from pain.

Our children are no different…their natural instinct is to do those things that maximize pleasure and minimize pain (after all, what’s more painful than stopping their video game to start on their homework, or to study for a test?!).  However, we as parents, can play a important role when it comes to teaching our children better habits (remember, learning to overcome procrastination will benefit your children in all facets of their lives, both now and in the future).

One of the most significant things we can do is to model the behavior we want to encourage (e.g. tackle a job you’ve “been meaning to do” and show them how good it feels to complete it).   We can also set rules and routines that encourage good study habits.  For example, make it a rule that they must do their homework or study prior to any screen time (let the screen time be their “reward” for doing the work that needs to be done).

Click here to check out what this article has to say about why kids procrastinate and what parents can do to help them make better choices…

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Most of us would argue that we still manage to ‘function’, despite our propensity to procrastinate.  However, if we were to be totally truthful, the majority would also agree that we would be more successful in all facets of life, if we found a way to overcome this personal demon. The same can be said of our children.  Let’s give them an advantage by providing them with some techniques they can use to spur themselves into action and get the job done!

Kids don’t only procrastinate when it comes to schoolwork.  If you find yourself struggling to get your children to tidy up, read this post about teaching kids to declutter.

The importance of study skills

As busy parents, most of us have spent very little time thinking about the importance of study skills, although the majority of us would agree that we would like our children to have “good study habits”.   We try fervently to convince our children of the importance of studying so that they can achieve academic success and honors status.  However, we rarely consider how, in addition to helping our children ‘ace’ their next test, study skills can actually assist our children in many other aspects of their current and future lives.

The below video talks about the importance of good study skills, not just as it relates to our children’s academic lives, but also within a broader context (e.g. in the work world).  It claims that study skills are so important because learning them requires us to master the essential life skills of critical thinking, collaboration and problem-solving.

I would go even further and assert that the process of learning study skills, teaches our children such valuable life skills as discipline, focus, organization, persistence and staying calm in the face of adversity (come to think of it, this is the life skill that parents need when we try to help our kids with their studying!!).

Give this video a listen and see what you think!

Watch this video on YouTube: Cost of NOT Teaching Study Skills

Our kids live in a very competitive world and that’s not likely to change.  If we can provide them with the study skills that they can use to excel both in school and beyond, then why not do it?  But let’s not wait until they’re faced with college exams before we teach our children how to study.  Instead, let’s begin teaching them what they need to know in the early grades, so that they can start benefiting right away!

 

 

 

Help your child calm down

Your child is having a temper tantrum or an anxiety attack…don’t you wish there was something you could do to help your child calm down?  In the midst of a meltdown, adrenaline is spiking and overriding logic, so this is definitely not the time to try to teach them self-calming techniques.  However, taking the time when they are calm, to talk to children about ways they can calm themselves down when they are feeling angry or anxious, can provide children with a very useful, lifelong skill (they can even draw on this skill when they have children of their own, right?!).

Check out this article for some good tips on what parents and children can do when emotions are running high.

Helping Kids Calm Down
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Anger and anxiety are a way of life, but we can help our children prepare for the real world, by providing them with a toolbox of self-calming techniques that they can use when they feel a ‘freak out’ coming on!

If you’re interested in helping your children handle anxiety, you may also want to read my post about helping kids deal with nightmares.  Click here for all the details.

 

The dangers of online chatting

This guy could be your child’s new online friend!

“Don’t talk to strangers.”  How many times did we hear that when we were growing up?  It’s a whole new world now, but this directive has never been more true than it is today.  Not only do our kids have to be wary of strangers on the street, but we must also protect them from the thousands of ‘strangers’ online.

In the physical world, interactions are face-to-face and children have a pretty good idea as to whether or not a person is a ‘stranger’, however, this distinction becomes more ‘blurred’ in the online world.  Our children are growing up in a world where people routinely consider people they have never met before to be their ‘friends’ and then proceed to provide them with a steady stream of information about their personal lives.   And remember, it’s not just kids that are doing this, children see their parents take part in this risky behavior and determine that there is nothing to be concerned about.

Chat rooms for children are also becoming increasingly popular.  What could possibly be dangerous about your child sitting in the comfort and safety of their own home, chatting with other kids their age, about topics they find interesting?  Truthfully, there may be nothing wrong with this activity, once you’ve checked out the chat room and talked to your child about the dangers of online chatting and the guidelines and etiquette to be followed while participating in it.  The reality though, is that chat rooms are a popular place for predators to hang out and pretend that they are ‘just like everyone else’, in an effort to befriend potential targets (and, believe me, they are very good at what they do).  So, if you’re going to allow your child to chat online, at least prepare them with the information and skills they need to protect themselves.

For more information on how to keep your children safe in chat rooms, as well as how to protect them from the many other dangers lurking online, check out Internet Safety Academy at http://www.teachkidsinternetsafety.com.

 

YouTube Safety

In this day and age, YouTube is just a part of everyday life but, if we want to protect our children from the ever-growing volume of inappropriate content found on this site, we need to give ourselves, and our children, some basic YouTube safety ‘training’.

“Over 6 billion hours of video are watched each month on YouTube and 100 hours of video are uploaded to YouTube every minute” ( http://www.youtube.com/yt/press/statistics.html)

As these statistics suggest, YouTube is not going away any time soon.  Kids use it without even giving it a thought.  When my daughter got a Rainbow Loom for Christmas, the first thing she wanted to do was to search YouTube for videos on how to use her Loom to make hundreds of elastic band crafts.  For this purpose, YouTube has been a wonderful tool…she has been able to watch someone perform each step of the process and pause and/or replay the video whenever it suits her.

Of course, that’s the ‘sunny side’ of YouTube but, like in so many cases, there’s also a ‘dark side’.  Since YouTube is open to everyone with an internet connection, there can be some pretty ‘whacked out’ stuff posted on there.  I’m not just talking about the videos themselves, but also the comments posted below even the most ‘warm and fuzzy’ video (e.g. derogatory insults and obscenities).

Let’s face it, there has always been, and will always be, a small percentage of the population who will use this type of public forum to spew hatred and post inappropriate content…if only because they can.  They may even disguise their motives, to trick people into becoming their audience (e.g. by titling their videos in a way that misrepresents what they are truly about).

However, we as parents are not completely helpless.  Like anything that impacts our children’s safety and well-being, we should do what we can to keep them out of harm’s way.  Of course, that is only part of the picture, since there will be times when we can not be there to protect them.  That’s why, we should also do what we can to teach our children about the ‘dark side’ of YouTube and how they can minimize their own exposure to it.

For immediate access to some YouTube safety tips that can help make YouTube a safer place for your children, click here for my FREE report, or enter your name and email into the box to the right of this post (at the top of the screen) and click the ‘Get Instant Access’ button!