How to Teach Your Kids to Be Mindful and Effective Learners

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Since we are all aware that academic pressure on our kids is stronger than ever, the only natural thing we can do as parents is help them cope with this increased stress. When you add boredom and fatigue to the mixture, you can understand how difficult it is for kids today to perform to the best of their capability.

There are many ways to help, but we need to find the most efficient one(s). For example, many schools across the USA have already introduced the concept of mindfulness to their routines. For those still uncertain about this notion, let’s say that it is, as defined by Jon Kabat-Zinn, “the awareness that emerges through paying attention, on purpose, in the present moment, non-judgmentally.” The aim, of course, is to reduce anxiety and stress and here are some of the techniques you might want to use at home.

STOP

This popular acronym can become part of your daily household routine. Let’s see how it works:

Stop – tell your kids to stop whatever they are doing.

Take deep breaths – ask them to take several really deep breaths by slowly inhaling and exhaling.

Observe – elicit how they feel and what they are experiencing at the moment. Help them identify their thoughts.

Proceed – allow them to carry on with their activities.

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Encourage compassion

Talk to your kids about the importance of compassion and how everyone needs help in some way and at some point in their life. Allow them to help someone else, so that they actually experience the benefits of being compassionate. Another trick is to use a wristband and write the word “compassion” on one side. This should serve as a reminder that they need to give compassion and they can flip to the other side once they’ve managed to do so.

Effectiveness is crucial

You don’t need to be reminded that individual personality is a major factor in determining whether a kid is a good learner or not. Still, even those who were not born good learners can become that, provided they are given the right kind and amount of attention. One of the ways to do that is to hire a tutor. An expert in this field will be able to tell you exactly what type of tutoring your child needs to make the most of their potential. It’s important to remember that learning must not be limited to the classroom and that there are many opportunities for learning all around us. A good learner is a person who recognizes and uses such opportunities.

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Give them control

A lot of parents exercise strong control over their kids and that often leads to children withdrawing from learning. While you can’t leave your kid without any supervision, you definitely need to allow them some control over the learning process. This is best done by giving them an opportunity to choose from a set of options, such as the topic of their writing exercise. The same approach needs to be extended to extracurricular activities. You must not force them to do something they resent since it will only make them more frustrated.

Keep the communication sincere

Parents often forget how important it is to allow their kids to say how they feel about what’s going on with their education. Instead, they simply express their expectation of the child and their academic achievements. If you want to help your kid, you should allow them to express their feelings and have them validated by you despite possible disagreements. Those who feel their feelings and opinions are taken into account are much more likely to become good learners and be more engaged in the learning process. Also, any exchange of arguments will help them prepare for future life, where they’ll often be in a position where they have to defend or justify their opinion.

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Allow them to experiment

You might notice that your kid has started learning in a different way than before. Don’t discourage them from such experiments, but let them know you’ve noticed the change and be interested in the progress. Children often get fed up with certain learning techniques and styles and they feel the need to experiment. Not only are they showing curiosity, which is necessary for academic success, but you can be proud that they’re showing initiative. Like other experiments, this can also go wrong. However, instead of criticizing, help your kid understand what went wrong and how the situation can be improved. After all, that is also a great learning opportunity.

Helping our kids become good learners is one of the most important tasks we face. It’s a long, often very difficult and time-consuming process, but if we fail to react, the consequences can be devastating. On the other hand, we can help them become successful and independent individuals, which is definitely worth all the effort.

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