Friday, 13 September 2019

12 ways to raise smarter, more successful, and happier kids, according to school educators and therapists




Back-to-school season is here, which means many families are transitioning from a laidback way of living to a bit more structure at home. It's also a time when parents are thinking about the wellbeing of their children in terms of success — which can of course be defined in a myriad of ways that aren't just good grades and high test scores.

We talked to school educators as well as therapists to figure out the best way to support children to become the best they can be emotionally, physically, and academically. Here are 12 of their golden rules, just in time for a new school year.

1. Watch or read the news together — and talk about it


From politics to climate change, kids should be at least somewhat in the know. "Parents can watch the news together with their kids to be knowledgeable on the issues that will be discussed in class," said Katherine Palmer, a teacher in Calgary, Canada. "Talking about the important events can help a student articulate their personal views, further allowing them a chance to use their critical-thinking and communication skills."

2. Show them how to embrace mistakes

Feeling frustrated or discouraged when you seemingly fail comes naturally for many, but staying the course is an important skill to learn. "Parents and learning coaches can set their children up for success by helping them to develop a growth-mindset approach to learning," said Erin Thomson, online middle school teacher for Compass Charter School in California. "This means teaching them to understand that their mistakes are a part of their learning and they need not feel ashamed. We want them to continue trying, questioning, and thinking so that they can always grow stronger both academically and socially."

3. Value and instill good character traits

When kids make it a priority to be a good friend and seek out good friends early on, they will be more likely to make the same choices as they get older. "Have daily discussions with children about being kind to others, being helpful to the teacher by listening and obeying, looking for the kid on the playground that looks sad or lonely and being their friend," said Karle Roberts, Regional Coordinator for Compass Charter School. "Instilling the importance of helping others and caring for others, is invaluable."

4. Help them become an influencer — a positive one

Showing your child how to make the right choices will hopefully spill over into their online presence as well. "If your child uses social media, teach them to be a positive influence on their social media platform," said Reena B. Patel, guidance counselor and licensed educational psychologist, who encourages implementing the "THINK" acronym for your children to use online.

Before posting on social media, they should ask themselves if what they're about to post is True, Helpful, Inspiring, Necessary, and/or Kind — and if the answer is no, they should reconsider it or avoid posting it completely.

5. Give compliments for effort

Brian Galvin, a teacher and chief academic officer at Varsity Tutors in Seattle, says research shows that when students are given incentives or rewards for grades and test scores — even money or gifts — it doesn't move the needle very much. "When parents reward effort, enthusiasm, and willingness to try new things (and maybe fail), students are much more likely to keep putting in the effort that leads to success," Galvin said.

6. Don’t just lecture; back up your words with actions


"Empowering young people simply means guiding them to find their own power," said Mary Jo Podgruski from the Academy for Adolescent Health. "Power cannot be gifted, it must be realized and identified. Empowerment requires inspiration, unconditional acceptance, and the courage to allow students to learn from their mistakes. Such encouragement comes from example and modeling; verbal messages are less-lasting."

7. Give homework a home

Establish a consistent time and place to complete homework. "Students thrive when they have a routine and are able to mentally prepare themselves to complete their work," said Frances Kweller, a mentor and college admissions expert in New York, who recommends a distraction-free, well-lit setting conducive to studying.

8. Let your child teach you

When something excites you, you want to tell the world. Watch what happens when your child approaches you in this way. "Allowing your child to be 'teacher' affords them to not only show what they have learned in school but also allows them to feel good about what they've learned," said April J. Lisbon, a public school psychologist in Virginia. "Celebrate, celebrate, celebrate every accomplishment your child makes no matter how big or small."

9. Place a high value on letting them play

How many times have you been asked to remember what it was like when you were a kid? There's a reason for this. "Play is a child's work and it is how they make sense of the world," said Benjamin Newton, co-founder of Vivvi, a childcare company for employers in New York. "Children should leave the early childhood years with a love of learning and play and the ability to ask questions and to discover answers to those questions. When children do what they love, they will approach more formal schooling and personal challenges with more enthusiasm."

10. Remember to take care of yourself

Self-care isn't just a trendy phrase, but something parents need to practice. "You may not realize it, but your own anxiety is impacting your child's view of the world," said Alyssa Austern, clinical psychologist in New Jersey. "Taking care of yourself is often the best thing you can do for your child, as it allows you to be a better parent."

11. Anger, hurt, sadness — let them feel it all


Parents often have a tendency to try and take away any bad feelings their children are experiencing. This typically comes from a loving place, as it is difficult to see your child upset. "When a parent tells their child to toughen up and not to cry, or tells them everything will be okay, children may be getting the message that it is not okay to experience any negative emotions," said Austern. "Children should learn that it is okay for them to experience a range of emotions."

12. Put an emphasis on good nutrition

Food can energize or deplete us. Model smart food choices and convey their nutritional value in an age-appropriate way. "By helping children develop a healthy relationship with food, we're also teaching them important life skills like how to embrace exploration, be open to new concepts and ideas, and have the confidence to take risks," said Saskia Sorrosa, Founder and CEO of Fresh Bellies. "I believe that nutrition is a major part of kids' leadership skills throughout their lives."

Source

MINIBOSS BUSINESS SCHOOL

Ken Robinson. Changing Education Paradigms

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