Study Wizards Blog
Posted: February 9, 2018
by John Hankey
According to the American Test Anxieties Association, at least 33% of students struggle with moderate to acute test anxiety. Physical tension is always a contributing factor to (if not the cause of) test anxiety: you cannot experience stress without tensing yourself up. Releasing this tension is the foundation for becoming a calmer test taker.
The Secret to Mindfulness: Progressive Relaxation
The ability to relax is a skill that you can learn, develop & improve at over time. It is also the core principle of mindfulness. The body scan meditation is a classic, trusted way to progressively relax and involves scanning your body from head to toe, inviting each part to relax. Many meditators believe that relaxing the body is a “warm-up” or secondary benefit to working with your mind. This is not the case. The truth is that the body scan is often the main focus for many silent, 10-day meditation retreats and one of the core concepts taught by the Buddha. Using a body scan audio is a great way to start so you can be supported in being able to feel your body more deeply. One body scan can be as long or as quick as you wish. 5-7 minutes is a common duration. Subsequent iterations of the body scan will help improve your ability to feel your body, release physical tension and sharpen your focus.
Your Subconscious Mind
Your subconscious mind is simply your body and how your body responds to where you put your attention. Close your eyes and imagine you are biting into a tart, juicy lemon. Make it real. Taste it. Ddi you notice that you started to salivate? That’s your subconscious mind.
Visualization for Behavioral Change
If imagining a juicy lemon makes you salivate, what will visualizing the testing scenario do to your body? You probably guessed it: your body will (subtly) tense up. This is actually a good thing because now you can focus on progressively relaxing during the visualization. Changing how you feel when imagining a situation will change how you feel when you next confront the situation in your life. In other words, combining visualization & progressive relaxation will pre-emptively reduce your test anxiety…before test day even arrives.
Mindful Test Taking
My company MindfulTestTaking.com offers a number of techniques & strategies to help students reduce test anxiety, but the fundamental concept is always the same: visualize & relax. It takes time, but with practice, you can eventually “see” yourself taking a test while keeping your body relaxed. Once you hit that level of mental mastery & somatic self-control, you are ready to walk in and simply take the test.
Words of Wisdom
If you have breaks during the test, practice the body scan meditation at this time. This will refresh and rejuvenate you, helping you sustain your energy and focus. Also, avoid exacerbating tension & stress during the test: furrowing your brow, white-knuckling your pen or the mouse etc. Bodily tension and a cloudy, racing mind are two sides of the exact same coin. The less tension you carry, the more clear your mind will be.
Posted: December 23, 2016
Coming up with a hook for your essay that will compel readers to keep on reading is not difficult but it’s very important and will be used to judge your merit as a writer. Just as a hook with bait on it tempts a fish to bite, you have to lure the reader into continuing to read your essay with a compelling start to your essay.
This can be done with a few choice words that can encapsulate the theme and bring your message to the forefront. It’s not easy, but the following tips will help you write your essay’s hook and even improve your writing skills:
- Start with a Quote
If you are writing an essay on a serious topic, using a famous person’s quote regarding that topic is an excellent way to hook readers in. It makes your essay writing more ‘alive’ and fresh. For instance, to start an essay on endurance, you can use Bruce Lee’s famous quote – “Do not pray for an easy life, pray for the strength to endure a difficult one”
- Start off with a Question
One of the fastest ways to hook a reader is to appeal to their sense of curiosity by asking a question that will make them think. It can be a question such as “Did you know (followed by a surprising or interesting fact)” or it could be a quirky one such as ‘do you know why the chicken crossed the road?’ No matter how silly it seems, if the query matches the theme of your essay, it will ‘hook’ the reader into reading on. However, try to use questions that compel the reader to think rather than those that have a simple yes or no answer. Your essay writing will become much stronger and more meaningful as a result.
- Create an image in your hook
A picture is worth a thousand words, but did you know that your words can create one as well? (Note how this question became our hook for this paragraph.) You can do this by using descriptive words in your hook. For example, if you are writing about summer time you can start your essay with something like this: “There’s nothing like jumping into a chilly pool during the sweltering heat of summer, but a water fight is the next best thing.’
An awesome hook is important for helping students to write a compelling essay. A private essay writing tutor will have extensive experience helping students to write effectively. To find out more about Study Wizards Tutoring home tutoring services in San Jose , California please visit StudyWizards.com or call a professional tutoring consultant at (408) 713-2984.
Posted: December 20, 2016
Summer Reading Fun
One of the best ways to ignite interest in books amongst children and young adults while encouraging better reading comprehension is with inspirational and interesting works by popular authors. Study Wizards Tutoring suggests these funny, adventurous and mystery reads for summer reading fun.
Firecracker by David Iserson
This is the story of “Cheating Astrid” a vain and self centered girl who manages to get expelled from the exclusive private school where she studies because she simply could not stop cheating in her exams. The ‘punishment’ meted out to her was that she should attend public school until she had been able to perform some acts of selflessness and kindness. While she had full confidence in her abilities to manipulate people to her whims and caprices, she had not counted on how street-smart her fellow class mates at the public school would prove to be. Her dry humor and caustic comments make this ‘coming of age’ tale a quirky and fun read.
Stalky & Co. by Rudyard Kipling
Kipling’s name needs no introduction since he is arguably one of the most well known writers and poets of the English Language. Apart from his incomparable “If” and the ‘Jungle Books”, he had also written a hilariously funny book on life in an English boarding school in the Victorian era. Drawing extensively on his own school experiences, he managed to weave a tale in which his lead protagonist “Stalky” gets the upper hand over his school masters time and again in side-splittingly funny situations.
The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien
The family that reads aloud together has summer fun together and JRR Tolkien’s timeless masterpiece is perfect for this, especially with elementary aged children. If your child really likes The Hobbit, they’ll surely enjoy its three-part sequel, The Lord of the Rings. This epic trilogy is written at a more young adult level so it will also help expand their taste, sophistication and reading comprehension.
The Famous Five Series by Enid Blyton
Enid Blyton has probably managed to get more children to fall in love with books than any other author in the 20th century. Amongst her most famous creations are the “Famous Five”. It follows the travails of three siblings and their cousin and her pet dog as they flit from one hair-raising adventure to another. There are a total of 21 books published in this series. And each book is as fascinating as its previous one. Almost all of them have been turned into TV shows and quite a few have even made it to the film world in many countries.
Alfred Hitchcock and the Three Investigators Series
The famous movie director was also a guest of honor for a series of book about three teenage private detectives who called themselves “The Three Investigators”. Their motto: “We investigate everything”. And indeed that is precisely what they did, investigating everything from “Screaming Clocks” to stuttering parrots to “Vanishing Men”
Operating from a junkyard in sunny California, their leader is the scientific and deductive genius Jupiter Jones, the athlete of the trio is Pete Crenshaw while Bob Andrews handles records and research. Together they solve the most baffling mysteries that elude the police. There are 43 books in this series and all of them are excellent summer reading.
Posted: December 16, 2016
With more time on their hands during the holidays to read for pleasure, Study Wizards reading tutors in San Jose, CA encourage you to share these classic stories with your middle or high schooler.
In fact, the pleasure could be a shared one with your family reading them out loud together. Engage your child’s imagination during the holidays with these stories and letters that have stood the test of time:
Letters from Father Christmas by J.R.R. Tolkien
Letters From Father Christmas is a collection of endearing Christmas letters penned by the author of The Lord of the Rings trilogy to his children over a span of 20 years. J.R.R. Tolkien wrote each letter from the perspective of Santa or his elvish helper, Ilbereth, describing their Christmas-themed adventures and lightly touching on current events in England at the time (World War II).
The Greatest Gift by Philip Van Doren Stern
Written in 1943, this Christmas short story became the basis for the beloved holiday movie It’s a Wonderful Life. Centering around George Pratt (rather than George Bailey), the plot is similar to the film—disappointed with life, George meets his guardian angel, who shows him what it would be like if he had never been born. In the end, he realizes he’s been given “the greatest gift”—the gift of life and a loving family.
Revolt of the Evil Fairies by Ted Poston
This interesting short story about the biggest social event of the year takes place at Booker T. Washington Colored Grammar School. The story is cute, funny and engaging as it touches on both the classic issues of childhood love, rivalry and a more complex concern of internalized racism.
Becoming better readers and reading with your child are two ways that children become better students, so why not make holiday reading for pleasure and reading all together as a family holiday traditions? If your student is having trouble reading on their own, give them the gift of a private reading tutor—our expert tutors tailor their lessons to a child’s academic strengths, helping them become better at reading and more confident in school.
Don’t think your child needs a reading tutor but might need help elsewhere? Study Wizards Tutoring has private tutors who will come to your home to help your school-aged child in math, science, writing, and Spanish. Give us a call at (408) 883-8660 for a free consultation or visit our website to learn how we can help your student succeed in school.
Posted: December 16, 2016
The end of the school year is already here, meaning it’s time to get your children ready for final exams. High-pressure tests like finals can intimidate even the highest-performing students, so preparing well in advance is key to making your student comfortable enough to do their best.
At Study Wizards Tutoring in San Jose, CA, we know how difficult finals week can be, so we’re glad to offer these study skills and test prep tips from professional tutors.
First off, you can help your kids get the most out of their studying by making a schedule starting a few weeks before hand. Specific periods should be dedicated to studying certain areas with the priority being what definitely, then what probably, then what might be on the test. If they use their phone for calendaring, then that could be set up for alerts to keep them on track. They’ll also need break with one of the best being playing with the family pet.
To maximize the effectiveness of your child’s study strategies, also find out what they are struggling with the most and consider giving them one-on-one time with a highly trained professional tutor.
At Study Wizards Tutoring, we offer proven, effective, in-home math, reading, and writing tutoring from experienced, enthusiastic experts who are committed to helping each child succeed. Visit StudyWizards.com to learn more about our tutoring and test prep services, or just call (408) 713-2984 to discuss your needs with our Academic Director
Posted: December 13, 2016
Entering high school, your children will start learning high-level math that’s much more abstract than what they learned in junior high. Many students have trouble mastering the concepts in these classes, and you yourself may not be entirely comfortable with them either.
At Study Wizards Tutoring, our math tutors have helped students throughout the San Jose area overcome their difficulties with math. Even if you don’t fully understand your child’s homework, there are several things you can do to help.
As tempting as it may be to tell your student that you were also bad at math in high school, doing this actually gives them an excuse not to try. Also, avoid telling them that they just don’t have the “right mind” for math, as this creates the impression that they’ll never succeed no matter how hard they try. Like any other skill, high school math is something you only master after considerable effort and practice.
Instead, maintain a positive attitude and show appreciation whenever they can show that they’ve learned a new concept. Incremental progress builds confidence, which will prove extremely helpful as they progress through school. You may need to encourage your child to ask their teacher for additional help, and try to find out where the problem is. Because math concepts are interrelated, a weakness in one area can make others nearly impossible to learn.
If your child is having trouble with math, the math tutors at Study Wizards Tutoring can help. We provide tutoring services and test prep in a variety of other subjects as well, so visit our website or call (408) 713-2984 to learn more about our math tutors and other tutoring services.
Posted: December 13, 2016
You don’t have to spend a lot of money on camp if you make your home and summer trips super fun and educational! Here are some ways to do just that.
Tie your family’s outings or at-home activities to either a book and/or a passion that your child has. At home, that could be a summer garden, in which case pick flowers or vegetables that grow quickly so they can see their progress. If they’re artistic, they can draw, paint, photograph, create and/or study the art of flower arranging, make a video with narration or write a story or journal about their gardening experience. If they’re scientific and if need be, you can borrow science experiment books from the library and they can do experiments, hypothesizing, then observing, recording and predicting! If they love games, they can create their own garden game.
Another home camp idea is using the kitchen as a center for fun, learning and tasty treats! Baking is relatively safe, fun, and gives children a chance to practice their math and measurement skills. You can also make it a scientific exercise by having them answer why and how bread rises or they can create a project on their favorite fruits and vegetables. The possibilities are endless! On trips, you can visit museums, historical sites or areas especially exciting and relevant to your child’s passions and interests.
If there are any books involved in these summertime activities, try to read the books together as a family as the family that reads together has summer fun together! You may also ask your Study Wizards reading tutor for a list of popular books appropriate to your children’s reading level yet still challenging enough to improve their reading comprehension skills. And speaking of tutors, you may also want to have a math tutor or science tutor help improve your child’s skills to prepare them for the academic challenges ahead. At Study Wizards Tutoring, we pride ourselves on providing top notch private in-home tutors in math, English, Spanish, science and test prep to students of any age. Visit StudyWizards.com to learn more, or give us a call at (408) 713-2984 for a free consultation. For other fun, summer educational ideas visit http://www.familieslearning.org/our-solutions/summer-fun-tips.html or http://www.readingrockets.org/article/get-ready-summer-ideas-teachers-share-families
Posted: December 13, 2016
Summer can have a negative impact on your child’s academic performance — unless you take the proper steps to ensure they get intellectual stimulation along with their other activities.
Study Wizards Tutoring, in-home tutors serving families throughout the San Jose and Silicon Valley area, recommends looking at the summer break as a time to assess which skills your student could stand to have strengthend rather than have a months-long break from academics which could further weaken those skills.
If your student is challenged with reading issues, our team of tutors recommend taking the opportunity this summer to help your student become more comfortable with reading by getting books about their passion- be it their favorite sports, and/or team, their favorite music and/or group, video games, places they’d like to vist etc. The school year is often full of required reading, much of which may be about things they could care less about. Over the summer break, let their passion lead the way and shower them with books and magazines they’ll want to dive into. You and they can even set aside some time every day for their “pleasure and passion” reading.
Because all of the concepts in math are related, losing comprehension in one area can make further progress challenging.Find a math workbook concentrating on an area in which your student struggled and assign just a few problems every day. This will keep their hard-won math skills sharp and ready for the next year’s material.
Continue the theme of fun engagement with grammar and reading comprehension lessons. Encourage creative writing, providing prompts if necessary, and let your student explore the pleasure of language. The more your kid learns to enjoy a subject, the better their performance will be.
At Study Wizards Tutoring, we have the experience and highly motivated staff to help strengthen your kids’ skills this summer. Whether you’re looking for effective SAT preparation or a summer reading, math, or science tutor, we offer the services you need. Visit our StudyWizards.com to learn more, or give us a call at (408) 713-2984 to discuss your needs with a member of our team.
Posted: December 9, 2016
Final exams are just around the corner, which means it’s time to start helping your high school student get ready. A little early preparation will go a long way toward preventing last-minute stress when test time comes around, so follow these tips from Study Wizards Tutoring, an accomplished home tutoring service based in San Jose and Mountain View:
Be encouraging, but understand that if your child hasn’t put in the work all semester, they probably won’t do well on a cumulative exam. Try to make your children understand that learning is a process that begins on the first day of class, and that everything can’t be crammed into pre-test study sessions.
Try to avoid lecturing your teenager on what they should have done differently—hopefully, they’ll come to this conclusion on their own. Instead, try to determine what they can do to improve in the future, and find ways that you can be of assistance.
If there’s a discrepancy in grading, resist the temptation to handle it yourself. Allowing your student to handle it on their own will teach them to take ownership over their education. It’s important to be there to offer study help, but avoid forcing yourself into your child’s routine. Preparing teenagers for the responsibilities of life is an important element of high school, which self-directed studying helps to fulfill.
If your student is weak in a specific area, hiring a qualified tutor with a record of success will often lead to significant grade improvements. Visit Study Wizards Tutoring online now to learn more, or just call (408) 883-8660 for a free consultation today.
Posted: December 6, 2016
One of the biggest stumbling blocks for struggling readers is motivation. While you as a parent can stress the academic importance of strong reading skills, enjoyment is the strongest motivating factor for getting your children to read.
If your middle school or high school student is struggling with reading, the reading tutors at Study Wizards Tutoring in San Jose, CA, have some suggestions on finding books your children will want to read.
Even if a book is easy to read, your children may get bored and give up if it’s not engaging to them. First, it’s important that the story is engrossing to a reader, including having a good rhythm and realistic characters. Readers of every level want a story where they care about the characters and receive a resolution of their problems. Forming this connection with characters is even more important for those who don’t enjoy reading. For those struggling readers, it’s important to find high-interest books with a low-difficulty, controlled vocabulary, and realistic characters involved in situations the reader can relate to.
In addition to novels and short stories, everyday nonfiction sources can be a fantastic way to bolster your struggling reader’s skills. Newspapers and magazines often feature short pieces of easily-understood writing, often with graphical aids, that appeal to your child’s interests. Using these tools, your student will build a sense of mastery and eventually learn to enjoy the delight of reading.
At Study Wizards Tutoring in San Jose, CA, private in-home tutors will help your child develop from a struggling reader into a more proficient reader, and any books you find which they love is a great help in this process! Visit the website to learn more, or call (408) 713-2984 to discuss your needs with one of their reading tutors today.
Posted: December 5, 2016
Your child’s years during middle and high school are a crucial time, especially for reading and writing: it’s at this time that they develop the language, vocabulary, and writing skills that will serve as a foundation for the rest of their lives.
The reading and writing tutors from Study Wizards Tutoring in San Jose, CA, want to help your child succeed, so here are some helpful writing tips for you and your student.
Practice Makes Perfect: To write well, the first thing you need to do is encourage them to write! Have your child practice writing regularly, even if it’s only small exercises like paragraph construction or creating an outline for an essay. These are the building blocks that make great writing, and having them do these exercises will get them thinking about the big picture. You might want to even suggest they start a diary or given our times, a blog. If your child has opinions and observations and wants to tell the world, a blog is the perfect vehicle.
Revising Work: If your child is struggling with writing, one of the best ways they can improve is by revising their work, either with you or a writing tutor. Writing is a process, and not many people get it right on the first try — even professional novelists go through a countless number of drafts before publishing their work. A famous example: Ernest Hemingway rewrote the ending of A Farewell to Arms 47 times!
Reread It Out Loud: One of the best ways to help students improve their writing skills is to train them to teach themselves, and reading out loud can be a great way to do this. Teaching your child to reread their work out loud will help them pay better attention to funny sounding sentences or improper language, and it’s a great way for them to get ahead.
For more helpful writing tips, or to learn more about the home tutoring services available from Study Wizards Tutoring, contact us today at (408) 713-2984. Their tutors specialize in a wide range of different subjects, so be sure to visit our website for a complete list of services.
Posted: December 5, 2016
You might think of tutoring services as a resource for students who have fallen behind in their studies. However, this is not the case, as almost any student can benefit from academic reinforcement — whether they’re struggling in a particular subject area or excelling in school.
At Study Wizards Tutoring, our team has highly trained mentors with the experience to provide a broad array of in-home tutoring services to students throughout the San Jose area.
Many parents are familiar with remediation tutoring, which focuses on filling gaps in your child’s understanding and building the underlying skills that academic success depends on. Remediation tutoring typically focuses on supporting abilities in a certain subject matter, like math or writing.
Maintenance tutoring services are sometimes necessary to support your child when transitions like changing schools, moving, or family events throw them off. Tutoring sessions focused on maintenance are geared towards helping your child develop study skills, and they may be combined with remediation tutoring to reinforce any deficient skills.
On the other hand, children who excel in school may be ready for additional challenges. In these cases, enrichment tutoring services can help them achieve their full academic potential. In fact, without enrichment attention, gifted students can occasionally get bored, leading to slipping grades.
Another common tutoring service is academic test prep, which is designed to help your child do as well as possible on the SAT or ACT. Professional test prep can help your child overcome the kind of serious anxiety these high-stakes, high-pressure tests can cause, even in the most gifted students.
Whether your child needs remediation, maintenance, enrichment tutoring or academic or academic test preparation, our tutors have the training and background to help. Learn more about our wide range of academic tutoring services online, or call Study Wizards Tutoring at (408) 713-2984 to talk about how we can help students succeed today. You can also find us on Facebook and Twitter to connect more with our facility and tutors.
Posted: December 4, 2016
Just because school’s out for the summer doesn’t mean your child has to stop learning. To get you started, try these tips from the expert private tutors at San Jose, California’s Study Wizards Tutoring.
Harness your technology. Google, Apple, and Amazon offer a dizzying array of fun, colorful, educational math games for children of all ages. If you’re looking for a resource with an impressive pedigree, have your kids try Calculation Nation from the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics.
Encourage reading. Summer is a great time for children to explore reading materials that interest them, without homework to get in the way. When developed at a young age, the habit of reading for pleasure is one that will last a lifetime. For inspiration, consult Choices Summer Reading, a compilation of recommendations from librarians containing recommendations across a wide variety of genres.
Family outings. Interactive activities can be an excellent way to keep your children intellectually engaged. Check with your local museums for event ideas. Many institutions, such as the San Jose Tech Museum, have summer programming designed to engage children in a variety of topics, from natural history to art lessons and astronomy. A trip to the zoo or a national park also presents exciting opportunities to indulge your child’s curiosity about the natural world. Simply by answering questions and letting kids follow their interest in the natural world, from living creatures to interesting weather patterns, a family outing can be a great primer on the natural sciences.
In-home tutoring is the best way to make sure your children are prepared for the academic challenges ahead. Visit Study Wizards Tutoring online to learn more about their range of services, or just call (408) 883-8660.
Posted: December 3, 2016
Having a child who suffers from ADD / ADHD presents some serious parenting challenges, especially when it’s time to do their homework. At the end of the day, your child may already be mentally exhausted, which makes focusing on their studies even more difficult.
Study Wizards Tutoring, private tutors serving families throughout San Jose, CA and the South Bay, have some tips for helping your ADD / ADHD child get their homework done and turned in on time.
Take Advantage Of 504/IEP Exceptions: Your child’s teachers should be making accommodations to help your children succeed, including giving homework assignments that allow your child to demonstrate their understanding of a topic without doing all of the problems.
Relax Before Homework Time: Letting your child do something they find relaxing for 30 minutes to an hour before starting their homework can give them the energy they need to focus on their homework.
Play To Their Strengths: Instead of trying to get your kids to sit still and focus for an extended period of time, feel free to mix in enriching activities they enjoy, like music or drawing. You can make these intervals very short, if necessary, if it helps them stay focused.
Let Them Fidget: Your child will probably be able to focus if they have something to fidget with, like a stress ball or pencils to play with.
Study Wizards private ADD / ADHD tutors have the training to help meet your child’s needs. Please visit our website at https://studywizards.com/ or call (408) 883-8660 to learn more about special needs and academic tutoring, test prep and other services today.
For parents interested in natural, over-the-counter alternatives that may be helpful for their children with ADHD, here is a resource and site to look at: Cognitune.com
Posted: December 2, 2016
Finals are just around the corner. Stop the stress of finals and foster success with help from Study Wizards Tutoring. Offering in-home tutoring throughout San Jose, Mountain View and surrounding areas,
we provide exceptional test prep and year-round academic support. Our highly qualified tutors support learning with expert study strategies, fostering effective study habits and academic success. Start helping your student study better today with these tips from our experienced team.
Take Your Time With Test Prep
Test prep goes better when you don’t feel the stress of the ticking clock. Long before your student’s finals, get organized with a study schedule. Your student should give themselves plenty of time to cover the material and set measurable goals for each study session. Your student will feel well prepared and won’t have to cram or pull all-nighters, the stress of which can actually hamper effective learning.
Everyone learns differently. Developing study strategies based on your student’s unique learning style will help them use their study time more effectively. Maybe they’ll create visual aids, develop mnemonics, write outlines, sing songs, or flip flashcards. If your student hasn’t yet discovered how they learn best, an experienced tutor from Study Wizards Tutoring will help them uncover their learning style. In fact, every one of our tutors is carefully matched with students, cultivating relationships and building their academic success based on their strengths and how they learn.
Get Test Prep Support
Preparing for finals is easier with a little help. Sure, calling on friends and family for support can help with test preparation but some professional test prep know-how can also go a long way. In-home tutoring from Study Wizards Tutoring provides specialized study support that helps students “ace” their finals.
At Study Wizards Tutoring, we believe any student can thrive with the right support, during finals and all year around. Call (408) 713-2984 or (650) 316-8333 to get test prep and other academic support for your student today. You can also visit us at StudyWizards.com to learn more about our in-home tutoring.
Posted: December 3, 2014
Day in and day out many children experience loss and failure. Whether these experiences crush or strengthen an individual child depends, in part, on their ability to be self-sufficient. Self-sufficiency and belief in oneself are qualities that reflect the important human capacities to face, overcome, and be strengthened — or even transformed by — the adversities of life, something we all have to deal with.
Self-sufficient individuals believe that their actions are guided by personal decisions and efforts. Teach them that what counts is not that they always triumph at any attempt they make, but rather they should persevere despite a first sign of possible defeat. Learning to accept failure and to continue pursuing their goals is an important tenet for life.
Children need love and trust, hope and autonomy. Along with safe havens, they need safe relationships that can foster friendships and commitment. Self-sufficiency is developed by having caring and supportive relationships accompanied by positive and high expectations as well as opportunities for meaningful participation. However, your style of giving parental care must be geared to your individual child’s temperament. Pay attention to how your child’s personality will impact his ability to handle failure and life’s challenges.
Tell your children, “I love you despite your making mistakes. I love you for who you are now.” Express your love and affection both verbally and physically in a genuine manner consistent with your personality.
The following concrete tools can be used to help build self-sufficiency and a good self-concept in your child:
- Teach and model calming strategies to help your child modulate their feelings and impulsive behaviors.
- Be consistent in what you say and what you do.
- Model your life in the way you want your child to behave.
- Set up consistent expectations and behaviors that are part of growing up in your family and society; and give explanations for your expectations and rules.
- Provide discipline not out of anger, but with consequences that are naturally and logically related to the misbehavior.
- Teach alternate behaviors that satisfy the need motivating the undesirable behavior.
Always encourage communication about issues, expectations, and feelings. Be approachable and as nonjudgmental as possible. Always emphasize that you still love your child no matter what he does, but that you disapprove of a particular behavior. Don’t overgeneralize his behavior—deal with it as a single occurrence. Avoid using overgeneralized terms such as, “You never do your chores, you’re always sloppy.” Blanket statements leave little room for improvement and hurt self-esteem. Your child may begin to believe your messages.
Praise your child when he perseveres with a difficult assignment, in addition to when he accomplishes a goal. Pay attention to the process as well as the result. Provide opportunities for your child to practice dealing with problems, too: Don’t entirely solve your child’s problems: allow him to use you as a springboard for ideas; let him project the possible consequences of a particular solution.
Also, allow him or her to take responsibility for his mistakes and help him problem-solve other ways to handle similar situations. To over console or over indulge is as bad as being overly strict and intolerant of your child’s mistakes. Provide your child with challenges that—with a realistic amount of effort—he is likely to achieve. There is a fine line between giving too few challenges and creating an impossible task. If your child does not meet the expectation, spend time helping them analyze the reasons for failure and find possible solutions. Let your child know that disappointment is part of life and that what matters is to pick ourselves up and try again. Let him or her realize that he won’t prevail all the time but that attempting is an achievement as well: if your child is afraid to move out of his or her comfort level, your child has already quit before he or she has had the chance to succeed. Be certain that your child knows that you believe in him and that he can be successful.
Allow your child to choose what he or she wants to be in life. Your child is more likely to do well at what he loves and has a passion for. Content and healthy children have good self-esteem, are self-directed, and are realistic about their choices. Supporting your child to find his own sense of self will help him or her cultivate a healthy and successful life. It is important that he or she realizes that he or she has strengths and weaknesses and cannot be good at everything; help your child recognize that pursuing unrealistic goals only leads to loss of self-confidence and feelings of defeat: instead he or she needs to pursue goals that are realistic and match his skill set. While instilling self-confidence in our children is important, it must be dosed with realistic expectations. The paths a child can travel to success are many—therefore, don’t be blinded by your own wishes for your child. Let him, with your guidance, find his own path to success.