- About JEI
- JEI News
Must-have skill for children #4: preventing procrastination
According to data collected on studying habits, students who started studying two weeks before an exam scored an average of 95%. Students who started studying one week before scored an average of 81%. Students who started studying mere days before the exam scored an average of 71%. What does this tell us? It tells us how important a firm understanding of time management is for students. Parents believe procrastination is the root problem, but it is actually one of the side effects of poor time management and it is becoming increasingly pervasive. The American Psychological Association revealed that 80 to 95% of college students procrastinate. On top of that, the number of people who consider themselves procrastinators has increased from 4-5% in the ‘70s to 20-30% today! To protect your children from this epidemic, you need to teach them at a young age the importance of time management. If they manage their time better, it is less likely they will procrastinate on tackling important tasks for school. This will also improve many other areas of their lives, such as… Perfectionism Contrary to belief, many people put things off because they have high expectations for themselves that they do not think they can actually meet. This is a sign of a debilitating characteristic known as perfectionism. However, good time management skills will make the task at hand more achievable. In particular, putting a task into a calendar and assigning it a time frame (such as 30 minutes) will get children moving just to get the task done. Less emphasis will be placed on the outcome. Prioritisation Children will have to prioritise certain tasks depending on the importance and amount of time available. This is an important skill. Many procrastinators check off the easiest things on their to-do list, then call it a day with a false sense of productivity while the important things fester in the background. Children have to realise that if they do not get a start on that big project looming in the background that is worth half the term year, the little assignments they do along the way will not even matter. On the other hand, if they only have 30 minutes between school and football practice, that would be the perfect time to schedule in that maths worksheet they got for homework. Take advantage of whatever time they can find! Plan accordingly! Self-Care Having said that, it is important that children also know when to prioritise self-care. Time management is not only for productivity but also for making sure there is still fun in their lives. They will realise that when they have time to themselves, instead of wasting that time idly by scrolling on social media, they could take full advantage of it to unwind. You know the saying “work hard, play hard”? Sadly, many children do not let themselves fully immerse in the fun part of their day; as a result, they do not immerse in the working part of their day, either. The whole time throughout, they are distracted, unfocused, and restless. Nothing gets done. They waste a lot of time this way by thinking or wishing they were at another point in time. When playing, they think they should be working. When working, they wish they were playing. Let them pencil in some time to fully play with no concerns and to socialise with friends. Managing time the right way will help them have fun when they can and to get things done when they need to. Timeliness Time is extremely valuable, even more so for how irrecoverable it is. Many people do not understand how much time a task will take, so instead of starting early, they put it off until they are overwhelmed by the task. They cannot get all that precious time back. Help children learn that certain things require more time than others, such as reading a book or writing an essay. By managing their own times for tasks like these, children will learn how to better estimate and manage time for other big undertakings. It will also teach them to be reliable when it comes to meeting deadlines or people on time. Goals As previously mentioned in the Must-Have Skill for Children #3: Goal Setting, children need to take responsibility for whatever goal they want to reach--and they can do that by setting clear timelines. If they do not do this, they will never reach that goal because there will be no time constraints pushing them forward. It is not only about deadlines but also about getting something--even a little bit--done everyday that will get them that much closer to what they want. Setting aside portions of their schedule for a specific purpose, particularly long-term goals, is a huge part of time management. Self-Esteem Dr. Ferrari, a professor of psychology, once told American Psychological Association, “Non-procrastinators focus on the task that needs to be done. They have a stronger personal identity and are less concerned about what psychologists call ‘social esteem’—how others like us—as opposed to self-esteem which is how we feel about ourselves.” Managing time provides your children with better self-esteem in just this way. They feel more responsible for themselves and in better control of their lives, both of which result in confidence! == One tip for parents is to not take over children’s schedules but to trust them to build their own. Of course, children cannot be given full autonomy--especially from the beginning--but you could start to loosen up the reigns. You could set aside a certain period of time everyday for children to decide on their own schedules, as well as ask for their opinions. Another tip is to reward rather than punish children if they fail to meet a goal or deadline. Punishing will actually breed more procrastination and reluctance to use time wisely in the future. Highlight how much they did manage to accomplish and help them to adjust accordingly in the future to complete the same task. They need the experience to learn how much time they need for various activities; and therefore, they should not be punished for the learning process. Now that you know the importance of time management and how to go about helping children learn this must-have skill, your children are already one step closer toward mastering the JEI Self-Learning Method®. Looking for more fun and helpful activities to pencil into your children’s schedule? Check out our JEI programmes here!
3 Ways to prepare for the stress of secondary school
The transition from primary school to secondary school is a period of significant changes. In primary school, their school schedule is managed for them. Now your child will have to maintain their own schedule, going from class to class and visiting their locker when they can. In addition to these changes, your child’s body is undergoing changes as well. With the onset of puberty, the hormones pumping through your child’s system brings about not only physical changes but emotional changes as well. Dealing with these sudden surges of strong emotion can be quite challenging. It’s even more challenging because this is a point in your child’s life when they begin to question authority. Failure to learn emotional management strategies can lead your child into trouble. Developing your child’s emotional maturity is the key to a smooth transition to secondary school. Here are three skills you can teach your child to help them manage their emotions. These skills will serve them in secondary school and beyond. 1. Recognising Emotions The ability to name emotions your child is feeling will help them deal with their stress and emotions in a productive way. It is typical for many parents to focus on behaviour over emotion; for example, they will react to their child’s slamming the door, or rolling their eyes, instead of what led to that action. A focus on behaviour alone teaches your child to continue to redirect their feelings towards certain behaviours. Naming emotions is the first step for your child to recognise the conditions leading to a behaviour or misbehaviour. Once your child has identified the emotion, they can better think about and understand the behaviour. We all have signs that our body uses to tell us that we have a strong emotion happening. Perhaps our shoulders get tense when we’re angry. Maybe our hands shake when we’re nervous. Learning to recognise these telltale signs of their emotions will teach your child to stay in control of their emotions. If your child has difficulty putting names to their emotions, this diagram can help them. Additionally, modeling this for your child could help them better understand the act of naming emotions. When you feel yourself having strong emotions, don’t shy away from talking about them with your child. Letting them know you are grieving, or apprehensive, or ecstatic, or stressed shows them that all people go through these emotions, and that is okay. 2. Meditating Mindfulness meditation is a skill that develops focus and thought management skills. Meditation helps you clear your mind by having you focus on the breath. Meditation will train your child to let go of distracting or stressful thoughts and help them get through some of these tougher moments. Meditation will train your child to recognise when they’re having distracting or stressful thoughts before they interfere with being present in the moment. In doing this, this will also help them maintain the focus needed for secondary school. There are many apps like Calm and Headspace for guided meditation. These apps have pre-recorded meditation sessions aimed at clearing distracting thoughts and is easy to introduce to your preteen who is probably well-versed in technology. Meditation is a skill that takes practice; start with a short meditation, and have your child work their way up to longer sessions. This is also a great activity to do together, as both you and your child will benefit. 3. Reflecting Once the emotion has passed, it’s important for them to come back to that moment and reflect on their emotional outburst and the emotions or stresses causing it. This means sitting with your child and asking them how they felt when they were overwhelmed with emotion. Punishment for emotional outbursts without reflection teaches your child to suppress their emotions and not address the actual issue. This will only lead to more emotional outbursts. Sometimes we can know in advance that an unavoidable situation will cause stress. Teaching your child to mentally prepare for these situations is a crucial part of developing their emotional maturity. Asking themselves questions such as “What should I do when I’m angry?” or “What behaviour should I avoid?” will help your child to avoid bad behaviour well before the moment when a stressful situation arises. Reflection is a skill that will develop self-awareness and emotional intelligence. -- As your children approach secondary school or commence to a new year, the teachers and staff will expect more maturity from your child. With these three skills, a little time, and attention, you can help teach your secondary schooler to manage their emotions which is the first step in helping your child manage their behaviour. At JEI, our intimate class sizes provide a setting to practice these emotional-management skills while getting a valuable supplementary education. To get started with JEI, find a centre near you!
Take your teens back to kindergarten and if they are ready for high school
High school is a huge step in student's lives! However, there are ways to prepare your teenager for high school that should make the transition a bit easier. This may seem counterintuitive, but before your teen heads to year 9, take them all the way back to kindergarden, another exciting moment in their lives and their first real entrance into academia. In kindergarden, your child started with the basic building blocks to lay down a solid foundation for all their subsequent levels of education. By taking them back to kindergarden, you remind them that they can rely on basic skills, that they have to take it upon themselves to learn for the sake of learning, and that they need to take charge of their own activities. Some of the basic skills that children learn in kindergarden are essential for all active members of society. They include good manners, communication, expression, and collaboration. As basic as these are, consider the importance of communicating clearly and working with team members as an adult. Your teen probably understands the importance of these skills, but many times they can still forget these or choose to ignore them once they enter adolescence. The best way to do this is to have them model off your own behavior. Your relationship will be best cultivated through reciprocation, meaning if you treat your children with respect, they will return that respect. Portray good manners when dealing with teens by saying “please” and “thank you.” Likewise, if you communicate openly and express yourself, teenagers will feel safe doing the same, so you are not left in the dark. Lastly, remind teens that it is important to be helpful members of the community by sharing and working with others as part of a team. The second thing kindergarden focuses on is learning to learn. Children entering kindergarden are not in an advanced stage of education but the very, very beginning. They are learning what it is like to learn, and so the emphasis is placed on the process. They use their senses to figure things out on their own with some outside guidance; this gives them a feeling of control. High school will be a stressful time with increasingly difficult levels of education. All those honors and AP classes and the reward systems like Honor Rolls and valedictorian title can feel overwhelming. Teenagers become driven by those extrinsic factors, such as good grades and GPAs. Outside academics, extrinsic factors include popularity, sports victories, party invitations, and social media likes. The focus drastically shifts to the results. Strip back the fancy titles and reward system in order to strip away the stress on your teens. Remind them that it is all about how they learn rather than what they accomplish. It is good to have ambition and goals, but colleges only use those results to gauge whether youths have established good self-discipline and worked on self-improvement. They use those results to check on the process--does this child have what it takes to grow and handle stress that the real world will throw at them? Enjoy the lessons and the classes. Accomplishments will naturally follow. It is the same with relationships; it is better to nurture healthy ones and get to know people rather than count how many friends and followers they have. In particular, it is imperative that teenagers realise the importance of building a network of supporters through connections and mentors. This leads to the last point: teenagers will have to take charge of their activities. They will have to be proactive in order to become truly independent adults going into college. Although they have more freedom and mobility (hello, drivers licenses!) than kindergardeners, the latter can teach teens a thing or two about taking charge with a hands-on approach. Kindergardeners are innately curious because they are at an early developmental stage where they are trying to understand the world around them; and therefore, they are constantly touching, experimenting, and asking questions (even if it is just “Why?” over and over again). Teenagers need to do the same and start taking charge of the future. This is truly where JEI’s Self-Learning Method® comes into play. They need to develop a growth mindset, head out, and test out different things, such as clubs and activities at school. Just like how kindergardeners dig their hands without restraint into the mud and try out a funny-looking slide, teenagers need to get their hands dirty and blindly go down new adventures by trying out different activities, actively finding what they like and do not like, meeting new people, and keeping an open mind. High school will introduce a completely new realm of possibilities, such as varsity athletics teams, volunteer programmes, retreats, external academic programmes that require applications, clubs ranging from theater to car mechanics, and part-time jobs. It is an exciting time for teens to dig in and see what sticks, and learn from all the experiences rather than shying away or passively letting life happen to them. Then, they would have a better idea of what to get out of college and what to pursue after graduating! Let your teenager go back to their kindergardener roots. High school and kindergarden are similar in that they introduce your child to completely new environments that give plenty of opportunities for learning and growth. Do not fear the change because you have gone through a similar change before when you dropped them off at kindergarden--rather be as supportive and helpful as possible while giving them room to do their thing! If you want to prepare your children in advance for high school, find a JEI centre near you so they can absorb the Self-Learning Method® as much as possible before!