Emotions help your child learn and remember faster.
When our brain becomes emotionally involved as we learn, it is stimulated to make more patterns, which help us to learn and remember more easily and faster. Joe Dispenza wrote an article which has lots of useful information on how our brain works.
Strong reactions created when your child is excited, deeply interested, and curious for example, create much more brain activity associated with learning that information. Our unforgettable memories are often the nasty or wonderful experiences. When we remember them we can often feel the emotions we felt then as well.
Stop for a moment. Remember one of your strongest and nicest memories…. feel the emotion that accompanied that memory…
When helping them learn is fun for you both, your child will pay closer attention, and learn and remember the skill and knowledge faster and more easily. When helping your child learn and remember anything, combine as many of the senses as possible (your child can touch, smell, hear, do, talk), plus create heightened emotion (for example excitement, competitiveness, interest, amusement, shock). One of the easiest ways to combine all of the above is through competition.
Serious fun when learning new skills focuses concentration!
Make things exciting and fun through using a first up to 5 game. I use a first up to 5 game to revise basic facts, and to encourage students to change any of their unhelpful behaviours. You can create a flexible and highly competitive first up to 5 game for nearly any learning situation.
Learning basic facts. This includes spelling words, phonics sounds as taught in The Weird Word Game, tables, addition and subtraction facts, and anything else they are learning by heart. First they learn their facts; then when they feel a little confident they can win, play a quick first up to 5 game.
Changing unhelpful behaviours. A first up to 5 game can modify your child’s negative behaviours more easily and in a light fun way. It works better than using reminding and nagging (which you may have noticed doesn’t really work). I suggest that you pick one behaviour that you currently notice the most, and create a first up to 5 game. They can learn to pay attention, stay working and focussed when there are distractions, check that answers you give are actually correct, as well as change any unhelpful behaviour such as moaning (for example I might give them a point if they say “okay Anne” when I ask them to do something, and I get a point if they moan or sigh).
Tips for any first up to 5 game so your child plays it to win.
- Warn them when you will be playing the first up to 5 game.
- Make any first up to 5 game so that they almost win or lose.
- Make it clear that you want to beat them.
- Play the game often at first so they keep on their toes.
- If they are bad losers – you can be one too. It is amazing how seeing you act as a bad loser stops or modifies their own ‘bad- loser’ reactions when they lose.
- Sometimes I choose to be a bad winner. I can be very pleased when I win a first up to 5 game. I find students usually respond by wanting revenge quite badly, and so they improve their skills to beat me.
- Use a tally they can see. For example:
- Remember to make win-win situations- and create first up to 5 games that you both have fun with. I have a small sweetie that I like to use as a prize but you choose with your child what a small prize might be. However, sometimes it is more than enough that they beat you or you beat them.
- Modify the first up to 5 staying focussed on their work game to suit your child’s behaviours.
- Some children need to check out what is happening in the room before they can work again. I might allow them two-five seconds to do that before they drop their head down to their work again.
- Some children in the beginning need to be cued to remember what they are supposed to be doing. They might notice me counting hopefully under my breath, or I might get a certain little grin on my face and pause what I do, or pick up a pencil.
- Some children look as though they are working when they aren’t. Use the game to attempt to catch them out.
- Some children take a long time to start working. Give them a length of time that you are both happy with, to start working. I might count up to five for example.
- Be keenly interested. The less interested they are – the more you can be….model keenness and focus. If you are not present and focused – why should they be?
People, I hope that you enjoy using my ideas. Let me know what you think about them.