Tag: Behaviour

011: [Q&A] Making the Most of Family Road Trips

No Comments

Posted on by Zoe Barnes

Going on a car trip with the whole family on the holidays? A long journey might make the kids feel bored, thus having tantrums while being restrained on their car seat. This alone would make the ride in total chaos. With that said, this 11th episode of the Impressive, Q&A style, might be of help as Doctor Kimberley O’Brien answers the question of one of our listeners by giving tips on how to make the family dynamics normalised during the whole trip.

Listen as we provide answers for:

  • How often should we stop?
  • For how long should we stop?
  • And, where should we stop?

Enjoy the Episode

Keep updated with The Impressive Podcast

Join Dr Kimberley O’Brien on the Impressive Facebook Group to receive news, share your opinion and learn about resources for home and school. You can also Join the Mail List.

About Impressive

Impressive is a weekly podcast that sheds a new light on the world of parenting. Join host, Dr Kimberley O’Brien PhD, as she delves into real-life parenting issues with CEOs, global ex-pats, entrepreneurs, celebrities, travellers and other hand-picked parents.

Advertisement

010: [Q&A] How to Empower Young People

No Comments

Posted on by Zoe Barnes

The 10th episode of the Impressive gives you answers to the questions that came from one of the listeners about how to empower your children. Just because they are still young, who are in the stage of discovering themselves and exploring the world, doesn’t mean that they can’t participate and give their insights on issues around them. Actually, they can if you allow and courage them to do so. In this episode, Doctor Kimberley will give you tips on parenting approaches that would motivate your children to better themselves and be part of something good.

Listen up as we explore:

  • How to inspire young people to make a difference in their school community
  • Why it’s important for school leaders to survey students to gain their perspectives
  • What types of activities can parents and children do to feel empowered

Enjoy the Episode

Keep updated with The Impressive Podcast

Join Dr Kimberley O’Brien on the Impressive Facebook Group to receive news, share your opinion and learn about resources for home and school. You can also Join the Mail List.

About Impressive

Impressive is a weekly podcast that sheds new light on the world of parenting. Join host, Dr Kimberley O’Brien PhD, as she delves into real-life parenting issues with CEOs, global ex-pats, entrepreneurs, celebrities, travellers and other hand-picked parents.

Advertisement

Top Tips to Prepare Children for Tests and Exams

No Comments

Posted on by Zoe Barnes

As we prepare to begin term 3 in Australia, now is a good time to star to prepare for  the dreaded tests and exams period. Whether it is your child’s first experience with formal examination periods or they are a seasoned regular, it is easy to feel unprepared and nervous. The following article will discuss strategies to assist with these nerves and help boost your child’s confidence!

Strategy #1 PREPARE FOR YOUR ASSESSMENTS 

Sometimes the most obvious strategies are overlooked. Make sure you know when your child’s exam is. Mark it on the calendar. Knowing how long you have to prepare will help you and your child to appropriately schedule study times and reduce the chance of your child feeling overwhelmed.

Similarly, find out what is on the test! Some exam notices will indicate particular chapters and topics of importance. For the Higher School Certificate (HSC), students will be provided learning outcomes that explicitly highlight what knowledge will be examined. The Board of Studies has created helpful pages for each exam that outline what to expect as well as the equipment needed for each tests and exams, which can be found by following the link here.

Strategy #2 TIMETABLE

This is the time to get out the coloured highlighters and get organised! On a weekly planner, mark out all the times where you have commitments already scheduled (e.g. school, dance class, soccer practice, family BBQ, etc.). Then, working with your child, (let them do it on their own if they are capable), schedule in one to three 30 minute blocks of time on weeknights (depending on the number of tests and exams: and child’s capability) to cover a particular subject. Prioritise the subjects they find most difficult.

Breaking up the work into more manageable chunks of time will make the pressure of exams less daunting. Structuring study this way will also help to overcome any avoidance tactics.

For the weekends, you may want to discuss adding a couple more study blocks, where your child can choose the topics. Remember to schedule in fun breaks and small rewards to keep your child motivated. For example, spend 15 minutes playing their favourite game or having a snack after 30-40 minutes of study.

Strategy #3 STUDY ENVIRONMENT

Research has shown that your memory recall is best when it is in a similar environment (Godden & Baddeley, 1975). Although you cannot take your child to school to study in their regular school classroom, you can try to make their study space at home reflect the conditions of tests and exams.

For example, encourage your child to study at a desk, sitting upright in a supportive chair, in a quiet environment. Although it may be more comfortable, studying in bed will be less effective!

Strategy #4 MAKE STUDY ACTIVE

How does your child study? Most commonly, children and adolescents alike will flick through their books and highlight more words than not. Though this can be helpful, it can often lead to an illusion of knowledge – “if it is highlighted, I should know it!”

Instead, encourage active study. This includes rewriting information in their own words, making mind maps, talking about topics, creating quizzes, using past exams questions and testing knowledge. Children can either do this independently or with parents and/or friends. Research shows that this leads to better learning and understanding of the material (Prince, 2004).

Strategy #5 SLEEP

Adequate sleep is so important, especially for the exam preparation! During sleep, our brain consolidates learning, so while your child may think it is better to stay up studying until the early hours of the morning, they will be better off getting in the zzz’s (Stickgold, 2005).

Strategy #6 NUTRITION

There is no one key ‘brain food’ that is guaranteed to lead to success. However, a diet rich in whole grains (oats, brown rice, wheat bread), omega-3 (fatty fish, nuts and seeds, avocado) and vitamins (eggs, leafy greens) has been shown to improve brain function and development and improve concentration (Torrens, 2017).

In particular, for older adolescents, limiting caffeine is recommended. Although energy drinks or coffee may be considered helpful because they increase alertness, their stimulant effects may make it difficult for adolescents to wind down, negatively impact sleep and lead to daytime sleepiness (James, Kristjánsson, & Sigfúsdóttir, 2011).

Strategy #7 EXAM DAY

Important things to remember on the day:

  • Make sure your child has a good, wholesome breakfast – think brain food, such as eggs on toast with avocado.
  • Engage in positive self-talk: remind your child of the hard work that has gone into preparing for the exam. Remind them they can do this! Manage expectations and focus on the effort your child has put in, not the achievement.
  • Arrive early: this is especially important for the HSC, as sometimes exams can be in rooms different from normal exams or classes.

Remind your child to:

  • Take three deep breaths to help settle their nerves.
  • Read all the instructions carefully.
  • Wear a watch to keep track of time.

Have something enjoyable arranged for after the assessment – your child has earned it!

Strategy #8 REDUCING ANXIETY DURING TESTS AND EXAMS 

Though the above strategies can help support your child, it is normal for them to experience anxiety. Recognising the physical and mental symptoms of anxiety can help your child break the anxiety cycle.

Racing thoughts, difficulty concentrating, feelings of worry and negative self-talk are common psychological symptoms of anxiety. Physical symptoms may include an accelerated heart rate, sweaty palms, upset stomach and tension throughout the body (American Psychiatric Association, 2013).

Some strategies to help reduce anxiety include: deep breathing exercises (long, slow breaths in through the nose, out through the mouth), positive self talk (“I can do it”), grounding exercises (focus on what is in the room, not racing thoughts), and taking a break to go and exercise (Furner, & Berman, 2003; Otto & Smits, 2011).

If you notice your child’s exam anxiety is persistent and detrimentally affecting your child’s ability not only to study but to effectively function in other areas of life, it may be indicative of a more serious issue. Should you have any concerns please don’t hesitate to contact our friendly reception on (02) 9362 9297.

Best of Luck!

Done with your assessments? Or just going back to school? Check out our term programs!

References

American Psychiatric Association. (2013). Diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders (5th ed.). Washington, DC: Author.

Furner, J. M., & Berman, B. T. (2003). Math anxiety: Overcoming a major obstacle to the improvement of student math performance. Childhood Education, 79(3), 170-175. doi: 10.1080/00094056.2003.10522220

Godden, D. R. & Baddeley, A. D. Context‐dependent memory in two natural environments: on land and underwater. British Journal of Psychology, 66(3), 325-331. doi: 10.1111/j.2044-8295.1975.tb01468.x

James, J. E., Kristjánsson, Á. L., & Sigfúsdóttir, I. D. (2011). Adolescent substance use, sleep, and academic achievement: evidence of harm due to caffeine. Journal of adolescence, 34(4), 665-673.

NSW Education Standards Authority (2018). Exam advice and resources for students. Retrieved 17th September, 2018, from http://k6.boardofstudies.nsw.edu.au/wps/portal/nesa/11-12/hsc/exam-advice-resources

Otto, M, W., & Smits, J. A. J. (2011). Exercise for mood and anxiety: Proven strategies for overcoming depression and enhancing well-being. New York, NY: Oxford University Press Inc.

Prince, M. (2004). Does active learning work? A review of the research. Journal of Engineering Education, 93(3), 223-231.

Stickgold, R. (2005). Sleep-dependent memory consolidation. Nature, 437(7063), 1272-1278. doi:10.1038/nature04286

Torrens, K. (2017). 10 foods to boost your brain power. Retrieved 17th September, 2018, from https://www.bbcgoodfood.com/howto/guide/10-foods-boost-your-brainpower

Advertisement

006: How to Stimulate a Young Inventor with Angelina Arora

No Comments

Posted on by Zoe Barnes

For the sixth episode of Impressive, a young scientist by the name of Angelina Arora, the inventor of bioplastic, tells the story behind her interesting work and how it has been taking her to greater heights. Also, she shares the insights that she gained while on her journey towards success.

Listen up as we explore:

  • How Angelina’s parents supported her passion for science and inventing.
  • How to seek out a support network of teachers, professors and mentors to make your dreams a reality.
  • How to find friends who are equally passionate about their own endeavours, while balancing schoolwork with international research.

Enjoy the Episode

Recommended Resources

Keep updated with The Impressive Podcast

Join Dr Kimberley O’Brien on the Impressive Facebook Group to receive news, share your opinion and learn about resources for home and school. You can also Join the Mail List.

About Impressive

Impressive is a weekly podcast that sheds a new light on the world of parenting. Join host, Dr Kimberley O’Brien PhD, as she delves into real-life parenting issues with CEOs, global ex-pats, entrepreneurs, celebrities, travellers and other hand-picked parents.

Advertisement

Fostering Healthy Competition in Kids

No Comments

Posted on by Zoe Barnes

Competitive individual and team sports are a ubiquitous part of childhood. The benefits are well understood, but sports participation can also present challenges for both kids and parents alike. Preparing your children with strategies for good mental game-play will help them navigate some of the emotional and social obstacles that may arise.

What Competitive Sports Can Teach Your Child To Foster Healthy Competition in Kids

There are many reasons to encourage your child’s participation in competitive sports. Other than the positive impact physical fitness can have on your child’s health, research highlights that additional key benefits from healthy competition in kids can include (Eime, Young, Harvey, Charity, & Payne, 2013; Hansen, Larson, & Dworkin, 2003):

    • Teaching children important team-building, problem solving and social participation skills.
    • Improved cognitive function and motor coordination.
    • Helping your child learn that healthy competition is a natural part of life and that effort can lead to success.
    • Improved general motivation and engagement in other activities.
    • Boosting self-esteem – there are many valuable lessons in both winning and losing.
    • Mood stabilisation – participation may help protect your child from experiencing low mood and depression.
    • Decreasing risky behaviour – sport provides a structured and supportive environment, as well as an outlet for expression.

Risks in Overdoing It

Undoubtedly, you want your child to succeed in life, and sport is no exception – but in your eagerness are you perhaps pushing your child too hard?

While engagement in competitive sport has its merits as outlined above, when young athletes overwhelmingly commit to a single sport year-round with next-to-no downtime, there can be considerable risks. Research suggests that putting too much pressure on a child and emphasising outcome-goals (winning) instead of process-goals (participation and personal bests) can have negative consequences. This can lead to (Brenner, 2007):

  • Burnout – Negative mental, physical and hormonal changes, can make children feel tired and disinterested. This can actually lead them to them perform worse in competition.
  • Overuse injuries – If a child is unable to adequately rest and recover due to the pressure of competition, they can injure a bone, tendon or muscle.
  • Loss of interest – Negative experiences early on can reduce the likelihood that your child will engage in future physical activity. Watch for phrases like “It’s not fun anymore!” and “I don’t care.”

How to Foster a Love of Healthy Competition in Kids

Whether you are a supportive parent or a sports coach, the following approaches can be used to help foster healthy competition in kids and give your little one a greater sense of well-being when engaging in sports.

Strategy #1: Modify Expectations

Expectations are normal in the realm of competitive sports (and of course you want your child to succeed), but rather than framing your expectations in terms of winning and losing, it is often more beneficial to frame sport participation as a form of leisure time or social engagement for your child.
For example, use dialogue such as,

“You looked like you had a lot of fun playing soccer with the team today!”

Highlight personal bests and growth, rather than focusing on winning. For example,

“This week you swam to the flags. That’s longer than last time – great work!”

Emphasise the importance of your child following through with a commitment once it has been started. Statements such as,

“I am proud of you for playing your best all season!” are really encouraging.

Strategy #2: Visualise the Event

If your child gets nervous leading up to a game, mental exercises like visualisation can be really helpful. For example, if your child is running a race, have them imagine each stage – Walking up to your lane, bending down, taking deep breaths, pushing off the ground and quickly taking the lead, making sure to remember to breathe as you continue to charge through the race. 

Tasks like these will help your child prepare for every aspect of the race or game ahead of time (Quirky Kid, 2018).

Strategy #3: Teach Your Child To Self-Check

One way to promote healthy competition in kids is to teaching your child to self-check is a two-part process.

First, check in on physical nerves. Having your child check in on their immediate physical state can help them identify and manage the physical symptoms of anxiety.

The second part of a self-check involves your child reflecting on their thoughts. Is there any self-doubt arising as the event/game gets closer? If yes, encourage your child to try replacing these unhelpful thoughts with more helpful thoughts.

Strategy #4: The Pep Talk

‘Pep talks’ are ubiquitous in competitive sport. Whether led by a captain or coach, these talks are often the last step before the event starts, meaning these words leave a lasting impression. You want to inspire the children and motivate them so they are ready to compete. Be careful, however – there is a fine line between pumping children up and placing unneeded pressure on them.

Recent research suggests that the best pep talks are those that follow a competence support approach (Fransen, Boen, Vansteenkiste, Mertens, & Vande Broek, 2017). Put simply, a pep talk should encourage your child to focus on improving their performance and reflecting on positive times already encountered in previous games, rather than thinking only of winning. Framing a pep talk in this way improves children’s sense of team unity and increases their intrinsic motivation (i.e. self-motivation) to compete – so be sure next time to give this approach a go.

If you notice your child experiencing negative emotions, which are persistent and detrimentally affecting your child’s ability not only to engage in competitive sport, but to effectively function in other areas of life, it may be indicative of a more serious, or potentially more pervasive issue. Here at Quirky Kid, we implement an award-winning program, Power Up!®, designed to enhance mental resilience and performance in young athletes. Should you have any concerns about your child, or are interested in helping them maximise their sporting potential in a healthy way, please don’t hesitate to contact our friendly reception on (02) 9362 9297.

For a better understanding of the PowerUp Program visit: Performance Psychology For Kids

References

Brenner, J. S., & Council on Sports Medicine and Fitness (2007). Overuse injuries, overtraining and burnout in child and adolescent athletes. Paediatrics, 1199(6), doi: 10.1542/peds.2007-0887

Eime, R. M., Young, J. A., Harvey, J. T., Charity, M. J., & Payne, W. R. (2013). A systematic review of the psychological and social benefits of participation in sport for children and adolescents: informing the development of a conceptual model of health through sport. International Journal of Behavioural Nutrition and Physical Activity, 10(98). doi: 10.1186/1479-5868-10-98

Fransen, K., Boen, F., Vansteenkiste, M., Mertens, N., & Vande Broek, G. (2017). The power of competence support: The impact of coaches and athlete leaders on intrinsic motivation and performance. Scandinavian Journal of Medicine & Science in Sports, 28(2). doi: 10.1111/sms.12950

Hansen, D. M., Larson, R. W., & Dworkin, J. B. (2003). What adolescents learn in organised youth activities: A survey of self-reported developmental experiences. Journal of Research on Adolescence, 13(1), 25-55. Doi: 10.1111/1532-7795.1301006

Quirky Kid (2018). Power Up! Retrieved from https://childpsychologist.com.au/service/workshops-info/power-up/

Advertisement