Good study habits

My nephew informed me that exams at his high school are starting soon.  I remember ‘exam time’ at school and the stress it always caused (for my parents too, I’m sure).  After all, we all want our children to “do well” in school and to have “good study habits” (defined by as “the behaviors used when preparing for tests or learning academic material”).  However, it’s not always clear what these ‘habits’ are, let alone how to teach them to our children (even those of us who were ‘good students’, don’t necessarily know how to help our children be the same).  Truth is, even though I did well in school, I would have definitely benefited from learning some more effective and efficient study tools and techniques.

Study habits are really just a set of skills, such as planning, effective time management, personal discipline and responsibility, good note-taking, as well as employment of various memory techniques and strategies (e.g. mnemonics) that, if employed consistently (i.e. not just at exam time), can make your child’s academic life much easier.  However, these skills can also be very beneficial in their lives after school, whatever it is that they choose to do.   Therefore, it is never too soon, or too late, to start teaching our children these important life skills!

I have talked about many of these topics in the past so, rather than reinvent the wheel, I have included links to my previous posts.

The importance of study skills

Fighting procrastination

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

How to study effectively

Memory Techniques

Mnemonic Study Strategies

Test Writing Strategies

Managing anxiety (during tests and other stressful situations)



Preventing and treating frostbite

We’re experiencing a nasty ‘cold spell’ at the moment (I woke up to temperatures of -28 Celsius/-18 Fahrenheit).  These are the kinds of temperatures that can lead to frostbite, if you’re not careful.  If you live somewhere that experiences these kinds of temperatures, it’s a good idea to review with your children some tips for preventing and treating frostbite.

Having said that, if your child is anything like mine, they are not exactly thrilled with the prospect of bundling up even more than usual (they already have a tough time bending and performing other such necessary movements, because of the various layers of clothing).  However, according to the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons (AAOS), “It takes only minutes for exposed skin to become frostbitten if the temperature is below 20 F and the wind is blowing at 20 mph or more”, so what you’re aiming for is to cover as much skin as possible.

For this reason, a hat is better than a headband or earmuffs, and a neck warmer that can be pulled up to cover part of the face is a must at times like this (this is actually one of my favorite winter accessories, since it is warmer and safer than a scarf, which can get caught when a child is playing and seriously harm them).  It is possible to buy a ‘balaclava’ with a neck warmer and hat combined, but it looks too much like a ninja for my daughter’s liking (I imagine my nephews, however, would think this was pretty cool).  Warm but loose-fitting clothing worn in layers is your best bet and mitts are definitely warmer than gloves (I have these cool mitts that have a water-resistant shell on the outside and are fuzzy inside and actually have fingers like gloves for better dexterity).

On extremely cold days, children should limit their time outside (they are more susceptible to frostbite than adults) but, if they should decide to venture out, teach them to recognize the early signs of frostbite, which includes “red or pale skin, prickling, and numbness” (

For more facts about frostbite, its prevention, symptoms and treatment, click here to check out this article from the AAOS.


Teach your children how to bundle up to protect themselves from frostbite and how to recognize the signs when they should be seeking shelter from the cold.  Just one question remains…is it spring yet?!

For more information on how to protect your children this winter season, you may also wish to read my post on “Hand hygiene“.

Goal Setting

Happy New Year!  There is so much pressure at this time of year to ‘start fresh’ and be the person you always wanted to be.  We start out by making grandiose ‘resolutions’, many of which are unrealistic and unattainable, so we end up throwing in the towel by the time February rolls around.

Our children witness this behavior and it can dampen their motivation.   So, instead of encouraging them to make resolutions, we should be teaching them (and ourselves) the more practical life skill of ‘goal setting’.

Regardless of their age, this is the perfect time to teach your children how to set goals the S.M.A.R.T. (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic and Timely) way.  They can apply this approach to almost anything that they want to achieve…making the basketball team, getting an A in math, learning how to skate, you name it!

To better ensure success, make sure they break down the ultimate goal into smaller goals (e.g. monthly, weekly and even daily goals) and then cross goals off once they’re attained (successful completion of goals along the way helps provide the motivation to continue).

What has your experience been with New Year’s resolutions (I got frustrated with trying to attain the unattainable, so gave up on them years ago)?  Share your stories in the comments.

If this article was of interest to you, you might also wish to read my posts entitled “You are what you think” and “Patience“.

Happy New Year!

“Wake up smiling; seize every moment; try new things; be bold, legendary, fearless; amaze yourself; take chances; embrace change; be optimistic; now is your time.”

I thought these were some great things to aspire to, as we move into the new year!  New Year’s always feels like a new beginning, a chance to start fresh and to be one’s best.  May 2015 be a truly wonderful year for you and your family!

Start the new year off on the right foot! Put up these inspirational subway art printables in your home or office to help encourage you to be your best self

Click here for this inspirational subway art printable.

Happy New Year!