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Must-Have Skill for Children #17 Taking Care of Others
There is a common belief that older siblings are generally more responsible, successful, and confident than younger siblings. According to one study, this is likely to be true. One of the reasons this may be the case is that older siblings often take on the role of another caretaker, usually to their younger siblings. But why are they the only ones with this responsibility? As you can see, taking care of others is a skill that is valuable for every child. That’s why it’s our Must-Have Skill for Children this month! Make sure your child has plenty of opportunities to watch over others, whether it’s through babysitting, raising a pet, or mentoring a group of other children in school, extracurricular activities, events, and more. To raise your child to become a dependable adult, encourage them to take care of others, so they can develop these important traits! Responsibility Your child will only develop a sense of responsibility if they are given responsibilities. One of the most impactful is responsibility for others. Providing such opportunities will make them feel important, like they are contributing to their family or community. This also makes them feel as if you trust them, which they will take seriously and continue to behave in a trustworthy manner. Overall, they will feel more confident about themselves and their abilities. Sense of Mentorship In many cases, your child will be taking care of children who are younger. This gives them the chance to become a mentor, which isn’t a task they will take lightly. With some guidance from adults, they will adjust their behaviors accordingly to become a good mentor and role model for others to look up to. These experiences also show them how much of an impact their behaviors and actions have on others. Decisive Leadership Similar to becoming mentors, taking care of others puts your child in a position of leadership. They will have to make big decisions, listen to their instincts, and learn from their experiences. They will also have to work collaboratively with others while commanding a certain level of respect and self-assertion. All of this will help them in every area of their lives, from teamwork in sports to group projects at work. Selflessness The right way to watch over others is to prioritize their needs and take into consideration what’s best for them during that time. It’s not about your child taking command of the group by putting their own needs first. In many cases, the younger children or a pet will require a lot of attention. Your child will understand that others need more care and attention sometimes, which will be a great lesson in selflessness and patience. Empathy Your child will have to recognize the needs and wants of others without being told. Some children may be too shy or uncertain about how to communicate or express themselves. Pets, like dogs or turtles, can’t speak with words. This gives your child a chance to boost their emotional intelligence by practicing engaging with and understanding those around them. In turn, a perceptive, empathetic child will be better at picking up on social cues, strengthening relationships, and perspective taking. — It may be worrisome sometimes to give your child such responsibilities, but it’s important that they start experiencing this from a young age, even if it’s a little bit at a time. You can start by having them watch over younger children in the presence of adults at a family event. Based on how they do, you can give them advice or guidance, so they can become better at taking care of others on their own. JEI steers our students forward in a similar manner. We guide and help them with what they learn in our centres, but we’re also aware that we can’t follow them into school or the workplace. Our main purpose is to transform them into independent, confident learners who will continue to grow on their own, even years after they finish our programs. To find out more about how we can help your child learn, speak with an expert at a JEI Learning Centre near you!
Must-Have Skill for Children #16: Gardening
Although kids are spending more time indoors with their digital screens, there has also been a rise in outdoor gardening—and for good reason. There are many benefits that are both immediate and long-term for your child. Some of these include better health, such as a stronger immune system from exposure to the microbes in dirt and a more balanced diet of fruits and vegetables. Others include a greater increase of success and happiness. Here’s more on why gardening is this month’s Must-Have Skill for Children! Self-Regulation and Discipline The earlier your child starts working on their green thumb the better they will be able to regulate and discipline themselves. Growing plants is a very calming activity, but it also requires a lot of patience and care. The results are not immediate, but they are clear; when your child sees how a flower or plant blooms thanks to their attention and care, they will carry those habits to everything else in life. They will regulate their emotions, such as frustration and impatience, and discipline themselves to put in the time and effort for success even outside the garden. They already witnessed how it works through gardening, so they know they can accomplish other things, like acing a test or learning a song on the piano, in the same way. Exercise and Motor Development It’s important that your child remains active. They may spend a lot of their time studying at their desk or staring at a device. Make sure that they go out for enough exercise. Gardening may not seem as active as sports, but it does require a lot of movement in many different positions. This can be great for young children developing their motor skills and older children staying spry and active. Watering, weeding, and digging will keep their upper bodies strong while positions like squatting and walking do the rest. Keeping their mind busy with purposeful physical activity can also benefit their mental and emotional health. Resistance to Perfectionism With all this focus on achievements, perfectionism becomes a common problem for many children. Gardening is a relaxing, low-risk activity that can help your child fight off the need for everything to be perfect and within their control. They need to get their hands dirty and maintain attention to detail while taking care of their plants, but ultimately this is a soothing activity that they can learn from. With each and every failure—and there will be failures—your child can adjust how they take care of the plants as they learn more about each one. Does this need more sunlight? Does that need more frequent watering? It’s all a natural process, and sometimes, no matter how hard they work, things, such as the weather, will be out of their control. The same goes for projects, tests, and other hobbies. Responsibility and Growth Plants require varying degrees of attention and care so you can choose which ones are appropriate for your child’s age or skill level. Whether you choose a low-maintenance succulent or a delicate orchid, the plant will challenge your child to be more responsible. Your child will have to water the plants on time, check the soil, repot, relocate depending on the amount of sunlight throughout the day, and much more. Some of it can be routine but other tasks will require your child to judge based on their instinct, the circumstances, and past experiences. In the end, the plant will not be the only one experiencing growth. Cognitive Development Gardening will teach your child a lot about the environment and ecosystem. Gardening isn’t an activity that is only about the plants. It’s about the earth they grow out of, the insects that enrich the soil or spread the pollen, and the weather that governs life cycles. Seeing the bigger picture and how everything works together in gardening will prove to be a useful skill for your child. It will even translate to their academics, helping them better connect the dots at school and understand concepts like cause and effect. After all, gardening is a hands-on way of learning and scientists have found that the mycobacterium in soil can even boost brain functions! — Gardening is both a chance to learn and to bond with family, so start today with your child. Pick up some seeds or plants at a store near you. You could even purchase starter gardening kits or work with what’s already in your backyard. Try out a variety of plants, from flowers that can decorate your living space to vegetables you can eat for healthy dinners. For other skills that will enrich your child’s life, check out our Must-Have series. Does your child need more help with schoolwork or can’t get enough of lifelong learning? Then make sure to check out our programmes and contact a centre near you to enrol your child in a JEI programme today!
Must-Have Skill for Children #15: Teaching Others
All the focus for students is placed on learning. How well are they doing in school? Are they completing their homework on time? Are they understanding the lessons? But one crucial element of learning that is often overlooked is the opposite approach: are they teaching? How are they teaching themselves and others? This is a surprisingly important component of learning and development, which is why teaching others is this month’s Must-Have Skill for Children. “In teaching others, we teach ourselves.” - Latin Proverb Teaching others is the best way for your child to test how much they know about a subject—and the simpler the lesson the better. This idea is what led to the Feynman Technique, created by Richard Feynman, who won the Nobel Prize for his work in physics. His technique includes four straightforward steps: 1. Identify the subject - Write down everything you know about a subject on one page. 2. Teach it to a child - Try to use the plainest terms and simplest explanations. 3. Identify knowledge gaps - What was missing or what do you still struggle to grasp? 4. Organise and simplify - Fill the gaps and clear up areas of confusion for a better lesson. Going through these steps will show your child exactly why their teachers are experts on the subjects they teach—they had to learn every aspect in order to pass that knowledge onto others. Even if your child never plans to teach professionally, there are many benefits to them picking up this skill. Clearer Comprehension & Thinking The main purpose of teaching others, whether your child uses the Feynman Technique or not, is to understand what they are sharing with others. How much do they know and how well can they explain it to somebody who knows nothing about it? By reviewing what they learned and organising their thoughts to properly convey the knowledge in the simplest terms, your child can test their understanding, organise their thoughts, and practice thinking more clearly. Efficient Studying Methods The constant practice of teaching others will fortify your child’s study methods and habits. They will be better at recognising what style of learning helps them the most and where their knowledge gaps usually lie. For example, they may notice that in the subject of history, they often forget dates, and subsequently can’t place events on the correct timeline. Learning with the intention of passing that knowledge onto others later can help your child tune in to the most important points of every lesson as well as stay engaged. Better Speaking and Listening Skills A huge component of learning is your child’s listening skills. Of course they are vital for paying attention in class and picking up the important bits of a lecture. However, they also play a huge role when your child is teaching others. Your kid has to listen to the questions they are being asked, and then analyze what those questions reveal about their lesson and own understanding of the topic. As for speaking, your child must express themselves effectively and speak in a way that’s clear and easy for others to understand. They can check for common problems, like rambling, mumbling, or speaking too fast. Advanced Socialization Teaching others can help boost your child’s social skills, empathy, sense of community, and socialization (how they behave as a part of society). Your child should work on their ability to interact with others because relationships are important for not only having successful careers but also creating meaningful bonds, like friendships and mentorships. Learning how to talk to others, being on the same page, perspective taking, and adjusting behaviors according to the situation are communication skills that will make your child more successful, confident, and sociable. — For more ways to help your child study and take responsibility for their education, turn to JEI Learning Centre. We believe that there are a myriad of ways for children to learn, beyond the standards of a traditional school setting that may not resonate with every student. We can find what’s right for your child through our personalized programmes. For more information on how your child can become a better learner, contact us at 09-444-6284 and schedule a diagnostic test today! Let’s get your child on the path to excellence in a way that complements and enhances their unique talents and needs.