Tag: Study Skills

Raising Readers: Parenting with Books

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Posted on by Leonardo Rocker (Quirky Kid Staff)

Raising Readers : Parenting with Books

We all recognise the benefits of reading. At the Quirky Kid Clinic, we’ve put our pens to paper and compiled a list of all the subtle social, emotional and language boosts a simple ‘bedtime story’ can have. We also prepared a step-by-step guide on how to build a healthy and manageable reading routine for your family!

The Benefits of Reading

  • Reading is a bonding experience. Reading with your child helps to nurture your relationship with them. It’s an opportunity to spend exclusive time together without distractions or external pressures. Richardson et al. (2015) found that reading with your child helps them to feel more secure and bonded with their parent as well as helps children absorb new information faster.
  • Reading builds language skills. Children who are exposed to a great volume of rich language are given a head start academically and develop stronger language skills (Fernald, Marchman, & Weisleder, 2013). This ultimately impacts not only their learning and cognitive development, but also positively influences a child’s communication skills.
  • Reading builds coping skills. Setting aside time to read with you child provides a regular forum to contemplate and work through challenges. Reading, looking at pictures and pointing things out provides an opportunity for your child to express themselves as they relate to the characters in the story. This promotes healthy relationships and provides positive ideas and ways to express oneself. For example, a child transitioning to school may benefit from reading a story about another child starting school as walking through the experience in someone else’s shoes can help normalise their own feelings, understand their experiences and build up a set of coping strategies for these experiences.
  • Reading is relaxing. iPads, TVs, phones, computer games; it is often impossible to compete with the whizzing, whirring, distracting nature of these devices. Finding time in your day to sit down with your child is a crucial opportunity for quiet reflection and mindfulness. Think of it as a way of “tuning in” as opposed to “tuning out”.
  • Reading teaches empathy. Being able to share and understand the feelings of others is a skill crucial to building our social relationships. A study out of Cambridge University (Nikolajeva, 2013) found that reading books about fictional characters can provide excellent training for young people in developing and practising empathy. Through reading, a child experiences the feelings of another person in different situations, which helps them develop an understanding of how they feel and think. These skills, when nurtured, help the child to show empathy in real life situations.

So, we now know the benefits, but how can we put this into practice? Here are some pointers that our Psychologists here at Quirky Kid recommend for people looking to transition storytime from a rare occasion to an unmissable part of their daily routine.

Building your Reading Routine

  • Timing is crucial. Set reading time to about 30 minutes before the child’s bedtime. Recommended time for a reading session is between 10 and 30 uninterrupted minutes depending on your child’s age and attention span, but follow your child’s interests. 
  • Get comfy. Make sure your reading space is comfortable and that your child can see, hear and respond easily. Limit the distractions available around you. 
  • Be prepared. For kids who have trouble sitting still, provide things to keep their little hands busy. Providing paper and crayons to draw with or toys to look at can help, whilst still listening to the story. 
  • If you don’t like it, ditch it. Select a captivating text that will keep both you and your child engaged. Don’t insist on reading something that you or your child are not enjoying. Everyone tastes are different after all! 
  • Encourage discussion at every turn. Start with the cover: what do they think the book will be about? At each page: what do they think might happen next? After the book: what happened here? So many lessons can be learned from these mini-recaps! 
  • Let them try. If your child has begun school, help them to sound out words phonetically and occasionally point to some sight words that they may recognise. 
  • Don’t try to compete. Very few children, given the choice of watching cartoons, playing games or reading a book, are going to choose books – at least, not until they’ve developed a love of reading. Set a cut-off time for technology and give the child the choice of hearing a story or reading aloud. 
  • Make it fun. Be as animated as you can whilst reading. This will add to the enjoyment and imagination that goes along with reading, especially for the younger children. Adjust your pace, tone and volume to the story.

Fostering a positive reading environment in the home can provide many benefits for you, your child and your family. Reading with your child not only develops their language and literacy skills, but also helps them develop many foundational skills that will support them throughout their life, including resilience and empathy skills. Setting aside thirty minutes a day to make storytime a regular and enjoyable part of your family routine is one of the best and most valuable times to raise a reader and connect with your child.

For more information about how to support your child and their social, emotional and learning needs consider The Best of Friends Program or  contact us with any questions.

For great titles, visit https://therapeuticresources.com.au/

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References:

  • Fernald, A., Marchman, V. A., & Weisleder, A. (2013). SES differences in language processing skill and vocabulary are evident at 18 months. Developmental science, 16(2), 234-248.
  • Nikolajeva, M. (2013). “Did you Feel as if you Hated People?”: Emotional Literacy Through Fiction. New Review of Children’s Literature and Librarianship, 19(2), 95-107.
  • Richardson, M. V., Miller, M. B., Richardson, J. A., & Sacks, M. K. (2015). Literary bags to encourage family involvement. Reading Improvement, 52(3), 126-132.
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Dealing with Exam Anxiety

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Posted on by Leonardo Rocker (Quirky Kid Staff)

Exams are a time when students of all ages feel more stressed than usual. Stress can also be positive thing as it aids motivation and concentration. However too much stress can make a young person feel overwhelmed, confused, exhausted and edgy and consequently produce a negative impact on study results.

Exam anxiety is a natural reaction to too much pressure and can come from a number of sources including: young people themselves; comparisons with others; wanting to reach too ambitious goals; family members; peers or teachers.

Symptoms of Exam Anxiety

Signs your child may be experiencing exam anxiety include:

  • Being cranky and irritable;
  • Sleeping difficulties;
  • Complaints of chest pains and/or nausea;
  • Low self-esteem;
  • Losing touch with friends;
  • Difficulty getting motivated.

Suggestions for managing exam stress

  • Effective Study habits: Effective study and learning habits can help to reduce exam stress in students of all ages. The Quirky Kid Clinic runs a study skills program to help students learn these skills
  • Diet: Ensure your child is eating regular healthy meals throughout the exam period, drinking lots of water, and that they are monitoring their caffeine or sugar intake.
  • Lifestyle: Encourage your child to keep up leisure activities such as seeing friends, exercising, or even watching television, as these activities give the brain a much-needed break from studying, which will allow for more effective study in the future.
  • Sleep: Encourage your child to stop studying at least one hour prior to going to bed, in order to help them unwind and have a more restful sleep.
  • Relaxation: Relaxation techniques such as breathing and muscle exercises can help your child calm down and manage their stress symptoms in a range of environments and situations. Child Psychologists at the Quirky Kid Clinic can help your child with relaxation exercises in an individual consultation or during our Why Worry workshop.

Please contact our clinic to make an appointment if you believe your child would benefit from some assistance in dealing with exam stress.

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Information for this fact sheet was taken from Kimberley O’Brien, Child Psychologist, ReachOut .com, ParentLine and Kids Help Line}

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Study Stress @ Channel 10 News

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Posted on by Leonardo Rocker (Quirky Kid Staff)

Kimberley O’Brien, our principal child psychologist, discussed the study stress ahead of the HSC period with Channel 10 News Presenter  Ron Wilsom. You can find  useful, practical and informative advice about dealing with  study stress by visiting our resources page or discussing it on our forum.

View the segment below. There will be an advertisement prior to video starts.

If you have a story and would like to discuss it with us, please contact us to schedule a time. Kimberley O’Brien enjoys sharing the best of her therapeutic moments with the media. View our media appearances to-date.

School Holiday Workshops

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Posted on by Leonardo Rocker (Quirky Kid Staff)

We have just announced new dates for our popular children’s workshops throughout the January school holidays.

The ‘Best of Friends’ workshop™ is focused on developing social skills, and will help to prepare children for playground politics in the new school year ahead. This workshop will be running on Tuesday, 12th January and Monday, 18th January for all ages.

Our ‘Why Worry’ workshop helps children manage feelings of stress and worry, and will benefit children who are anxious about making a transition in the new school year, such as changing teachers, classrooms or even changing schools. This workshop will be running on Wednesday, 13th January and Friday, 22nd January, for all ages.

We will also be running a study skills program to ensure students are well equipped with effective study techniques when entering a new grade. This workshop will be running as a 2 hour session on Wednesday, 20th January for cchildren aged 8+.

For more information please visit our workshops page or contact us. 

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