Education

How do I develop my child’s skills

Helping children learn new skills as part of behaviour management.

When children can do the things they want or need to do, they’re more likely to cooperate. They’re also less likely to get frustrated and behave in challenging ways. This means that helping children learn new skills can be an important part of managing behaviour.

When children learn new skills, they also build independence, confidence and self-esteem. So helping children learn new skills can be an important part of supporting overall development too.

Here’s an example: if your child doesn’t know how to set the table, they might refuse to do it – because they can’t do it. But if you show your child how to set the table, they’re more likely to do it. They’ll also get a sense of achievement and feel good about helping to get your family meal ready.

There are 3 key ways you can help children learn everything from basic self-care to more complicated social skills:

1. modelling.

Through watching you, your child learns what to do and how to do it. When this happens, you’re ‘modelling’.

Modelling is usually the most efficient way to help children learn a new skill. For example, you’re more likely to show rather than tell your child how to make a bed, sweep a floor or throw a ball.Modelling can work for social skills. Prompting your child with phrases like ‘Thank you, Mum’, or ‘More please, Dad’ is an example of this.

You can also use modelling to show your child skills and behaviour that involve non-verbal communication, like body language and tone of voice. For example, you can show how you turn to face people when you talk to them, or look them in the eyes and smile when you thank them.

Children also learn by watching other children. For example, your child might try new foods with other children at preschool even though they might not do this at home with you.How to make modelling work well.

▪️Get your child’s attention, and make sure your child is looking at you.

▪️Move slowly through the steps of the skill so that your child can clearly see what you’re doing.

▪️Point out the important parts of what you’re doing – for example, ‘See how I am …’. You might want to do this later if you’re modelling social skills like greeting a guest.

▪️Give your child plenty of opportunities to practise the skill once they’ve seen you do it – for example, ‘OK, now you have a go’.

2. Instructions.

You can help your child learn how to do something by explaining what to do or how to do it.How to give good instructions.

▪️Give instructions only when you have your child’s attention.

▪️Use your child’s name and encourage your child to look at you while you speak.

▪️Get down to your child’s physical level to speak.

▪️Remove any background distractions like the TV.

▪️Use language that your child understands. Keep your sentences short and simple.

▪️Use a clear, calm voice.

▪️Use gestures to emphasise things that you want your child to notice.

▪️Gradually phase out your instructions and reminders as your child gets better at remembering how to do the skill or task.

3. step by step guidance: breaking down tasks.

Some skills or tasks are complicated or involve a sequence of actions. You can break these skills or tasks into smaller steps. The idea is to help children learn the steps that make up a skill or task, one at a time.

How to do step-by-step guidance .

▪️Start with the easiest step if you can.

▪️Show your child the step, then let them try it.

▪️Give your child more help with the rest of the task or do it for them.

▪️Give your child opportunities to practise the step.

▪️When your child can do the step reliably and without your help, teach them the next step, and so on.

▪️Keep going until your child can do the whole skill or task for themselves..

An example of step-by-step guidanceHere’s how you could break down the task of getting dressed:

▪️Get clothes out.

▪️Put on underpants.

▪️Put on socks.

▪️Put on shirt.

▪️Put on pants.

▪️Put on a jumper.

You could break down each of these steps into parts as well. This can help if a task is complex or if your child has learning difficulties. For example, ‘Put on a jumper’ could be broken down like this:

▪️Face the jumper the right way.

▪️Pull the jumper over your head.

▪️Put one arm through.

▪️Put your other arm through.

▪️Pull the jumper down.

Forwards or backwards steps?

You can help your child learn steps by moving:forwards – teaching your child the first step, then the next step and so on.

backwards – helping your child with all the steps until the last step, then teaching the last step, then the second last step and so on.

Learning backwards has some advantages. Your child is less likely to get frustrated because it’s easier and quicker to learn the last step. Also the task is finished as soon as your child completes the step. Often the most rewarding thing about a job or task is getting it finished!

In the earlier example, you might teach your child to get dressed by starting with a jumper. You’d help your child get dressed until it came to the final step – the jumper.You might help your child put the jumper over their head and put their arms in – then you might let your child pull the jumper down by themselves. Once your child can do this, you might encourage your child to put their arms through by themselves and then pull the jumper down. This would go on until your child can do each step, so they can do the whole task for themselves.

13 Techniques To Improve & Increase Concentration Power & Focus In Children.

here are some of the best ways to help improve your child’s concentration quickly and easily. Take a look at techniques on how to improve concentration in kids!

1. Play focus games & exercises to build attention.

Since children learn more by playing, it is always a good idea to try and make their activities a little more fun.Keep away gadgets, tablets and computers and allow children to play with regular toys, activities that improve attention and concentration, and concentration exercises.

Studies have shown that gadgets actually reduce attention span and memory power of children so they should be used sparingly or not at all.

Take a look at these powerful concentration games and activities for kids:

▪️Sequencing.

The link between sequencing and concentration is a strong one. Following recipes, setting the table and putting things in alphabetical order are great activities for kids who have concentration difficulties.

▪️Just sit.

This game involves challenging your child to sit in a chair without moving or fidgeting to see how long he can do it. Another concentration improvement game in this category is ‘Statue!’ Through repeated play, the child’s brain is ‘exercised’ and challenged, which strengthens mind-body connections and improves focus.

▪️Spot the difference.

These help in making your child concentrate for long and helps to improve focus as your child looks into the details. You can choose puzzle boards that are right for your child’s age! And hey, you can join your child for the game too!

▪️Tongue Twisters.

Betty bought a butter?! Oops! Your child needs a lot of focussing to get this right! Surf the internet for tongue twisters of varying levels of difficulty to give your child a good concentration workout.

▪️What’s missing?

Read a sequence of numbers, alphabets or words from their favourite rhyme — but here’s the catch — skip a number/alphabet/word in the process. Your little detective needs to focus closely to spot the missing item! Another option is to make them count backwards or narrate a story in reverse (based on their age group).

▪️Memory game.

Pick a theme, and you and your child take turns to add to a sequence of items in that theme. As your child tries to recollect each, they will put to use their memory, thus boosting their concentration power.

2. Prepare a distraction-free environment.

Some children respond well in an environment that is soothing and calming but other children may thrive in an environment that has a lot of hustle and bustle.

Understanding what kind of environment your child prefers to study is the first step to increase the concentration level in him/her.

▪️Ambience – Soft instrumental music and soft lighting helps to set the mood for studying.

▪️Gadgets – Ideally, all gadgets including televisions, iPads, cell phones etc. need to be switched off or kept in a different room to avoid distractions. If you need to use a computer to study, make sure that it is used only for studying and nothing else.

▪️Reachable material – Keep everything that is required at hand so that your child does not need to get up to get anything. All homework books, crayons, textbooks, pencils and even water can be kept on the table or nearby. This also helps keep track of how much work is left and helps you to manage your time better. All these help kids improve focus and increase attention!

3. Feed them greens & healthy food to improve concentration.

Eating healthy food has a direct link to how well a child concentrates and there are different foods that help develop a child’s concentration. Eating junk food or food rich in sugar makes a child sluggish while food rich in proteins such as almonds, eggs and lean meat have the ability to raise awareness and increase concentration levels!

▪️Caffeine – A recent trend in the US shows that children have increased their intake of coffee and caffeinated energy drinks. This gives them an unhealthy dose of sugar which can lead to a “crash” of energy later.

▪️Green food – An interesting study in the University of Ulster, UK shows that eating toast and baked beans for breakfast increases cognition. Experts say that eating greens and fruits inject the body with antioxidants which in turn boost your brain power.

4. Fix a routine to follow for better concentration.

it is important to maintain a schedule for your child, even if it is a more flexible one.This not only helps with time management but also helps program your child’s brain to know when he has to study.And this, in turn, helps to increase the child’s concentration in studies!

5. Naps and breaks boost concentration!

Most children are able to concentrate best after a good nights’ rest.

A power nap for twenty minutes after school or in the afternoon should also do the trick to increase concentration.

All bathroom breaks, hunger pangs etc. should be taken care of before the study time begins as they have the tendency to interfere with concentration.

6. Divide bigger tasks into smaller tasks.

Studying an entire chapter in one go is quite difficult for a child. It always helps to break it down into pages or even paragraphs so that the child feels a sense of accomplishment for finishing a small task and this will motivate him to continue on.This is true not just for studies but for household chores as well.

7. Understand your child’s method of learning (visual, auditory, kinaesthetic) .

All children learn in different ways. Some children process information easily when they see it, some when they hear it and some when they have practical knowledge of it and can touch it.

It is important to understand which category your child falls under, mostly because this will help them understand information better and the learning will be more long term than short term.

▪️Visual: Children who are visual understand information better when they are able to see it. In this case, the child will be able to concentrate better if she is allowed to read the information and write it down as well.

▪️Making flash cards: If your child is learning spellings or even concepts, writing them down on small cards and repeatedly showing them to her will help her understand and learn these concepts that much faster.

▪️Drawing: Asking the child to draw what he is studying may also help him visualize the material better. A bonus is that this also helps his fine motor skills to develop.

▪️Doodling: Often, we see our children scribbling while studying and think that they’re distracted but what really happens is that the doodling helps them recall what they have been studying at that point and so remembering it at a later stage becomes easier.

▪️Auditory: Children who learn better when they hear information are auditory in nature.

▪️Reading aloud: Children who are auditory in nature learn better by reading the material aloud or listening to someone else reading. In this regard, they might find audio books more helpful than paperback books.

▪️Music: Listening to music may also help children concentrate in studies.

▪️Kinaesthetic: Children who are kinaesthetic need to be able to touch and feel their subject matter to understand and process it better. For these children, learning by practical applications may be more helpful than reading aloud or writing.

8. Prepare your child for the next task.

When your child is busy, tell him what he has to do next, but allow a few minutes, until he stops and starts the new activity.This helps, especially when a child is engaged doing something he likes and enjoys doing, since there would be a reluctance to stop what he is doing and start something else.

9. Set short time goals for better concentration.

Set a time limit for the completion of a goal. If it is studying, then you can say that a certain number of pages need to be done within twenty minutes.

Keep in mind that the average time for an adult to concentrate completely is about 42 minutes and so the concentration span of a child would be much less.Therefore, it would be wise to have shorter time limits such as 15 minutes to 20 minutes.

Another thing to keep in mind is that while some children thrive under time goals, other children might feel pressurized and may start feeling anxious and lose focus.

10. Set up a reward system.

Rewards don’t necessarily have to be tokens such as chocolates or toys.They can also be in the form of praise or even further studying!

11. Allow time for distractions.

Kids are naturally energetic and exuberant. Giving them time to vent out their energy once their time limit for a task is up may actually help them focus better on the next task!It would help if your child did something completely different during this time.

12. Use energy effectively for better concentration.

Some children have high energy in the mornings while others have high energy in the evenings.

Studying or doing activities during this time will help your child focus better on the task at hand. But how can one concentrate on studies?Always start your child on the tougher activities during his high energy time.

As energy levels go down, you can always switch to a lighter activity.This will help to increase concentration power!

13. Try deep breathing and imagery to improve concentration.

Combining simple relaxation techniques such as deep breathing with positive visual imagery helps increase brain power to improve or learn new skills.

For instance, you can ask a child to close her eyes and imagine that she is paying attention in class.

In her imagination, what can she see?What can she hear? What is distracting her?You can further ask her to imagine how she would take care of those distractions.

Once she is able to clearly picture this, you will find that her behaviour at school also changes!

Reference:

Teaching skills to children: different approaches”, www.raisingchildren.net.au

Dr. Shireen Stephen, “13 Mind-Blowing Tips To Increase Concentration Power In Kids”، www.flintobox.com

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