School Routine: Step By Step Guide for Helping Kids Fall Back Into It

You know how it goes. It’s summer, so you let your kids unwind. They live a carefree life going to bed later than usual, getting up later than school would ever allow them, and playing far more than they usually have time for.

But then, before you know it, it’s September, and those same kids need to fall back into the routine of getting up at a certain time, spending hours sitting still, coming home to do homework, and going to bed at a decent hour so they can get enough rest for the next day.

Should be simple, right?

But you and I both know things don’t just click back so easily. It takes time, and it can turn into a frustrating few weeks unless you approach it the right way – as a family.

3 Steps To Re-Establish School Routine

Step 1: Scroller, Interrupted – Instilling More Awareness About Screen Time

During summer (especially if you have teenagers!), everything is so instagrammable, isn’t it? The sunsets, the beach, the endless sleepovers with their clique… But now that there are classes to attend and homework to do, the habit of hanging around on social media needs to take a step back.

You probably know this is all true, but you’re also thinking – Yikes! How in the world am I going to limit them without provoking an angry reaction?

Chances are, you’re not – and that’s okay. They’ll need some time to adjust, but as long as you approach it the right way and explain why you’re doing it, all will be well.

Start by pointing out that you’re not trying to punish them – it’s merely a precaution. It’s not that you don’t trust their abilities, either, but you know how addictive scrolling can get, and you want to make a pact – together. When they’re studying, their phone will be away from them so they don’t get tempted. If your kid is more independent, you can even agree on a number, say – one hour of social media a day, and they get to choose how they’ll spend that time and when.

Just make sure you’re following your own advice –  hence the TOGETHER part! If they see you glued to your phone while you’re trying to limit them, they’re far less likely to be following your advice – or forgiving you for inflicting such horrendous rules on them!

Step 2: Early to Bed, Early to Rise…

… Makes a kid still slightly tired, but far more likely to have enough time to finish everything in the morning! This should be a set part of your children’s routine, too – and the best way to decide their bedtime is to figure out when they get up and how much sleep they need. For younger kids, it should be between 10 and 11 hours, while teenagers can get away with 8.

It’s also important to make sure they’re not using their phone/laptop right before bed. If they are, chances are they’ll find it much more difficult to fall asleep.

Speaking of falling asleep, the easiest way to do that is to have a fixed pre-bed routine. It can be – read one chapter of a book they like, brush their teeth, get into their pajamas, or anything else they do regularly (that doesn’t consist of screens!). Make sure you also have your own routine. Don’t let them catch you sitting in the living room in your pajamas, scrolling through Halloween treat ideas. As with anything kid-related, parents should serve as role models, rather than an evil Skeletor, hating them and imposing rules all the time!

Mornings are an important part of your overall family routine, too – and the screen rule should be applied then, as well. Delaying screen time as much as possible in the morning and even using an actual alarm clock instead of the one on the phone can make the process of waking up much easier!

However, your mornings don’t have to all be exactly the same – they can be tweaked a bit. For example, take turns. You can make breakfast on Mondays, your significant other on Tuesdays, your older kid on Wednesdays… Breakfast is a great way to instill some sense of autonomy in children.  Give them freedom, try not to be too harsh with the feedback, and watch them grow!

And here’s a difficult thing to ask of them – no snoozing!! They should be getting up at the same time every day, doing the same things – get dressed, brush teeth, have breakfast (or the other way around – we’re all different!), maybe even walk or feed the dog if that’s their responsibility. If they move their getting-up time, the rest of the routine is at risk.  They’ll rush everything, yell “I don’t have time for breakfast, love you, mom!” and then be straight out the door, leaving your routine hanging by a thread.

Step 3: Homework – The Final Frontier

That’s your final challenge right there! The rest they were already doing – although not timely – even before school. But now that homework’s here, you’re bound to be hearing the usual. 

“I’ll do it before bed.”

“I’ll be at John’s after school. I’ll do it when I get back!”

“Mom, that’s for Friday – it’s only Tuesday!”

Now, raise your hand if you’ve ever heard any version of these. Of course you have – who would rather be dealing with calculus instead of going to the movies with friends?!

Difficult as it may be for them, they should be putting homework first – that will serve them much more than they can understand… So help them understand.

Let them know that’s the way they’re building a work ethic; they’ll be avoiding the anxiety that comes with procrastination; finally, they won’t have H O M E W O R K hanging over their heads wherever they go, whatever they do. No guilt, no worries, only responsibility and freedom (who knew the two complemented each other so well?)

 

But we have to say yet again – you are their biggest role model. If you’re avoiding going to the doctor’s or cleaning the house, they’ll see you as a hypocrite for that whole homework story. So, be an example, set some limits, and watch everything fall into place.

Why does it matter anyway?

Routine isn’t just important for your kid’s grades. It helps them develop their executive function – the brain’s CEO that knows how to prioritize, solve problems, think critically … All of which are hugely important for their future.

Our bonus advice is: don’t let vacation ruin their sense of routine and responsibility completely. This isn’t to say they can’t ever rest or have some free time! – but some structure is always good. That way, not only will they not fall behind once school starts, but they’ll develop great time-management skills, something they could really use in the future.

 

DOWNLOAD OUR FREE WORK-PLAY CALENDAR TO GET INSPIRED

 

 

Sources:

https://source.colostate.edu/back-to-school-tips-for-helping-children-return-to-the-routine/

https://psychcentral.com/lib/back-to-school-back-to-routines/

https://childdevelopmentinfo.com/holiday-seasonal-family/back-to-school-tips/#gs.0nly9v

https://www.bustle.com/articles/107991-18-back-to-school-memes-that-tell-it-how-it-is-even-if-thats-not-how-you-want

https://www.buzzfeed.com/mccarricksean/most-inspiring-skeletor-quotes

http://www.quickmeme.com/meme/35xb8r

 

 

Business Coaching Will Change Your Life. Here’s How

Maya B. is a Life and Business Coach at Nobel Coaching & Tutoring. Here she explains the basics of business coaching, the role of the business coach and how you can benefit from hiring one, and also shares her personal experiences.

 

Q: What is Business Coaching?

Maya: If you were to get some business coaches together and ask them that question, you wouldn’t get the same answer from all of them. It depends on what they each focus on.

Sometimes, business coaching refers specifically to economic and marketing coaching, things you can get from somebody experienced in developing different businesses.

On the other hand, business coaching can refer to skill development, improving your professional life, and working on every kind of goal you have for yourself in your business. This aspect is not so concerned with marketing and economics, but is more about you – your personality, your soft skills, and problems you may have regarding your work life.

The common denominator is that business coaching is a growth-fostering relationship that enables clients to reach their goals.

 

Q: What does a Business Coach do?

M: At the beginning of the coach-client relationship, the coach works with the client to set goals and define how to measure them. This is important because at some point we, both client and coach, have to be sure we’ve achieved those goals.

Apart from that, the role of the business coach is to regulate the whole process, to make sure that the goal isn’t going to be harmful for the client. For example, if a client is working extremely hard and is suffering signs of burnout syndrome, the coach isn’t going to accept any goal that pushes them into working even harder and burning out even further.

Also, the coach creates a safe, supportive environment for the client.

 

Q: How does the Business Coach do that? 

M: When we want to develop or work on something, we usually have some blind spots, some kind of magic circle we tend to stick to. The role of the business coach is to get you out of this magic circle and to point out those blind spots. How does the coach do that? By asking a lot of questionsquestions that you haven’t asked yourself.

 

Q: Can someone’s Business Coach also be a Life Coach, or should the two roles be kept separate?

M: Our work life is an integral part of our everyday lives and it’s not really easy to put a clear border between the two. Accordingly, there’s no need to make it a different process; it would be a pretty artificial thing to do.

Also, it can be very difficult  to work with two coaches at once – when you’re dealing with something so interconnected, it should be with one person.

Many business coaches have experience in life coaching. And this is what you should be looking for – somebody who can help you with both.

 

Q: What are the benefits of Business Coaching?

M: There are many different benefits, but they always depend on the goal you’re working towards.

We often have clients who want to develop their own business, so we’re going to provide support for that. Then, we have clients who want to make a change and they’re worried about it, so we help with that. We also have people who just want to advance and move up to a higher position in their company, and so we analyze what’s happening in the company and with this person and help them align the two.

Sometimes it ends up with the client deciding to leave the job they had. Because the only way that you come to the realization that you’ve made the wrong career choice or you chose the wrong company is to start asking searching questions.

ACHIEVE YOUR GOALS WITH MAYA!

 

Q: Who can benefit from Business Coaching?

M: Basically, everyone who works. Anyone who wants to work on their professional life, on work-life balance, soft skills, or to make some changes in their career.

However, you don’t even have to be currently working! Especially if you’re job hunting, if you’re in between careers, or if you’re a young professional who’s trying to figure out what you want to do. Even if you’re a student and you just want to see what your major subjects should be. This is also work and where a business coach can provide a lot of support.

I’ve also worked with a housewife who wanted to start a career. She’d spent the majority of her life working in the home and taking care of her kids. Then, at some point, she just wanted to examine her options.

 

 Q: So anyone who needs advice, from student to CEO, can benefit from working with a Business Coach?

M: Yes, that’s true. However, I wouldn’t say advice, because that could be misleading. The business coaching process is about offering support for the client. This means clients are going to set their own goals and they are going to work on that. It’s not like somebody comes to a session and just gets a lot of advice.

 

Q: Does a Business Coach tell people what to do and why?

M: If we did that, it would imply that the business coach had a position of greater importance than the client and that’s not true – it’s a relationship of equals. So the answer is no.

I, as a business coach, offer support and help where I really can help, which means that I’m more knowledgeable than the client in certain areas. Still, the client is the one who does all the work and makes all the decisions. We’re often faced with a client who’s come to get a decision from us. But it’s your life and it’s your work – you can’t count on the coach to make it for you. You have to learn to make decisions for yourself.

 

Q: When is the right time to get a Business Coach?

M: Sometimes people wait until the problem becomes overwhelming, because of some perceived stigma. But the coaching process is pretty much straightforward and can really help overcome many challenges you have in your life. Accordingly, you shouldn’t wait until the problem becomes too big and too stressful. We can work best when we have the greatest area to work on, which means you should consult a business coach as soon as you notice something that you want to change.

Also, the coach can help even if you don’t have any specific problems but simply want to achieve some kind of advancement in your work life.

 

Q: What are the advantages of hiring a Nobel Coaching & Tutoring Business Coach?

M: All Nobel’s coaches have certificates and counseling psychology education. This is important because more often than not you’re going to get into deeper processes. Also, most of us have multinational experience, which allows us to see your situation both locally and globally. By choosing a Nobel coach, you’ll find someone in whom you can confide, who understands you, and will help guide you forward.

And all of that in the comfort of your home or office. Business Coaching is online, so you don’t have to spend your valuable time in traffic.

Ten Mistakes Sports Parents Make when Raising Young Athletes

Being a parent of an aspiring young athlete is a very peculiar situation. Your child is going through similar phases to the rest of the kids, but they’re also facing a whole different set of challenges on a day-to-day basis. If you’ve never played sports professionally, you’re probably lacking insight into unique situations, experiences, and issues. Sports parents who were pro athletes themselves are better informed, but even they are liable to make mistakes just like any other parent would.

Why Do Sports Parents Make Mistakes?

Whether you’re dealing with the burden of knowing or with the fear of not knowing, being a sports parent is not an easy role. There are lots of different sports out there and plenty of reasons why your child’s situation is unique.

Yet, sports parents often tend to err in similar ways and some patterns can be spotted. Normally, as parents, we have the best of intentions at heart. But we’re also dealing with things like inexperience, lack of information, biases, fears, and all kinds of factors that impair our judgment.

All of this can potentially lead to our inadvertently doing more harm to our child’s potential career than good. These are the ten most common mistakes sports parents make trying to raise a talented young athlete.

1. Pressuring Your Child Athlete to Succeed

Some sports parents are supporters of the “pressure makes diamonds” school of thought and tend to draw from it when deciding on parenting techniques. It’s an attitude somewhat based on the notion that mental toughness is a crucial characteristic of top-level athletes. While this is true, parental pressure is far from a good way of teaching your child athlete how to be mentally tough.

One study in 2006 showed that young athletes who are feeling pressure from both their coaches and their parents are more likely to develop maladaptive forms of achievement striving, to experience overconcern for mistakes, have doubts about their decisions and actions, and lowered perception of their own competence.

Another cause of parental pressure is parents believing their child might slack off or show lack of discipline if they don’t step in and tighten the screws. Parental involvement in itself is very useful for child development but you need to be careful.

If it’s too much or not the right kind of involvement, it can become a source of frustration, pressure, and stress for the child and you will inevitably be caught in the middle of it. There are much safer, more effective ways of motivating your child than simply giving them heat every chance you get.

2. Not Teaching Young Athletes There’s an Alternative

Actually becoming a professional athlete is extremely difficult. The stats presented in the table below are sourced from the NCAA database and show, on average, the chances of high school athletes making it to the pros.

As you can see, the competition is very high and the data tell a harsh story – only a small minority of young athletes ever actually makes a professional career in sports.

 

Why sports parents teach young athletes there is an alternative

 

Your child’s chances are determined by a range of factors and neither you nor your child will have complete control over some of them. Even if your child has all the essential characteristics such as technical skills, soft skills, talent, resilience, or a good work ethic, circumstances such as chronic or traumatic injury may abruptly end their career.

Some take these numbers as a sign that only those who are truly committed to the cause will prosper. But what about those who went all in and still didn’t make the cut? They’ll surely be devastated that their dreams didn’t come true. What happens when what they’re best at just isn’t good enough?

Giving up on your dream career is difficult for everyone, let alone young people who have their whole lives ahead of them. Having an alternative will go a long way to keep them from spiraling down and something they’ll be grateful for later in life. It’s your job as a parent to make sure they’re keeping their options open.

Sports-related activities are a great context for developing important management and teamwork skills that they can use at any job. You need to point out these opportunities, because that way, they’re boosting their athletic career while gaining something to rely on in the future.

Our coach, Tiana, is a sports psychologist experienced in working with sports parents and an expert on the topics of motivating child athletes, making them more confident, and teaching them how to build mental toughness.

 

3. Failing to Establish a Good Sports Parent-Coach Relationship

The roles of sports parents and coaches have an innately different perspective. The coach has to put the team first, while the parents are usually concerned with the needs and success of their own child.

In order to complement their efforts, both the parents and the coach need to build a good relationship so that they can provide the young athletes with the best possible, coherent support. That means that parents need to make an effort to understand the coach’s vision and consider their way of thinking before taking any action.

Your child will benefit from the fact they’re not getting mixed messages. If parents keep undermining the coaches and vice-versa, the child won’t know what to think and who to listen to.

4. Teaching Your Children the Win-at-All-Cost Mentality

Playing to win is a crucial aspect of sports. Nobody plays to lose and if they did, it wouldn’t be sports. Those who win stand to gain a lot. Personal satisfaction, social recognition, rewards, praise… Winning is valuable, enjoyable – and definitely not the only thing that’s important.

There are many top-level athletes who would disagree with this statement. And while romanticizing the desire to win does have a certain appeal, you don’t have to dig a lot in order to realize that winning isn’t the most important thing. At least not when considered in the context of life.

If your child places winning at the very top of their system of values, it could have a very negative effect on their judgment. It might make them more determined or motivated, but at what price?

Having a “win-at-all-cost” mindset provides a person with the conditions to rationalize unacceptable behavior. Things like poor sportsmanship, not playing by the rules, cheating, doping… They might learn to value winning over being a good teammate or simply doing the right thing. Winning is important, but if you prioritize it in terms of values, you need to consider what you’ll be losing in the trade-off.

5. Getting Too Emotionally Invested (ie. Angry Sports-Parent Syndrome)

You’ve probably heard stories about sports parents behaving inappropriately to the point where they’ve ended up on the local 9 o’clock news. New clips of parents brawling, screaming, and cursing at each other, coaches, referees, and even children, are being uploaded each week. These examples of toxic behavior leave a mark on everyone involved, including the very ones these parents are trying to help – their own children.

It’s understandable that being a bystander in an adrenaline-inducing situation can be difficult but you need to have control over your emotions and keep calm. Sports parents who lose it are usually ridiculed and mocked, but the negative effects this type of behavior can have on a developing child can’t be emphasized enough.

It takes all the fun out of sports and the children are left feeling embarrassed. It sets a bad example on how to deal with losing and not playing well. It is ethically wrong for a whole cluster of reasons. If you find that attending your child’s games, matches, and sporting events is making you angry or over-excited, then please, for your child’s sake as well as your own, consult a sports psychologist.

6. Overlooking the Development of Soft Skills

Technical skill is fundamental to athletic performance. That being said, a career in sports doesn’t happen in a vacuum and athletes need to be able to work with others as well. Even athletes competing in individual sports need to have good people-skills so they can, for example, make the most out of their relationship with the coaching staff. There are also lots of management skills that can be beneficial to an athlete such as time management or judgment and decision-making.

In team sports, teamwork and management skills can be the difference between going pro or not. Those who are exceptionally talented might be able to wiggle their way through to a career even though they’re very poor team players. But in the vast majority of cases, if they’re unable to cooperate and work well within a group, their chances of success will be incredibly slim.

Project-based learning in international teams can be an amazing opportunity for young athletes to effectively develop management and teamwork skills. They can transfer what they’ve learned to their career in sports!

Nobel Explorers teaches children valuable management and teamwork skills through working on STEM-related projects as part of an international team.

Online STEM projects can be a great way for young athletes to effectively develop communication skills, emotional intelligence, and critical thinking in a pressure-free environment.

 

7. Teaching Young Athletes to Fear Failure

In order to learn how to win, you first need to learn how to deal with losing. Each failure, each mistake we make is simply feedback telling us that we need to do better or maybe try something different. By taking the time to analyze what we did wrong, we can gain valuable insights into what we need to do in order to improve.

But before we can do that, we need to be able to handle the frustration of defeat and failure, also referred to as building resilience or mental toughness.

Studies show that athletes who are constantly being criticized for what they’re doing wrong will have a greater chance of developing a fear of failure. This can have a crippling effect on their development because it will make the sensation of playing less fun, reduce their game to the use of the most basic actions, and stunt their creativity.

“The child is so focused on the outcome and fearful of the possibility of failure, that they get frozen and stuck and can’t perform at their best at that moment.”

– Tiana M. (Sports Psychologist/Nobel Coach)

Young athletes need to be able to explore their sport and step outside their comfort zone in order to diversify their skill set and add new dimensions to their game. They need to understand that it’s OK to make mistakes. You as a parent should help them build a mindset where they’re not indifferent to failure, but also not devastated by it.

8. Showering Your Children with False Praise

Praising your children in order to reinforce good behavior is one of the foundations of good parenting. However, you need to make sure your praise is adequate, highlighting the right things, and delivered in alignment with how your child is feeling. You may think of false praise as a way to cheer your child up after a bad game, but there are a couple of reasons why you should never do this.

When your child buys into your false praise, they’ll think that they’ve done well when in fact they haven’t. If these scenarios repeat often, they’ll slowly develop a false sense about their abilities and skills. This means that they’ll be going into every next challenge poorly prepared, more likely to repeat the same mistakes and perpetuating the cycle until they’re faced with an obstacle that can’t be praised away.

Another issue arises if your child is able to see through your false praise. In those cases, praise can actually make them feel worse because they think they don’t deserve it. Aside from that, you’ll come across as if you either don’t really understand what happened or don’t really care about how they’ve played.

9. Neglecting Other Aspects of Parenting

Young athletes will face unique challenges on their road to a professional career in sports but they’ll also have to deal with issues common to any other kid their age. Friendship struggles, school challenges, puberty… It’s easy to get carried away, especially if your child is really invested in a sport and loves what they do.

Your child will need guidance for a life beyond the context of sporting events and the training ground. The issues they’ll face either at school or with friends are not less important than the things happening on the court or field. You’re raising a person first and an athlete second.

10. Disregard for Health and Safety (Both Physical and Mental)

In the culture of “all in” and “leaving your heart on the field”, toughness, hard work, and commitment come first. Unfortunately, this usually means that the health and safety of athletes are being placed somewhere lower down the list. This type of ranking can lead from innocuous situations such as, “It’s just a knock, I’ll walk it off.” to the more dangerous, “So what if it’s swollen? I can still run!”

The fact that they “only have one shot” doesn’t mean they should “risk it all”. The fact that they need to “work hard” doesn’t mean they shouldn’t be “working smart” first.

The importance of health for a sports career is intuitive to us but we don’t always act like it is. Surely we’ve all heard more than enough stories about people from our neighborhood who “could’ve gone pro if their knee hadn’t given out”. Injuries are unpredictable but aside from luck, great results can be achieved through injury-prevention exercises and procedures, along with having the right attitude.

Most sports parents would agree on the importance of being physically healthy, even if they sometimes encourage behaviors that go against that notion. But the topic of mental health is not that well-acknowledged in the world of sports and dealing with those issues carries a huge amount of stigma. Anxiety and depression are portrayed as signs of weakness and can be debilitating for the player’s social rating. The good news is, each year, more players are speaking out about their struggles with maintaining mental health.

“Mental health isn’t just an athlete thing. What you do for a living doesn’t have to define who you are. This is an everyone thing.”

– Kevin Love (Professional Basketball Player)

As a parent, you need to be a health advocate for your children because the athlete mindset will pull them in the opposite direction. Your kids need to understand how their body works, listen to what it’s telling them, and be educated on what it means to be healthy both physically and mentally.

What Can Sports Parents Learn From These Mistakes?

“Parents, listen and look to your child. Hear your child out. What are his or her interests?… One very important role a parent has is to help their child just select and decide what’s important and what’s not important. But… together with them and not for them.”

– Tiana M. (Sports Psychologist/Nobel Coach)

It’s funny how easy it is to get caught up in wanting to help your child any way you can. But good intentions are not a guarantee of the success of your actions. We love our children so much that it sometimes clouds our judgment. But just as our children can learn from their mistakes made on the court or field, we need to be able to learn from our own mistakes to be better parents.

Sports parenting, like all types of parenting, is a partnership. Our parental role burdens us with a greater sense of responsibility but we shouldn’t take on things that are not on us. We’re not helping anyone if we’re overstepping our boundaries and either contributing to our child’s feeling of being pressured, or robbing them of an opportunity to build their character and grow.

Finally, your child’s wishes are one of the most important factors that should be considered when making big decisions about their career in sports. In the end, they’re the ones that will have to live the life you’re helping them build and they should actively partake in the decision-making process as much as possible.

“Your child’s success or lack of success in sports does not indicate what kind of parent you are. But having an athlete who is coachable, respectful, a great teammate, mentally tough, resilient, and tries their best, is a direct reflection of your parenting.”

John A. Casadia (Swimming Coach)

7 Techniques That Make Parenting a Child with ADHD Easier

Children who suffer from ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder) struggle to concentrate and show signs of hyperactivity and impulsivity. At other times they might fall into a state of hyperfocus, usually when they find something that truly interests them. All of which leads to children with ADHD having trouble starting and finishing tasks, sleeping, and even struggling to make friends.

If you are a parent of a child with ADHD, you’re probably exhausted, stressed out, and constantly looking for new ways to help your child become more productive, more socially adept, and generally calmer and happier. To help them get there, we suggest seven ways you as a parent can make sure your child gets the best headstart possible.

1. Make Sure Their Day is Structured

Boy holding books.

Children with ADHD find it much easier to finish their tasks if they have a clear schedule of the day ahead. Try to create a schedule that has everything written down, not just the most important activities like school, baseball practice, or someone’s birthday. For example, include lunchtime, playtime, time for chores, homework. It might sound trivial, but your child will thrive if they can see their full schedule, from A to Z, in a visible place in your home. If they don’t have a set time for, say, homework, chances are their lack of focus will cause them to leave it for later or forget about it altogether.

2. Let Them Face Consequences

Girl with ADHD looking at a checkmark sound, representing a reward.

Be understanding but firm when it comes to consequences. Children with ADHD find it harder to finish their tasks, but learning about the consequences can help rewire their brains. So if they said they’d do the dishes, but they end up not doing it, consequences are in order.

The best thing to do is use logical consequences – for example, if they don’t do the dishes, there’ll be no dessert for the next three days. Don’t make the consequences too harsh, but hold your ground when it comes to them. You may feel like a bad parent for punishing them (“They have no control over it and I’m punishing them for it – I’m such a lousy parent”), but just remember you’re not doing it to hurt them – you’re doing it to help their brains understand there’s consequences to actions.

After experiencing some consequences and realizing they don’t enjoy them – because an ADHD brain is all about getting satisfaction here and now – they’ll be able to calculate that that same satisfaction is much more likely to come after they finish some chores!

3. Introduce rewards, too

Rewards can be just as effective as consequences, especially when you’re using both. The trouble with rewards, however, is that if you’re constantly handing them out, children will never develop a real motivation to do anything – they’ll only be doing it for the reward. That’s why giving rewards only occasionally is beneficial, so that the child doesn’t get used to them.

So while consequences are a good parenting technique when it comes to everyday things like chores or homework, rewards should be saved for when something out of the ordinary happens – they show a lot more effort than usual in school, they offer to help with the dishes without you asking them to, etc. It’s important to reward the effort rather than the achievement!

4. Take a break together

Young girl smiling and eating ice cream.

We often confuse taking a break with giving up, but these two couldn’t be more different. Everyone – even a machine – needs to take a break every once in a while. We lose our focus, get sleepy, and generally, lack motivation for a lot of things if we work too hard for a prolonged period of time.

ADHD makes it even more difficult, so make sure both you and your child pause for a while, whatever it is you’re currently doing. If you notice them or yourself getting tired, there’s no need to push it. Children with ADHD need some rest to be able to re-focus, and stressed-out parents do, too. So take a break for a while (but following tip #1, let them know how long it will last!) and play a game with your child or have an ice cream while enjoying nature.

5. Remove Distractions

Boy with ADHD doing homework while tiny people remove distractions (phone).

“Getting Distracted” is the middle name of almost any child, and when you combine it with ADHD, the usual result is that not much gets done. In order to help your child finish their homework or chores, remove the most common distractions – their phone, toys, laptop, or TV. It will help them focus and motivate them to finish the task in order to get back to their toys or games.

Before removing the distractions, make sure that you explain to them why that’s important and how it will help them, otherwise they might see it as punishment.

6. Spend More Time in Nature

It has been proven time and time again that green time is highly beneficial for children with ADHD. For one, they have plenty of space to spend their energy in. Maybe even more importantly, all that nature has a calming effect on children the same way it has on us adults, perhaps even more so on children who struggle with ADHD. You should try taking them to the park or a nearby woodland as often as you can, but it’s especially important when they’re upset and acting impulsively.

7. Ask for Help

Girl smiling and holding illustration of two hands gripping one another.

One major thing that parents of children with ADHD struggle with is understanding that asking for help does not make you an inadequate parent! You’ve got a lot on your plate, so having a friend, a family member, or even a coach help you out does not make you a failure. It simply means you love your child enough to understand that getting some help will benefit them. Have you recently caught yourself constantly waking up anxious? Or maybe not even wanting to get out of bed in the morning? These may be the consequences of some extreme stress you’re under. So even if it’s not just about your child, but about your own state of mind and happiness – ask for help. Do everything to make things easier on yourself.

 

Just Remember…

Parenting is never easy, and with an ADHD child, it’s even more challenging. But with enough education, trial and error, and openness to others, it can become easier. Keep in mind that you can’t pour from an empty cup: make sure to take care of yourself. Self-care is contagious – if your child sees you’re happy and satisfied, they’ll want to take good care of themselves, too!

 

Math Is Difficult, but Far from Impossible

Maryke K. is a  Nobel Tutor. She knows a lot about Chemistry, Physics, English Language, and Statistics, but one of her greatest loves is Math! She makes math fun (yes, it’s possible!) and finds the best way for students to learn it. Here she answers common questions about math and shares her personal experience in learning it.

 

Question: Let’s begin with fun stuff. What is the best math joke you’ve ever heard?

Maryke: What do you get when you cross a mosquito with a mountain climber?

You can’t cross a vector and a scalar… (laugh).

 

Q: Can you tell us how did you end up falling in love with mathematics? How did you become the math tutor?

M: From an early age, math has been fascinating to me. Because of that, I focused on it and worked hard. As I began sharing my knowledge with others, I discovered that mathematics was a path to helping people, and that’s what I love to do! And that’s why I became a tutor.

 

Q: Even though some people, like you, enjoy mathematics, there are others who find it hard. Based on your experience, why do some students fall behind in math?

M: Some people have a natural aptitude for mathematics, but that’s not the reason why others fall behind. I think the reason they do fall behind is they need it explained in a different way and there isn’t always time to do this in a classroom setting.

That’s why math tutoring exists! Not because you don’t have the ability to do math, but because a tutor is usually a few years older than you and they were in your shoes a few years before. So it’s easy to relate and find a great way to explain the unexplainable.

 

Q: Is there anything you’d recommend to those students? How should they study math?

M: If you don’t get math, just like anything else you don’t like, you’re going to have to motivate yourself.

Still, what I used to do is play. When I was younger, up to 6th grade, I would use computer games. I played educational games which meant I had to constantly do math in my head. Because of that, and by really putting thought into it, I made math fun, linking it to games.

So how you should study math? You find the fun in math and keep practicing. If you’re not good at it, practice is the only way to fix that.

 

Q: You’ve already mentioned teachers. Do you think that if you don’t understand math, maybe you have the wrong teacher?

M: It’s not about the teacher all the time, it’s usually about their workload. You can’t put a workload of 40 students on a teacher and expect every one of them is going to be catered to.

I think that everybody should be able to get tutoring. But since not everybody can afford a tutor, perhaps ask a friend who’s good at math to help you with the things you’re having difficulty with. You just need to have the additional help.

I come from a very humble background. I begged my parents to get me tutoring because despite having good grades, I needed even better grades to enroll in this program I wanted to get into. But we couldn’t afford it. The only help I had was reading math books and learning it by myself. That still wasn’t enough. I feel that if I had been in a smaller class, if my teachers could have catered to me specifically, then I would’ve had even better marks.. But it just wasn’t in the cards.

So I worked with a friend who was good at math and we made sure we helped each other. I did that my whole university career – we’d teach each other those concepts that we mightn’t otherwise understand.. We’d just work together and help each other. I feel everybody should do that because there’s always something that you don’t understand. So let the students be the teachers, as well.

 

Q: Some people believe that being good at math is a natural ability. What do you think about that? Can anybody be good at math?

M: I don’t think everybody can be good at math. However, I think everybody can do it. You just need the right way, the fun way to approach it.

There’s always going to be someone who gets 100% no matter what – someone with the natural aptitude. It may seem like you’ll never be as good as that person, but you can do it! You just need to accept that you have to practice a lot more than they do.

So, you can be good, but you have to practice. Practice as much as you can and eventually results will come.

 

Q: Natural talent vs. hard work. Do you think that people who aren’t naturally good at math but practice a lot eventually can become better at it than people who are naturally good but don’t practice?

M: Yes, that was me! I fell behind in my first year of engineering because I was like, This is going to be so easy! And all those people who were a little bit weaker than me in high school, were surpassing me. They were doing so much better than I was!

That’s because at some point math catches up with you. You might think it’s easy now, but there will be a time when you don’t understand anything. I’ve learned that lesson the hard way, so you don’t need to.

 

Q: What is your approach to teaching math?

M: Making it fun. I’m a very outgoing person and I always try to make people think of a fun way to go about something. I use visuals, I use tricks, I use anything that might make something entertaining and interesting!

No matter what your learning challenge is, what your skill is, it has to be fun!

 

Q: How do you choose between being an authority figure and a friend?

M: I think balance is the key. You need to be both an authority figure and a friend. I do believe my students respect me, but I also believe I open this door into letting them talk to me about their personal problems, not just focusing on math.

You need to listen to the challenges they have as that can affect their learning as well. For example, if their dog dies and they just don’t feel like doing math today, take things easier.

Being their teacher doesn’t mean you can’t be their friend. You just need to evaluate when that is appropriate. They’ll learn to trust you, and then they will respect you.

MAKE MATH FUN WITH MARYKE

She can’t wait to meet new friends!

 

Q: Does fun make math easy? Do you find mathematics easy overall?

M: Math is never easy. I have an engineering degree and when I was doing models I failed the math model. Yes, that thing destroyed me (laugh).

Now I’m doing a mathematics degree. I’m in my final year now and I’m realizing that math is always difficult. If you’re in that spot, it’s going to be hard. Right now, final-year math is unbelievably difficult, but first-year math was also unbelievably difficult. Math will always be difficult. It’s up to you to practice and find a way to understand it. So practice, practice, practice.

 

Q: Do you have any advice for parents to help their students with math?

M: Don’t start too late. I wish my parents had started earlier in letting me have fun with mathematics. I did start early, earlier than most people. But if they’d started even earlier, I feel that I would’ve been further ahead right now.

You need to make sure your kids are exposed to this environment. Let them play puzzles, let them play logic games when they’re very young. Because it opens a door for problem-solving skills and so on.

Make it fun and start early. But don’t overdo it. so that they start to hate it. Like anything, if you push your child too much, they’re going to resent it. Make sure you strike a balance between giving them constant stimulation and not overworking them. A great tutor would know how to help in that area, for sure.

 

Q: And if I’m a parent of a student with learning challenges (ADHD, dyslexia, dyscalculia…), what approach would you recommend for me to help my students with math? What should I do?

M: We all have those times when we’re faced with difficulty that causes anxiety. So did I. I know it’s not the same as ADHD, but it does pose a challenge when it comes to learning. One way to deal with it is to learn how to study despite the difficulty. Wishing it away won’t help, but finding a way to figure things out will.

What I would actually do was enjoy some free time but then dedicate 10 minutes to some math homework. It forced me to think about it, but not overwhelm myself. Of course, if you have a lot of homework you might need to up that to 15, 20 minutes. Some people will go up to 30 minutes or more, but if you constantly push a child they’re just going to completely resist.

If you’re helping your child with math, you need to make sure they’re not overwhelmed and that you are making it, again, fun. They need to have that feeling of I really want to solve these logic puzzles.

Also, I’ve always told my mom she needs to reward my brother, because my brother was a very, lazy boy when it came to math.The way she got him to finish his math was by giving him rewards. He has ADHD, and the reward for finishing was time playing computer games. And he would be so excited! Because that’s what children like to do, including me (laugh).

So,give them rewards, make it fun, and don’t make it too intensive!

 

Q: Why do we need math? Do we really need to know algebra, geometry, integers..? Why does math matters in the real world?

M: The things you’ll use depend on the field in which you’ll work. I don’t think you’ll need all the complex formulae and stuff.

But the basic reason everybody needs math is for logical reasoning. If you know math, you build a certain skill when it comes to reasoning with people, when it comes to logical thinking, solving problems at work in the future… So even though you don’t need quadratic equations, you still need to build these skills to be able to function in life and today’s world.

Long answer short, reasoning in real life and problem-solving skills.

 

Q: What are the uses of math? Are there any benefits to knowing math for a future career? What are applied-mathematics jobs?

M: As I’ve said, reasoning and problem-solving but not just that. For example, you’ll use it if you’re an animator. You’ll need math to put things together in a program and work through possible problems you might encounter when you animate different things. The same would apply to working as a game designer, It doesn’t mean that if you’re not good in math you can’t go into these areas. However, knowing math can be helpful.

Additionally, think about engineering, architecture, law… each requires logical reasoning, (especially law) and a background in mathematics.  Computer science, astronautics, the visual arts (such as painting).

 

Q: What message would you like to leave with our young readers?

M: Mathematics is always useful, so practice it and study it. You’ll use it in any career you choose. You’ll use it in the future just by practicing reasoning and in everyday activities that you need to think about.

However, if you’re not good at math, it doesn’t mean you’re not going to be successful. If math is not going to be your career, you just need to find someone who can help you with logical reasoning so you can have a foundation to build on in your future life.

Math can be very useful and if you can’t figure it out on your own, there are great tutors to help!

IF YOU NEED ADDITIONAL HELP WITH MATHEMATICS OR ANY OTHER SUBJECT, OUR EXPERT TUTORS ARE HERE FOR YOU

 

Sibling Rivalry: How Can Parents Deal with It?

Sibling rivalry is a tale as old as time itself. Just remember one of the oldest stories from the Bible – Cain was jealous that God would accept Abel’s sacrifice, but not his! Nowadays, luckily, sibling conflicts are resolved in a much calmer way, but they can still cause problems, for both siblings and their parents.

The first lesson is: even if you had perfect children, you wouldn’t get out of it without some tension and rivalry – and here’s why.

The Causes of Sibling Rivalry

Perhaps the biggest reason siblings see each other as rivals is because they are in a constant fight for your attention. And since people aren’t exact machines, we aren’t able to dedicate exactly the same amount of attention to each child, much as we might want to. No matter how similar the children may be – even if they’re twins! – there will always be differences between them that require us to treat them if only a bit differently. We’re often unaware of this, but children tend to notice it.

Gender and age differences alone more often than not cause parents to treat their children in very different ways. Dads might be more gentle with their daughters than their sons, but sons may be granted more freedom and a later curfew. The tricky thing is, no daughter will focus on the extra attention, nor son on the extra permission: they’ll tend to focus on the negatives and see themselves as less loved and less worthy.

Also, the closer the siblings are in age, the more reason they’ll have to fight. They’ll want to play with same toys, have the same relationship with you, play the same video games… But on the other hand, if there’s a wider age difference, the older one may get angry if the younger one makes them feel embarrassed in front of their friends. It seems like there’s no escape!

Is There No Way Out?

So far, it seems like whatever you do, fights are inevitable! That is true to some extent, and we’ll talk later on about the positive sides of sibling rivalry. However, certain things are in your control and can be prevented.

Kids in Spiderman and Captain America costumes smiling.

Even Spiderman and Captain America found a way to overcome their issues.

Try to treat them the same when it comes to granting permission

New parents, given their inexperience and natural anxiety, often overprotect their first child. When the second one comes along, you feel more confident and trust yourself more, so you’ll probably end up granting that child more latitude. But as understandable as this is, think of how it’s affecting the older child. They’ll probably end up thinking, “They don’t love me and care as much” or “They don’t really trust me”. What you can do is adapt your responses to meet the situation. Now that your younger one has a curfew until 10, give the older one a slightly longer one – 11 or 12. Treating them the same even though they’re four years apart is not exactly equal, so as hard as it is to see them grow up – let them know they’ve earned your confidence.

Let them solve it on their own

If their fight is about something else – whose toy it is, whose turn it is to walk the dog, etc. – give them time to come up with a solution among themselves. However, if you notice that’s not going anywhere, offer mediation, but without taking sides. Try to look at it objectively. Ask them to give you the arguments for why they each think the other one should be walking the dog. You can even have them write their arguments down. Let them present their reasons one by one, and once you have all the facts, ask them if it’s now clear to them who should be doing the task. If they’re still unwilling to find a solution, you can offer one, but not without providing them with an explanation why.

Skip the labels

Does your family have the smart one? The athletic one? The artistic one? If it does, try not to call them that. Of course you’re allowed to think of them that way, but the minute you say, “Oh, my Josh is the smart one”, the other child will, without a doubt, be thinking, “That must mean I’m the dumb one”. You should be nurturing their strengths – by all means! – but in such a way that they don’t feel that being a “geek” or a “football player” is all they can ever be. We talked about the self-fulfilling prophecy before – the way you talk about your children could become who they are. Using a language free of labels works wonders in giving them more options.

Accept that you will be treating them differently…

…which doesn’t have to be a negative thing. If you, say, have a gifted child, treating both of them the same could lead to the gifted one not reaching their full potential. In the end, they might be resentful of both you and their sibling – “If only Mary weren’t so dumb, I could have been at MIT right now!” Instead, nurture their strengths. If you see they’re gifted, enroll them in different programs that could help them develop even further.

As for their sibling, inspire them to try out different things as well, and make sure to be open about everything. Explain that just because John is a straight A student and making apps at 17, doesn’t mean that you love Mary any less. They’re both equally valuable, and the important thing is to have each follow their passion and do whatever makes them happy. In short, give the gifted child what they need, but don’t concentrate all of your love and pride on them only.

Can Sibling Rivalry be Beneficial?

Absolutely! Children’s first conflicts happen between them and their siblings. In the warm, nurturing, safe atmosphere of their own home, they’ll have plenty of chances to figure out what works and what doesn’t when it comes to disagreements with others. If handled well, they’ll learn the values of negotiation and teamwork.

Another important thing conflict will teach them is resilience. If you’re always stepping in to protect the younger one and keep them from any hardships, they’ll be left without the skills necessary to stand up for themselves. They’ll always be expecting others to swoop in and save them. It’s much better if they get to practice this with their brother/sister first, even if it ends in tears from time to time, than for them to be left helpless later on.

Just remember that treating two very different individuals differently is completely normal and you shouldn’t beat yourself up over it. Do your best to be just and to catch yourself in showing signs of favoritism, and there’ll be no reason to worry about sibling rivalry too much.

Mother’s Guilt: What It is and How You Can Overcome It

We’ve all felt guilty about one thing or another sometime in our lives. But perhaps the most haunting type of guilt is mother’s guilt. There aren’t many mothers who’ve never felt guilty about their parenting, even if it’s for just a second. But when does it become an issue?

Let’s start by defining the term “mother’s guilt”. It’s the guilt that arises in mothers who feel they aren’t “good enough” parents. There are various reasons they might be thinking this: punishing a child often, not letting them do what the other kids are doing (this can often happen with teenagers), and perhaps the most common one today (that we will be focusing on) – not spending enough time with them. Have you ever ordered a pizza instead of making them the dinner you promised, because you got held up at work? Or have you left them to deal with their homework themselves so you can answer a couple of emails, and lost track of time? If yes, it might have made you feel guilty.

And while not being sure about what you’re doing from time to time is perfectly normal, being caught up in guilt constantly, up to the point it messes with your everyday tasks – that’s a sign of an issue that you should talk about with someone.

But while talking to others about it may be beneficial for you, what will help you make a change and start feeling better long-term are the following:

1. Focus on the Good

There’s a fault in most human brains: we tend to focus on the bad and completely ignore the good. I challenge you to take a pen and paper right now and write down at least three things you think you’re doing well as a mom! It can be something as small as giving everyone a goodbye kiss when you leave for work in the morning, or the fact that you treated your kids to ice cream that one time last week. Don’t be too hard on yourself, and don’t flag everything that’s good as unimportant. You might worry that your kids will hold your flaws against you, but they’re just as likely to cherish the memories you make with them.

2. Don’t Compare Yourself to Social Media Moms

How often have you seen someone’s bad photo on Instagram? Or a bad photo of their kids with the caption “I’m a terrible mom”? Everyone wants to look good on social media, so everyone chooses the best parts of their lives to display to others. Comparing your reality to their highlights makes no sense! Every mom has problems, even if they aren’t up to showing it online.

So the next time you see a mom who looks like they have it all figured out, take a closer look at your friends and cousins. Take a look at your own parents, too! Do any of them have it all under control 100% of the time, feeling perfectly proud of themselves?

And if you need to unfollow those moms or delete your Instagram account to make yourself feel better, go for it. Your mental health and self-esteem should be much more important than being able to look at pretty photos 24/7.

3. Ask for and Accept Help

Venting to friends may be a great way to feel better, but while it helps temporarily, it doesn’t necessarily change what you’re feeling guilty about. But asking for help does. If you’re worried that you’re not helping your child enough with their studies, and you’re afraid they might be falling behind, there’s no shame in letting an online tutor help you out.

Tutoring sessions all happen online, so it won’t be extra hard on you, nor on your child. Nobel tutors will help your child master the subject that’s troubling them, and they won’t even have to leave their room! That means no driving around for you, and no extra tasks on your to-do list. You don’t have to do everything alone. In today’s busy world, you have the choice to either let others help, or to take everything upon yourself until you go crazy from all the stress.

You can also opt for Academic Coaching where Nobel’s coaches focus on the child’s motivation, anxiety, and any other psychological barriers that might be impeding academic success.

4. Talk to Your Kids about It

The most common source of all misunderstandings are assumptions. (link to our article about communication). You might think that your kids are holding your lack of time for them against you, when they might really be proud of you for working so hard. But you’ll never know for sure until you ask them! Ask about their feelings and whether they have some ideas about how you can spend more time together. Make a plan and, just as important, share your feelings, too! They need to have you as an example that sharing feelings is a wonderful thing that can only lead to more good things.

Now, if they tell you they’re mad at you, sad, or disappointed, don’t despair. All feelings are normal, negative ones included. Try to talk to them more about it and see how you can change something. And if you think their negative feelings are something they might have trouble dealing with, our coaches can help – not only them, but you, too.

Try to bear in mind that this conversation will bring many emotional benefits to them as well. If they see their parents asking for help, your kids will be more likely to take care of themselves and ask for help for themselves, which will ultimately make them happier and healthier.

Word to the Wise

Overcoming mother’s guilt is not an easy thing to do, but the first step is always the hardest. The important thing is to let yourself know you have the right to live your own life, and that it doesn’t mean you love your kids any less than you should. You taking good care of yourself while finding alternative ways to help your kids is the best possible solution for the struggles of this modern age.

 

10 Easy Ways to Be Mindful while Doing Everyday Tasks

Being mindful has many benefits, but it sounds complicated and demanding. Also, some people think that practicing mindfulness requires meditation or yoga, for example. But mindfulness doesn’t have to include much time or yoga mats. What if we say there are plenty of easy ways to practice mindfulness in your everyday life? And by doing so, you can de-stress and do your best. So, no more excuses – let’s start!

1. Drink more water.

Our bodies dehydrate overnight, so start the day with a glass of water at breakfast. Pay attention to how that gulp is going through your body. Also, try not to think about anything else. To stay energetic, don’t forget to drink lots of water all day. It doesn’t sound hard, does it?

2. Make your bed in the morning.

While making a fresh cup of coffee to start your day, make sure to make your bed. Slow down your breathing as you smooth your sheets and tuck in corners. This way, making bed is not a chore, but a mindful practice. Further, you will feel as if you have already completed a task and started your day productively. Starting the day with a habit will help you develop other useful habits. It has also been shown that, since you spend a large portion of your life in your bedroom, the way it looks can severely affect your mood, so making the bed equals better mood and less stress throughout the day!

3. Enjoy your meal.

Avoid multitasking while eating your lunch – take at least 15 minutes to focus completely on enjoying your meal, allowing it to re-energize you. Also, chew your food slowly. While eating, enjoy the texture and the taste. This is shown to boost your mood and register more satisfaction, which further curbs overeating.

4. Organize things.

It doesn’t matter whether you’re at work or home, being in chaos can cause stress and anxiety. Picking things and organizing them is a pretty simple way to reduce that stress. Also, while doing so pay attention to every bit and piece of objects and to each placement of the object. To practice mindfulness while organizing, you are called to turn your attention to what’s happening right now: what you are thinking, what you are feeling, and what your senses are telling you.

5. Stretch whenever you can.

Nowadays, we spend most of our time at the desk, working, studying or just surfing the internet. To say that that amount of sitting is bad for our health would be an understatement. Be aware of your body and take a rest from sitting. Get up for at least a few minutes every hour and walk around your room or office, or use that time to stretch. You will see that it not only helps your body but your mind as well!

6. Turn off your devices.

Mobile phone ringing and beeping every now and then can cause anxiety. Also, we usually constantly check emails and social networks on our devices. It distracts us from our primary activities and people around us. Therefore, every once in a while turn off your devices. This way you’ll be more productive and refresh yourself.

7. Pay attention to your breathing.

Are you nervous before some big date? Take three slow and deep breaths from your belly before entering that room. Even if you’re not nervous, stop thinking about other stuff for a few seconds and just pay attention to your breathing. Try to feel how your stomach and chests move, how fast and deep is your breathing…

8. Walk mindfully.

You don’t have to sit and cross your legs to practice mindfulness. As you walk to the store or to work practice mindfulness. Focus on your breathing and each step you take. This way you’ll clear your mind of clutter, decrease stress, restore your sense of focus, and increases overall well-being.

9. Pause between actions.

Your to-do list is pretty long, right? Also, there are many things that you haven’t included there. But it is good to pause between your actions. Take a moment and be proud that you’ve done something. Let yourself to rest a bit. And don’t think about other stuff that is waiting to be done.

10. Do your routine activities mindfully.

Everything you do can be a way of practicing mindfulness, especially those activities that are not demanding. Try to pay more attention as you’re brushing your teeth before bed, for example. Try to be more aware – activate all of your senses. Maybe you’ll find those activities more interesting than you thought.

Mindfulness can easily be integrated into your daily routine. As we can conclude from above, there are so many tasks that we take for granted, but they are all primed for more mindfulness. However, nothing can be done in one day. Try practicing these tips for a few days and they will become even easier. Try practicing them for a few weeks and they will become habits!

References:

[1] Heaversedge, J., & Halliwell, E. (2012). The mindful manifesto: How doing less and noticing more can help us thrive in a stressed-out world. Hay House, Inc.

Exercises to Help Boost the Dyslexic Mind

Dyslexia is a disability that impairs language learning – spelling, pronunciation, reading, and reading comprehension – despite normal intelligence.

Seeing an otherwise bright kid struggle with something “as simple as a reading task” is likely to take most people aback. The inability to relate to the issues kids with dyslexia face can result in both parents and teachers overlooking the importance of effectively overcoming them.

I tutor middle-schoolers with dyslexia in Language Arts. I found that implementing games as exercises can yield outstanding results. Dissecting the workings of two of my favorites will help you understand core problems and give you the ability to tailor your approach to your child.

Why games?

Throughout my experience, I’ve noticed that kids with dyslexia largely benefit from kinaesthetic ways of learning when it comes to Language Arts. Merely listening or observing isn’t enough to build correlations between letters and sounds. When a multitude of their senses are engaged, words begin to gain meaning.

So, how do games fit into this narrative? First off, games force you to implement a variety of skills (like waiting for your turn, which is connected to executive functions – inhibition) – often without you even noticing. Secondly, although they demand your full attention, they provide fun in return. This means a boost in motivation, making distractions less likely to occur.

The interactive aspect of playing games keeps us from getting bored. We make mistakes, we learn to lose. The feedback we get from other players pushes us to do more. We begin to understand the importance and value of doing our due diligence. Working together, regardless if as a team or as opponents, will form a bond and establish trust between you and your child.

You’ve created an environment where making mistakes is part of the process and help is always around the corner. This is particularly useful when you encounter more complex tasks –  more specifically, school assignments.

Hangman

Hangman is one of my top picks for working with kids who struggle with dyslexia. It incorporates all the crucial benefits of learning through games – focus, patterns, interactivity, and creativity.

In a world of distractions, we struggle with focusing on what truly matters. Facing an abundance of information is intimidating, especially when you’re not yet ready to tackle it. Hangman takes things back to basics. The game focuses on one word alone, meaning all attention is fixed to a single point. It allows the opportunity to build a relationship with words devoid of pressure.

Playing the game, patterns start to appear: the frequency of vowels or how ‘q’ is always followed with by a ‘u’. We begin noticing these patterns outside of play time – in the texts we read or words we spell for the first time. These connections testify that there’s a method to the madness that is spelling. Over time, a database is generated in our heads, enabling us to become skilled at guessing how a word might be spelled – accurately!

Don’t be afraid of not covering enough material. Easing into the idea of spelling takes time, but has a great impact on how we feel about language and language learning. Once we’ve mastered some basic skills, learning becomes quicker – and more efficient. Taking the edge off doesn’t just make the exercise less intimidating, but promises greater results.

Moreover, the game’s interactive aspect allows a varied approach. You can choose to collaborate or compete (you don’t even have to stick to just one or the other!). This way, you begin forming a more dynamic and complex relationship with your child when learning.

Lastly, you can get creative. Incorporate the child’s interests (e.g. basketball) when choosing words or creating your Hangman stick figures. By customizing your Hangman character, the game becomes more fun. With something so basic, possibilities are endless. Give your child the freedom to express themselves.

20 Questions

The concept of this game is very simple: guess the person, place, or thing in 20 questions or less. You probably know this game for its vocabulary-building quality, but what if I told you it can help a child master storytelling?

A good storyteller knows how to engage their audience. They set the scene – providing all the information needed to get their point across. We often don’t realize how much we have to factor in to tell a good story: go into enough detail for the audience to understand, but not overdo it to the point that they’re bored. This is where 20 Questions comes in.

We’ll need to master the game in its original form first. As we play, we’ll start to notice patterns that help us identify the word faster: where we can find this thing, what it’s made out of, in which situation are likely to use it. Certain questions have priority in the more general sense – to set the scene, while details are what helps us pin the word down.

Through this process, we become more aware of the importance of having enough information. Moreover, we begin noticing that adding unnecessary details is just that – unnecessary – it doesn’t do much to contribute to the story, distracting us while we try to identify the word. Now let’s take it to the next level to incorporate the game into storytelling.

Before you begin, help your child map out the events in chronological order. A timeline will make it easier to follow the story. Then guide the child by asking them appropriate questions. I would recommend using wh- questions. Ask WHERE the story took place, details about the scene; WHO was involved, and the background of the characters. Then move on to WHAT actually happened and WHY. Additional questions may be prompted by something they mention or when they get stuck.

With time, you’ll notice the child no longer needs assistance. They have actually memorized the questions themselves and can now determine the necessary information on their own!

Gaming done right!

I hope the examples given inspire you to incorporate games into learning. Don’t be afraid to brainstorm with your child in order to make the games even better! Children love to come up with their own rules – and there is a lot to gain from that. Since the way we learn isn’t universal, small tweaks can make a huge difference in how we interpret and memorize information. Moreover, the experience you gain from this will form a strong bond between you, preparing you for future endeavours.

As Vince Gowmon once said:

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Author: Tutor Olivera

Our English Language Tutor, Olivera, who loves to incorporate games when she works with her students, wrote this article. If you need someone who will make learning fun, teach your child how to write the best essays, or boost their dyslexic mind, just book a FREE Video Call with the Nobel Tutor Olivera to find out if she’s a good fit for your kid.

The Pygmalion effect – How Teachers’ Expectations Affect Students’ Achievement

The Pygmalion effect describes how a teacher’s higher expectations lead to the student’s higher performance. If a teacher believes that certain students are late bloomers, there’s a good chance that they will become exactly that.

Pygmalion effects in the classroom

This effect can be found in different settings, but here we’ll focus on the classroom and the discovery by two American psychologists, Rosenthal and Jacobson, who conducted a study to test if children could be brighter when expected to be by their teachers. In another words, whether changes in teacher expectations produce changes in student achievement [2].

In their study, at the beginning of the school year, all of the children in the study were given an intelligence test, which was disguised as a test that would predict intellectual “blooming”. About 20% of the children were chosen at random and the teachers of these children were told that their scores on that test indicated they would show surprising gains in intellectual competence during the next few months of school. The important thing to remember is that the only difference between those children was in the minds of their teachers.

At the end of the school year, all the children were re-tested with the same test. The children from whom the teachers had been led to expect greater intellectual gain showed a greater gain than did the other children.

girl thinking positively about studying

How to use these effects to achieve better performance among students?

Teachers, but also parents, influence whether children will have higher or lower achievement. So, now when we are aware of the power of our expectations, one question arises – how can we help our children?

  1. Look for the good and positive things in each child. Find something to like or appreciate about every child, even if it’s their independence and tenacity. The teacher’s behavior is important. However, there’s more to it than that – it’s about the way you think about the child.
  2. Be aware of your effect. Teachers should always bear in mind that their behavior can affect a student’s performance. Although it’s impossible to like all students equally, it is imperative that they are all treated equally.
  3. Reconsider your treatment. Think about how you treat students you find smart/charming and compare that treatment to the way you approach those you find uninteresting/annoying. Who do you criticize more? Who receives more attention?
  4. More positive treatment. Try to give more attention to students you neglected before. Also, reinforce them if you see them struggling or feeling unsure. This way they’ll be more motivated to raise their hands and ask questions. Consequently, they’ll work harder at your subject and do much better in it.

We, at Nobel Coaching and Tutoring, believe in your student! Achieving better performance demands hard work, but with our help it is much easier and faster. Therefore, there’s one more way to help – you can schedule a FREE 30-minute consultation with one of our Coaches HERE.

References:

[1] Babad, E. Y., Inbar, J., & Rosenthal, R. (1982). Pygmalion, Galatea, and the Golem: Investigations of biased and unbiased teachers. Journal of Educational Psychology,74(4), 459-474. doi:10.1037/0022-0663.74.4.459
[2] Rosenthal, R., & Jacobson, L. (1968). Pygmalion in the classroom. The urban review, 3(1), 16-20.