How to be a better parent 11 things to remember

There are some things to remember in life. Here is why…

In this storybook of life, things rarely go as planned. However, the hiccups along the way serve as valuable lessons in our evolution as spiritual beings. Also, the challenges we meet help us appreciate the victories even more, and give us perspective on the beauty within those difficult times. With the complexities of modern life, it’s virtually impossible to avoid some sort of problem.

The key to solving the problems lies in how you deal with them, and the following advice could help you keep things in perspective the next time you feel your like your life is spiraling out of control.

“Sometimes things fall apart so that better things can fall together.” – Marilyn Monroe

11 Things to Remember When Everything Falls Apart

How to be a better parent 11 things to remember

1 – Other people’s problems are not yours.

If you have a strong sense of empathy and intuition, you probably feel obligated to help solve everyone else’s problems. However, this can leave you feeling exhausted at the end of the day, and others might start viewing you as their free personal therapist that they can call at all hours of the night. While showing compassion and support for others is important, you need to find a balance between helping others and helping yourself.

2 – Keep going; everything happens for a reason.

Even if you feel that life is merely one catastrophe after another, all of these difficulties only serve to test us and make us stronger. They enable us to handle future situations in a better way and teach us valuable lessons about life. Without struggles, we would not experience growth as human beings.

3 – Pain is temporary.

Any situation never lasts forever, whether that be a bad breakup, financial struggles, family arguments, or other issues. No matter what you might be going through, console yourself by remembering that you are the master of your emotions. You can choose to see the silver lining in any situation and transmute the pain into an opportunity for growth.

4 – There is a purpose in your pain.

Spiritual teachers in the past commonly advised that we attract what we feel and what we are, so any bad situation we face is often the product of our own thoughts and feelings. This may not always hold true, but oftentimes any negative situation can be looked at as a valuable learning tool and an experience to test our highest selves.

How to be a better parent 11 things to remember

5 – Take a minute to pray or to channel positive energy.

No matter what you might face, try to look at the bright side of the situation and call on your angels or spirit guides for higher wisdom. They will help ease your frustration or anxiety about the experience and calm your energy so you can better handle the situation. Prayer will put things into perspective and remind you that everything on Earth works in mysterious cosmic ways which we can’t always understand.

How to be a better parent 11 things to remember

6 – Worrying creates more problems; faith transforms.

No amount of worry will change the situation. It will only leave room for more negative energy and more obstacles for entering your life. Keep a positive mindset and trust that the universe only sends you the experiences that you need to help you transform into the best version of yourself.

“The problem isn’t the problem. It’s your attitude about the problem.” – Captain Jack Sparrow

7 – Maybe you should do exactly what you’re afraid of doing.

The only way to experience growth is to leave the comfort zone behind. Sometimes you need to test your limits and throw caution to the wind in order to know your true capabilities. You might unearth newfound passions and totally new sides of yourself that you never knew before by conquering your greatest fears.

How to be a better parent 11 things to remember

8 – The bad days allow you to appreciate the good ones even more.

Without bad days, you wouldn’t even recognize the good ones as “good,” because you would only have a limited perspective to go by! The funny thing about life is that we can’t know pleasure without pain, happiness without sadness, victories without struggles, and so on. We live in a dualistic reality, meaning we experience opposite ends of the same spectrum in most aspects of life. Appreciate the full experience that this human realm can offer because often the worst occurrences unveil the best lessons.

9 – Remember that you have a LOT of influence and power over your life.

You don’t have to become a victim of circumstance or succumb to defeat; you have total control over your life and can easily turn a bad situation into a good one. Keep in mind that rainbows only show up after a storm, so you must weather the storm in order to recognize the lessons it holds.

“The most important decision you can make is to be in a good mood.” – Voltaire

If you let yourself get into a negative mindset, you will fall into a victim mentality once again. Resolve to keep your mood up despite your current situation, and the negativity will not have any power over you anymore.

10 – Don’t worry, we all have ups and downs. Just look up and keep going.

The next time you feel swamped by the pressures of modern life, just remember that you and millions of others are in the same boat. The best thing to do is to actively create a life you love, and the pressures won’t seem so enormous anymore.

How to be a better parent 11 things to remember

Much has been written about the attributes of high-achieving adults, and what makes them different from everyone else. But if you’re a parent, a more compelling question may be: “What can I do to make sure my kids succeed in life?” Here’s what researchers say.

1. Don’t tell them they can be anything they want.

According a survey of 400 teenagers, conducted by market research agency C+R Research, young Americans aren’t interested in doing the work that will need to be done in the years to come. Instead, they aspire to be musicians, athletes, or video game designers, even though these kinds of jobs only comprise 1 percent of American occupations. In reality, jobs in health care or in construction trades will be golden in future decades. Why not steer them into well-paying professions in which there will be a huge shortage of workers?

2. Eat dinner as a family.

According to a nonprofit organization operating out of Harvard University, kids who eat with their families roughly five days a week exhibit lower levels of substance abuse, teen pregnancy, obesity, and depression. They also have higher grade-point averages, better vocabularies, and more self-esteem.

3. Enforce no-screen time.

Researchers have found that the brains of little kids can be permanently altered when they spend too much time using tablets and smartphones. Specifically, the development of certain abilities is impeded, including focus and attention, vocabulary, and social skills. In fact, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) says children younger than 18 months should have no screen time at all, other than video-chatting. For kids ages two to five, it recommends limiting screen time to one hour a day. For older kids, it’s a matter of making sure media doesn’t take the place of adequate sleep, exercise, and social interaction. The AAP also says parents should make the dinner table, the car, and bedrooms media-free zones.

4. Work outside the home.

There are certainly familial benefits to having a stay-at-home mother, but researchers at Harvard Business School have found that when moms work outside the home, their daughters are more likely to be employed themselves, hold supervisory roles, and make more money than peers whose mothers did not have careers.

5. Make them work.

In a 2015 TED Talk, Julie Lythcott-Haims, author of How to Raise an Adult and the former dean of freshman at Stanford University, cites the Harvard Grant Study, which found that the participants who achieved the greatest professional success did chores as a child.

6. Delay gratification.

The classic Marshmallow Experiment of 1972 involved placing a marshmallow in front of a young child, with the promise of a second marshmallow if he or she could refrain from eating the squishy blob while a researcher stepped out of the room for 15 minutes. Follow-up studies over the next 40 years found that the children who were able to resist the temptation to eat the marshmallow grew up to be people with better social skills, higher test scores, and a lower incidence of substance abuse. They also turned out to be less obese and better able to deal with stress. To help kids build this skill, train them to have habits that must be accomplished every day–even when they don’t feel like doing them.

“Top performers in every field–athletes, musicians, CEOs, artists–are all more consistent than their peers,” writes James Clear, an author and speaker who studies the habits of successful people. “They show up and deliver day after day while everyone else gets bogged down with the urgencies of daily life and fights a constant battle between procrastination and motivation.”

7. Read to them.

Researchers at the New York University School of Medicine have found that babies whose parents read to them have better language, literacy, and early reading skills four years later before starting elementary school. And kids who like books when they’re little grow into people who read for fun later on, which has its own set of benefits. That’s according to Dr. Alice Sullivan, who uses the British Cohort Study to track various aspects of 17,000 people in the U.K. “We compared children from the same social backgrounds who achieved similar tested abilities at ages five and 10, and discovered that those who frequently read books at age 10 and more than once a week when they were 16 had higher test results than those who read less,” she writes for The Guardian. “In other words, reading for pleasure was linked to greater intellectual progress, in vocabulary, spelling, and mathematics.”

8. Encourage them to travel.

The Student and Youth Travel Association (SYTA) surveyed 1,432 U.S. teachers who credit international travel, in particular, with affecting students in a myriad of good ways:

  • Desire to travel more (76%)
  • Increased tolerance of other cultures and ethnicities (74%)
  • Increased willingness to know/learn/explore (73%)
  • Increased willingness to try different foods (70%)
  • Increased independence, self-esteem, and confidence (69%)
  • More intellectual curiosity (69%)
  • Increased tolerance and respectfulness (66%)
  • Better adaptability and sensitivity (66%)
  • Being more outgoing (51%)
  • Better self-expression (51%)
  • Increased attractiveness to college admissions (42%)

If sending your son or daughter abroad or bringing them with you overseas isn’t feasible, take heart. The survey also asked teachers about domestic travel and found similar benefits for students.

9. Let them fail.

While it may seem counterintuitive, it’s one of the best things a parent can do. According to Dr. Stephanie O’Leary, a clinical psychologist specializing in neuropsychology and author of Parenting in the Real World: The Rules Have Changed, failure is good for kids on several levels. First, experiencing failure helps your child learn to cope, a skill that’s certainly needed in the real world. It also provides him or her with the life experience needed to relate to peers in a genuine way. Being challenged also instills the need for hard work and sustained efforts, and also demonstrates that these traits are valuable even without the blue ribbon, gold star, or top score. Over time, children who have experienced defeat will build resilience and be more willing to attempt difficult tasks and activities because they are not afraid to fail. And, she says, rescuing your child sends the message that you don’t trust him or her. “Your willingness to see your child struggle communicates that you believe they are capable and that they can handle any outcome, even a negative one,” she says.

Memory is an important part of building a solid foundation for learning, both in the classroom and beyond. Having a great memory can help your child do better in school, perform well on tests, and achieve better grades.

But sharp memory skills aren’t something that people are born with—these skills develop and improve the more they are used. Like any other skill, practice makes perfect.

In order to become a master of memory, it’s important to make sure your child is regularly working his or her memorization muscles.

Improving Working Memory For Students

An effective memory breaks down into two parts:

  1. Short-term memory
  2. Long-term memory

Short-term memory helps students process and recall new information so they can tackle the task at hand.

This information is transferred to a student’s long-term memory, where it helps him or her develop a deeper understanding of a topic.

Students who struggle with memory usually have trouble organizing information and developing a meaningful understanding of a topic. This can cause children to fall behind in class, leading to ongoing struggles in the classroom.

The good news is that there are a number of memory strategies for children that you can use to help improve your child’s short-term and long-term memory.

11 Ways To Improve A Child’s Memory

Use these 11 exercises and tips to help boost your child’s memory power.

Understanding a subject is the first step to being able to remember the material. Encouraging your child to ask questions helps ensure he or she is developing a deeper comprehension of the topic. This also helps students develop critical thinking and problem-solving skills.

Create rhymes and songs

Help your child make a rhyme, poem, or song from the information he or she is learning. Our brains are wired to remember music and patterns, so using music or rhymes can help your child improve his or her memory and recall.

Make learning exciting

Encourage your child’s enthusiasm of learning by taking a trip to the library to check out books or videos on different subjects. You can also visit a museum or art gallery. If your child is interested in the material he or she is learning, it will be easier to remember it in the future.

Encourage active learning

Make learning more engaging for your child by having discussions about different topics, asking your child what he or she thinks. This encourages students to keep the information in their minds long enough to answer questions about it, helping them develop critical thinking skills while improving memory power.

Use visual aides

Encourage your child to use visual aides to help him or her remember information that has been recently read or heard. Create flashcards that include words or images—these can be used for matching exercises or to practise word definitions.

Have your child make his or her own examples

When your child creates his or her own examples by relating it to his or her personal experiences, it makes processing the material much easier. Connecting material in a meaningful way helps your child remember the information.

Create mind maps

Create a mind map of various ideas and how they relate to each other. Building connections between words and topics helps children actively engage with the material and develop a deeper understanding, which is an important part of memory.

Make a list of keywords for an idea or subject

Create a word list and use it to build associations between each of the words and concepts. The more distinct the associations, the easier they’ll be for your child to remember.

Ask your child to teach you

Encourage your child to explain the information he or she is learning to you (or a sibling or friend). Make it a challenge to see how much he or she can remember. Then go back and review any of the material your child was unsure about.

Use all the senses

Take a multisensory approach to learning by using sight, touch, and sound—read aloud, have a conversation, and use props. This helps engage your child with the material in more than one way, making it easier to connect with the material.

Break information into smaller chunks

Bite-size amounts of information are easier to remember than tackling a lot of material at once. Start small with the basics and build comprehension from there. Organize the information with headings, lists, and colours to make it easier for your child to recall later.

Use these tips and exercises to help boost your child’s memory so he or she can become an even better learner. For even more memory tips, check out these 5 memory tricks the pros use.

How to be a better parent 11 things to remember

Much has been written about the attributes of high-achieving adults, and what makes them different from everyone else. But if you’re a parent, a more compelling question may be: “What can I do to make sure my kids succeed in life?” Here’s what researchers say.

1. Don’t tell them they can be anything they want.

According a survey of 400 teenagers, conducted by market research agency C+R Research, young Americans aren’t interested in doing the work that will need to be done in the years to come. Instead, they aspire to be musicians, athletes, or video game designers, even though these kinds of jobs only comprise 1 percent of American occupations. In reality, jobs in health care or in construction trades will be golden in future decades. Why not steer them into well-paying professions in which there will be a huge shortage of workers?

2. Eat dinner as a family.

According to a nonprofit organization operating out of Harvard University, kids who eat with their families roughly five days a week exhibit lower levels of substance abuse, teen pregnancy, obesity, and depression. They also have higher grade-point averages, better vocabularies, and more self-esteem.

3. Enforce no-screen time.

Researchers have found that the brains of little kids can be permanently altered when they spend too much time using tablets and smartphones. Specifically, the development of certain abilities is impeded, including focus and attention, vocabulary, and social skills. In fact, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) says children younger than 18 months should have no screen time at all, other than video-chatting. For kids ages two to five, it recommends limiting screen time to one hour a day. For older kids, it’s a matter of making sure media doesn’t take the place of adequate sleep, exercise, and social interaction. The AAP also says parents should make the dinner table, the car, and bedrooms media-free zones.

4. Work outside the home.

There are certainly familial benefits to having a stay-at-home mother, but researchers at Harvard Business School have found that when moms work outside the home, their daughters are more likely to be employed themselves, hold supervisory roles, and make more money than peers whose mothers did not have careers.

5. Make them work.

In a 2015 TED Talk, Julie Lythcott-Haims, author of How to Raise an Adult and the former dean of freshman at Stanford University, cites the Harvard Grant Study, which found that the participants who achieved the greatest professional success did chores as a child.

6. Delay gratification.

The classic Marshmallow Experiment of 1972 involved placing a marshmallow in front of a young child, with the promise of a second marshmallow if he or she could refrain from eating the squishy blob while a researcher stepped out of the room for 15 minutes. Follow-up studies over the next 40 years found that the children who were able to resist the temptation to eat the marshmallow grew up to be people with better social skills, higher test scores, and a lower incidence of substance abuse. They also turned out to be less obese and better able to deal with stress. To help kids build this skill, train them to have habits that must be accomplished every day–even when they don’t feel like doing them.

“Top performers in every field–athletes, musicians, CEOs, artists–are all more consistent than their peers,” writes James Clear, an author and speaker who studies the habits of successful people. “They show up and deliver day after day while everyone else gets bogged down with the urgencies of daily life and fights a constant battle between procrastination and motivation.”

7. Read to them.

Researchers at the New York University School of Medicine have found that babies whose parents read to them have better language, literacy, and early reading skills four years later before starting elementary school. And kids who like books when they’re little grow into people who read for fun later on, which has its own set of benefits. That’s according to Dr. Alice Sullivan, who uses the British Cohort Study to track various aspects of 17,000 people in the U.K. “We compared children from the same social backgrounds who achieved similar tested abilities at ages five and 10, and discovered that those who frequently read books at age 10 and more than once a week when they were 16 had higher test results than those who read less,” she writes for The Guardian. “In other words, reading for pleasure was linked to greater intellectual progress, in vocabulary, spelling, and mathematics.”

8. Encourage them to travel.

The Student and Youth Travel Association (SYTA) surveyed 1,432 U.S. teachers who credit international travel, in particular, with affecting students in a myriad of good ways:

  • Desire to travel more (76%)
  • Increased tolerance of other cultures and ethnicities (74%)
  • Increased willingness to know/learn/explore (73%)
  • Increased willingness to try different foods (70%)
  • Increased independence, self-esteem, and confidence (69%)
  • More intellectual curiosity (69%)
  • Increased tolerance and respectfulness (66%)
  • Better adaptability and sensitivity (66%)
  • Being more outgoing (51%)
  • Better self-expression (51%)
  • Increased attractiveness to college admissions (42%)

If sending your son or daughter abroad or bringing them with you overseas isn’t feasible, take heart. The survey also asked teachers about domestic travel and found similar benefits for students.

9. Let them fail.

While it may seem counterintuitive, it’s one of the best things a parent can do. According to Dr. Stephanie O’Leary, a clinical psychologist specializing in neuropsychology and author of Parenting in the Real World: The Rules Have Changed, failure is good for kids on several levels. First, experiencing failure helps your child learn to cope, a skill that’s certainly needed in the real world. It also provides him or her with the life experience needed to relate to peers in a genuine way. Being challenged also instills the need for hard work and sustained efforts, and also demonstrates that these traits are valuable even without the blue ribbon, gold star, or top score. Over time, children who have experienced defeat will build resilience and be more willing to attempt difficult tasks and activities because they are not afraid to fail. And, she says, rescuing your child sends the message that you don’t trust him or her. “Your willingness to see your child struggle communicates that you believe they are capable and that they can handle any outcome, even a negative one,” she says.

How to be a better parent 11 things to remember

I don’t think there is anything that can prepare you to lose a parent. It is a larger blow in adulthood I believe, because you are at the point where you are actually friends with your mother or father. Their wisdom has finally sunk in and you know that all of the shit you rolled your eyes at as a teenager really was done out of love and probably saved your life a time or two.

I lost both of mine two years apart; my mother much unexpected and my father rather quickly after a cancer diagnosis. My mom was the one person who could see into my soul and could call me out in the most effective way. She taught me what humanity, empathy and generosity means. My father was the sarcastic realist in the house and one of the most forgiving people I have ever met. If you wanted it straight, with zero bullshit; just go ask my dad.

Grief runs its course and it comes in stages, but I was not prepared for it to never fully go away.

1. My phone is never more than 1 foot away from me at bedtime, because the last time I did that I missed the call that my mother died.

2. The very thought of my mother’s death, at times, made me physically ill for about six months after she died. I literally vomited.

3. Their deaths have at times ripped the remainder of our family apart. I did my best to honor their wishes and sometimes that made me the bad guy. The burden of that was immense, but I understood why I was chosen. It made me stronger as a person, so for that I am grateful.

4. I’m pissed that my son didn’t get to experience them as grandparents. I watched it five times before his birth and I feel robbed. He would have adored them and they him.

5. I would not trade my time with them for anything, but sometimes I think it would have been easier had you died when I was very young. The memories would be less.

6. Don’t bitch about your parents in front of me. You will get an earful about gratitude and appreciation. As a “Dead Parents Club” member, I would take your place in a heartbeat, so shut your mouth. Get some perspective on how truly fleeting life is.

7. It’s like being a widow ― a “club” you never wanted to join. Where do I return this unwanted membership, please?

8. Other club members are really the only people who can truly understand what it does to a person. They just get it. There is no other way to explain it.

9. Life does go on, but there will be times even years later, you will still break down like it happened yesterday.

10. When you see your friends or even strangers with their mom or dad, you will sometimes be jealous. Envious of the lunch date they have. Downright pissed that your mom can’t plan your baby shower. Big life events are never ever the same again.

Here I sit eight and ten years later and there are still times that I reach for the phone when something exciting happens. Then it hits me; shit, I can’t call them.

Their deaths have forever changed me and how I look at the world. In an odd way it has made me a better parent. I am always acutely aware of what memories can mean to my son and how I will impact his life while I am on this earth. He deserves to know how much he is loved and when I am gone, what I teach and instill in him now, will be my legacy.

Lisa Schmidt is a Dating and Relationship coach in Detroit and the author of her own blog. She streams regularly on Periscope and is contributor for several online publications. Relationship questions can also be sent to her directly Ask Lisa Here

How to be a better parent 11 things to remember

E.B. White famously quipped, “Humor can be dissected, as a frog can, but the thing dies in the process.” At the risk of committing some sort of “humor-cide,” a type of scientific dissection must take place if teachers are to consider harnessing the powerful effects of humor, not only to increase joy and enhance the classroom environment, but also to improve learner outcomes.

The Funny Bone Is Connected to the Sense of Wonder

Teachers understand that humor is inherently social. How many times have you heard that same “Orange who?” knock-knock joke spread through your classroom? The contagious nature of humor naturally builds a sense of community (PDF, 731KB) by lowering defenses and bringing individuals together. If the brain is faced with an inconsistency, then laughter is the response when it is resolved in an unexpected way. This sentence, “Memorization is what we resort to when what we are learning makes no sense,” may make us smile as our brains resolve its inconsistency.

Essentially, humor activates our sense of wonder, which is where learning begins, so it seems logical that humor could enhance retention. A Pew Research poll showed that viewers of humorous news shows such as The Daily Show and The Colbert Report exhibited higher retention of news facts than those who got their news from newspapers, CNN, Fox News, or network stations. When Stephen Colbert demands, “If we don’t cut expensive things like Head Start, child nutrition programs, and teachers, what sort of future are we leaving for our children?”, viewers laugh and also retain the knowledge of that specific budget issue.

A substantial body of research explains why we remember things that make us laugh, such as our favorite, hilarious high school moment or the details of that funny movie we saw last weekend. Neuroscience research reveals that humor systematically activates the brain’s dopamine reward system, and cognitive studies show that dopamine is important for both goal-oriented motivation and long-term memory, while educational research indicates that correctly-used humor can be an effective intervention to improve retention in students from kindergarten through college.

Foolishness as a Tool

What does “correctly used” mean? Let’s take a closer look at some of the classroom research to find out. In one study, researchers asked nearly 400 college students to document their teachers’ appropriate or inappropriate use of humor, their effectiveness as teachers, and how students perceived the humor. The results of this study showed that related, appropriate humor resulted in increased retention, while inappropriate, cruel, or unrelated humor did not. The study also discovered that humor can be perceived and appreciated without improving retention — essentially, the student can think a teacher is “funny” but not show an improvement in retention. So, just being silly may get your students’ attention, but may not lead to better retention. These researchers concluded that for improved retention, appropriate, topic-related instructional humor is most effective.

“According to recent surveys, 51 percent of the people are in the majority.” Did that statistics joke make you smile? Statistics may not be the first field that comes to mind when you think of content-related humor, but researchers wondered if humor could increase retention even in typically “dry” courses. In this study, college students listened to statistics lectures with and without content-related humor. They were then tested over the material and completed surveys regarding their enjoyment of the lectures. The test and survey results showed that retention was strongest in the lectures with content-related humor, and that students reported more enjoyment in the experience.

Age-Appropriate Humor

What about using humor with adolescents? If the idea of using humor in front of a classroom of judgmental teenagers makes you more nervous than a rookie teacher in his or her first parent-teacher conference, consider the research showing that adolescents tend to release more dopamine and have more dopamine receptors than adults. Because of their hyper-responsive dopamine reward system, adolescents may be uniquely primed to react positively to educational humor. Try telling a funny story or allowing your students to come up with humorous examples in their projects or discussions. Teach Like a Pirate has some great ideas for enhancing the humor in a high school classroom.

The children’s TV show Sesame Street has harnessed the power of humor for decades. If you were asked to recall something from watching Sesame Street as a child, could you? Most likely, yes. You may remember Grover’s silly antics, Mr. Noodles’ constant confusion, or Big Bird struggling to get his friends to believe Mr. Snuffleupagus was real. That’s why researchers chose Sesame Street episodes to test the impact of humor on retention and engagement in young children. Kindergarten and first grade students watched either a humorous or non-humorous Sesame Street segment. When content was tested, the children who watched the humorous segments scored higher and showed better engagement than the control group. Their engagement transferred even to the non-humorous portions of the lessons, resulting in improved retention throughout.

Here are some research-supported tips for using humor to increase retention:

  • Use humor to enhance classroom joy
  • Use humor to develop a sense of community
  • Use content-related humor
  • Use age-appropriate humor
  • “Sandwich” humor between instruction and repetition

Avoid

  • Sarcasm
  • Cruel or inappropriate humor
  • Forced humor
  • Off-topic humor
  • Too much humor

About That Frog. . .

To sum up, we can turn to a meta-analysis of 40 years of educational humor research indicating that humor increases the strength of human connections, and that non-aggressive, relevant, appropriate humor appears to be a helpful learning tool. It seems to be particularly useful to sandwich humor between instruction and repetition. The authors of this meta-analysis caution that not everyone is naturally humorous, so educators shouldn’t force it. Watching someone struggle to be funny is a very awkward experience and can defeat the purpose. Developmental differences must also be considered, as younger students may find irony, sarcasm, and exaggeration difficult to understand.

Although we may have slaughtered the proverbial frog in this analysis, these studies indicate that the use of appropriate, content-specific humor to reinforce concepts can be a positive tool to improve retention. Educators can utilize humor’s systematic activation of the dopamine reward system to reinforce the brain’s pathways to new knowledge.

Have you noticed humor-enhanced retention in your classroom?

Memory is an important part of building a solid foundation for learning, both in the classroom and beyond. Having a great memory can help your child do better in school, perform well on tests, and achieve better grades.

But sharp memory skills aren’t something that people are born with—these skills develop and improve the more they are used. Like any other skill, practice makes perfect.

In order to become a master of memory, it’s important to make sure your child is regularly working his or her memorization muscles.

Improving Working Memory For Students

An effective memory breaks down into two parts:

  1. Short-term memory
  2. Long-term memory

Short-term memory helps students process and recall new information so they can tackle the task at hand.

This information is transferred to a student’s long-term memory, where it helps him or her develop a deeper understanding of a topic.

Students who struggle with memory usually have trouble organizing information and developing a meaningful understanding of a topic. This can cause children to fall behind in class, leading to ongoing struggles in the classroom.

The good news is that there are a number of memory strategies for children that you can use to help improve your child’s short-term and long-term memory.

11 Ways To Improve A Child’s Memory

Use these 11 exercises and tips to help boost your child’s memory power.

Understanding a subject is the first step to being able to remember the material. Encouraging your child to ask questions helps ensure he or she is developing a deeper comprehension of the topic. This also helps students develop critical thinking and problem-solving skills.

Create rhymes and songs

Help your child make a rhyme, poem, or song from the information he or she is learning. Our brains are wired to remember music and patterns, so using music or rhymes can help your child improve his or her memory and recall.

Make learning exciting

Encourage your child’s enthusiasm of learning by taking a trip to the library to check out books or videos on different subjects. You can also visit a museum or art gallery. If your child is interested in the material he or she is learning, it will be easier to remember it in the future.

Encourage active learning

Make learning more engaging for your child by having discussions about different topics, asking your child what he or she thinks. This encourages students to keep the information in their minds long enough to answer questions about it, helping them develop critical thinking skills while improving memory power.

Use visual aides

Encourage your child to use visual aides to help him or her remember information that has been recently read or heard. Create flashcards that include words or images—these can be used for matching exercises or to practise word definitions.

Have your child make his or her own examples

When your child creates his or her own examples by relating it to his or her personal experiences, it makes processing the material much easier. Connecting material in a meaningful way helps your child remember the information.

Create mind maps

Create a mind map of various ideas and how they relate to each other. Building connections between words and topics helps children actively engage with the material and develop a deeper understanding, which is an important part of memory.

Make a list of keywords for an idea or subject

Create a word list and use it to build associations between each of the words and concepts. The more distinct the associations, the easier they’ll be for your child to remember.

Ask your child to teach you

Encourage your child to explain the information he or she is learning to you (or a sibling or friend). Make it a challenge to see how much he or she can remember. Then go back and review any of the material your child was unsure about.

Use all the senses

Take a multisensory approach to learning by using sight, touch, and sound—read aloud, have a conversation, and use props. This helps engage your child with the material in more than one way, making it easier to connect with the material.

Break information into smaller chunks

Bite-size amounts of information are easier to remember than tackling a lot of material at once. Start small with the basics and build comprehension from there. Organize the information with headings, lists, and colours to make it easier for your child to recall later.

Use these tips and exercises to help boost your child’s memory so he or she can become an even better learner. For even more memory tips, check out these 5 memory tricks the pros use.

Despite what shows like TheBrady Bunch and Modern Family would have us believe, stepparenting is hard. “Blending a family is like a dish that takes a long time to cook,” says Molly Barrow, PhD, author of How To Survive Step Parenting. “You can’t force it before it’s ready.”

But if you’re patient and take the following tips to heart, the rewards are well worth the effort. These nine tips can help.

1. DON’T come on too strong.

“Many stepparents try too hard to create an instant bond,” says Christina Steinorth, MFT, author of Cue Cards for Life: Gentle Reminders for Better Relationships. “Though they have good intentions, many stepparents try to buy their stepchild’s love through lots of gifts or by being the really cool parent. Kids can see right through that.” Be realistic — and be yourself. You’ll have a better chance of developing that close relationship you long for.

2. Do get on the same parenting page with your new spouse — and their ex.

“All the parents need to discuss their methods — rewards, punishments, chores, allowances, bedtimes, homework — and come to an agreement about the rules,” says Tina B. Tessina, PhD, author of Money, Sex and Kids: Stop Fighting about the Three Things That Can Ruin Your Marriage. “The transition is much easier if the parents are in accord. If something happens you haven’t discussed, just defer to one parent, and work it out later.”

3. DO encourage your stepchild to have one-on-one time with both of their biological parents.

“Some stepparents are threatened by their stepchildren spending time alone with their biological parent — especially their spouse’s ex — but they shouldn’t be,” Steinorth says. “When you’re supportive of it, you’re sending the message that this isn’t a competition for affection and that you truly want to see your stepchildren happy.”

4. DO have family meetings weekly.

Give everyone, including the kids, a chance to share how they feel, what they like and don’t like, and ask them to share both positive and negative opinions,” Tessina says. “Ask for suggestions about how to make things better.”

Continued

5. DON’T set your expectations too high.

“This is especially important for stepparents that already have children of their own,” Steinorth says. “You may feel that you’ll be able to step into a new family and have the same interactions, feelings, and bonds you share with your biological children. What new stepparents seem to forget is that they have a shared history with their biological children that they don’t have with their stepchildren. Give your ‘new family’ time to develop its own unique dynamic, without any pressure of how you think it should be.”

6. DON’T overstep your bounds.

“A big mistake many stepparents make is over-disciplining a child in an attempt to gain respect,” Barrow says. “This often backfires and causes the kid to despise them. I recommend stepping back and allowing the primary parent to discipline their own children for at least the first year. After you’ve spent time earning their affection and respect, then you have a much better chance of being listened to.”

7. Be ready to hear, “You’re not my real mom/dad.”

“This is a stepchild’s way of trying to take power away from your role,” Steinorth says.

Be ready with an appropriate response.

“When it happens, the key is to not deny what your stepchild is telling you. Keep it factual and avoid the power struggle.” Your best bet? “You’re right, I’m not your biological parent, I’m your stepparent. But that doesn’t mean I love or care about you less.”

8. DO plan activities with your stepchild.

Bike together, go bowling, take an art class together, or even go grocery shopping and cook dinner together once or twice a week. “Shared experiences are a great way to bond with stepchildren,” Steinorth says. “Try to carve out one-on-one time together at least once a month.”

9. DON’T take it personally.

“Just remember that your stepchildren are dealing with their own feelings about the end of their biological parents’ marriage,” Steinorth says.

“When parents divorce, many children still hold out hope that their parents will work things out and get back together. But when a stepparent comes into the picture, the new stepparent is, in essence, putting an end to that dream. Kids mourn the loss of what they had hoped could be, and those feelings take time to work through.”

Sources

Molly Barrow, PhD, author, How To Survive Step-Parenting.

Christina Steinorth, MA, MFT, author, Cue Cards for Life: Gentle Reminders for Better Relationships.

Tina B. Tessina, PhD, author, Money, Sex and Kids: Stop Fighting about the Three Things That Can Ruin Your Marriage.

Want to raise your child in a loving and caring environment? Here are 6 techniques that nurturing parents use and how to implement them into your daily life.

How to be a better parent 11 things to remember

You want your child to feel loved and protected, but are you applying the principles of nurturing parenting in your daily life? “It’s all about being there for your children, listening to them and understanding the principles of child development. Children need to feel secure in a loving family,” says Dr. Stephany Hughes, who has a doctorate in educational psychology and is the author of “Mother as Emotional Coach: 8 Principles for Raising a Well-Adjusted Child.”

Here are some techniques nurturing parents use:

  1. Display Love and Warmth
    According to Denise Daniels, a child development expert, one of the foundations of nurturing parenting is acting in a loving, nurturing and warm way from a very young age. “Parents often think that this only applies to older children, but you don’t have to wait until they’re older. You can do it as soon as they’re born,” she says. Respond to your newborn’s cries with loving attention and continue to respond to her needs in a caring way. Always let her know that you love her no matter what.
  2. Spend Time With Your Child
    Take time each day to spend one-on-one with your child. Do things together that you both enjoy, such as playing with toys. “It’s so important to enter the world of play with your child. Kids build trust that way,” says Daniels. Reading books is another great bonding tool — especially if you ask open-ended questions about the story once you’ve finished reading.
  3. Listen to Your Child and Acknowledge Her Feelings
    In order to figure out what your child needs, you just have to listen. “Turn off the ambient noise that surrounds you. Forget about what you think is important at the moment and turn your attention to the most important person in your life — your child,” says Dr. Hughes. Let your child reveal his inner feelings and emotions, and acknowledge them.
  4. Develop a Routine
    According to Dr. Hughes, developing a consistent routine is another tenement of a nurturing parent. “Once you have your children in a routine, they know what to expect. Their life is bereft of chaos. And guess what? They like it. It gives them comfort to know what is going to happen next,” she says. Routines help relieve your child from wondering about the when and if of daily life and lets them focus on being a kid and discovering themselves.
  5. Participate in the Community
    Nurturing parents also realize that kids need access to people outside the family with whom they can develop healthy relationships. Take your child to the library, museums and youth enrichment programs, like sports or dance. Just remember, these activities shouldn’t take up all of your child’s time. “Get your children out of the SUV on the way to umpteen after-school activities and let them have some free time,” says Dr. Hughes.
  6. Invest in Self-Care
    Self-care is a huge cornerstone to being a nurturing parent. According to Daniels, it’s important to “nurture yourself so you can nurture your children.” Take a warm relaxing bath or have a cup of tea. When you take the time to recharge your own batteries, you’re more patient and responsive to your children.

Effects of Positive Parenting
Nurturing parenting can provide numerous benefits for your child:

  • Enhanced Brain Development
    Studies have found that growing up in a nurturing environment from an early age actually helps build a child’s brain.
  • Increased Empathy and Self-Esteem
    Nurturing parenting also produces kids who have a deep understanding of empathy. They’re also more confident than those who grew up in strict, authoritarian households.
  • Better Attachments and Healthy Conflict Resolution
    Since nurturing parenting focuses on forming attachments from birth, it makes sense that it helps children develop better relationship and problem-solving skills.
  • Fewer Mental Health Problems as Adults
    According to Daniels, not only do kids of nurturing parenting experience fewer mental health issues, they’re also less likely to turn to drugs and alcohol.

When it comes to parenting, remember that there is no one “right way.” Different techniques work for different families and different situations. “Don’t try to be the perfect parent — there’s no such thing. Just try to be a ‘good enough’ parent,” says Daniels.

Rebecca Desfosse is a freelance writer specializing in parenting and family topics.