Anchor a good learning state
Children (and grown-ups) can tend to get themselves in a state and having the ability to change that state is a very useful tool! Teach them how to Anchor a good state.
Ask them to think about a fun time, something they really enjoyed, a moment they were really pleased with life or proud of themselves and ask them to squeeze their earlobe and capture the moment. Tell them that every time they are feeling on top of the world, then when they are feeling stressed or sad they can repeat that physical action and it will remind them what it’s like to feel good about themselves again. Details here.
One reason why children don’t always feel confident is that they compare themselves with other children, usually ones who are better at something then them. Encourage them to compare themselves with how they were last month, or last term, so they can see how much they have improved in something.
Remind yourself of your skills
Children very easily notice someone who can do something they can’t do, getting top marks or doing a handstand. They don’t so easily notice what they themselves do well and although modern parents are quick to praise their child, unless your child believes in their own abilities, the praise is quite empty and meaningless.
Ask your child what person they want to be like, and then ask in what ways are they already like them? “If you can spot it, you’ve got it” is an NLP saying. It means we can easily recognize qualities in others that we have in ourselves. Point this out to your child where and when you have observed this quality in them.
Switch their negative talk to positive. Children are inclined to use generalisations and distortions such as ‘everyone is better than me’. Ask them ‘Who exactly?’ and ‘How are they better?’ to encourage them to see the situation more realistically. Another way to switch to more positive orientation is to notice whether they talk about what they want or what they don’t want. Working ‘towards’ rather than ‘away from’ things tends to result in a more confident result.
How does your child learn? Revamping revision strategy
Working out how best your child learns can really help them build confidence and get results.
Visual learners tend to speak fast, remember what they saw not heard, notice their surroundings, are good at thinking ahead, good readers, tend to doodle, like reading themselves (rather than being read to) answer questions briefly, would rather be shown than told, sometimes stumble over finding the right words, are not really bothered by noise.
Revision Tips: Visual children should use sticky notes, mind maps, lists, read and make notes. This will help them visualise the exam.
Auditory learners can be easily distracted by noise, like to read out loud, speak well, find writing difficult, learn by talking, love discussion, talk to themselves, more musical than arty, tend to speak in rhythmic patterns, are good mimics, can spell better out loud than by writing it down.
Revision tips: Auditory children should get a revision buddy to rest them verbally. This will help recall what they said as the answered the questions.
Kinaesthetic learners respond well to physical rewards, stand close when speaking to someone, learn by doing, want to act things out, move hands when speaking, speak slowly, like games, have messy handwriting, use action words, are physical and fidgety.
Revision tips: Kinaesthetic children should use computer programs for bite size revision. Interacting and testing themselves – the act of physically doing something- will help reinforce the facts they need.
Children, just like adults, have a preference for information presented either in details (small chunks) or in general (big chunks). If you present it in the ‘wrong’ way it can be difficult for them to process. Be aware of your own preference (too much detail! Not enough details) and see how your child responds. Perhaps they chunk differently to you. Then apply this to revision, help them split up the learning they need to do into a format that works for them.
Overcoming limiting beliefs
If your child is adamant they can’t do the exam, that they will fail then we can challenge that limiting belief and overcome it. Argue with the negative voice and question it. Sit down with your child and ask them ‘What if you could?’ Follow this with other phrases that focus on achieving their goal ‘What would it look like?’ What would it sound like?’ What would it feel like?’ By asking these questions of our children we associate with their goals. This means we get them to acknowledge that not only that they can happen, but that they will, because they can only happen if we visualise them. If we can imagine it happening then it will happen.
Children and teenagers need to learn how to mindfully choose what to focus on rather than allowing themselves to get distracted by worries and fears, anger and stress.
Mindfulness can enable you to stand back and review your patterns, the way you respond to situations that may not be terribly helpful. In a sense you are giving yourself therapy but it isn't about talk, it's silent meditation where your breathing is your focus and anchors the calm state where you can notice the thoughts, name them, accept that your mind will wander, and gently and kindly without judgement, bring yourself back to the present.
If you're interested in having a go and experiencing mindfulness - download the free Headspace app.
If you’d like to know more about what I do or my new Exam Stress Buster courses, which consist of 4 x skype sessions please get in touch. firstname.lastname@example.org 07917 451245