As parents, we all want our kids to excel academically. But actually making that happen can be a major challenge. For one, there are a lot of headwinds that children have to deal with. First off, most of the time they’re not actually all that interested in the work that they have to do through the school curriculum. This is a major drag on their ability to concentrate, and your ability as a parent to get them to where you want them to go. Then, of course, there are the rest of the distractions of modern life, including friends, computer games, and social media.
So when it comes to achieving success in life and boosting confidence, what should we teach our kids?
Rule 1: Teach Kids That Failure Is Essential
The Schools Guide in the UK recently put out a report that highlighted the importance of failure. Kids have to be able to fail, the report argued, if they are to succeed in the long term. In short, getting good at something means trying over and over again until kids develop real skills. According to most experts, it takes 10,000 hours of practice to get really good at something, whether it’s painting, chess or econometrics.
Help kids along with their failures by talking about your own and how you overcame them. It’s often helpful for children when parents model perseverance, trying over and over until they get it right. A good place to practice is chess, where kids can pit their skills against adults and try to beat them in a series of multiple rounds.
Rule 2: Involve Games In Learning Whenever Possible
Kids love games. There’s something about the way in which games drip-feed rewards that gets them hooked and totally engaged in what they’re doing. But the problem with most of the games that they play is that they aren’t directly educational.
Now, though, more and more educators are “gamifying” classes and offering kids rewards from companies like Trophies Plus Medals. One English tutor got so annoyed with the boring comprehension exercises he was getting his kids to do that he replaced classes with Scrabble. Scrabble, it turns out, helps improve literacy rates and expands kids’ vocabulary, and was even reported as doing so in a news segment by CBS.
Of course, today’s state of the art games aren’t board games; they’re games that can be played on the computer. This means that it is actually easier for parents today to gamify the learning experience than it was in the past, supercharging their child’s success. Even the great Albert Einstein himself said: “play is the highest form of research.”
Rule 3: Encourage “Depth Of Processing”
Researchers at the University of Sheffield found that kids who actively tried to remember what they’d learned didn’t actually remember it any better than kids who didn’t. In other words, trying to force yourself to remember your notes doesn’t work.
Kids, therefore, should use online tools, like Memrise, to help organise the information they are trying to remember into a format that appeals on a multi-sensory level.
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