Archive for the ‘child adolescent behavior’ Category

The Effects of Multitasking on Learning

November 23, 2014

multitask2When today’s students are studying, it’s common for them to also be texting, emailing, and posting on Facebook and other social media sites. And while is the social and emotional world young people live in today, scientists and educators are concerned that multitasking while learning can put students at a disadvantage.

Evidence from psychology, cognitive science, and neuroscience suggests that when students multitask while doing schoolwork, their learning is far spottier and shallower than if the work had their full attention. They understand and remember less, and they have greater difficulty transferring their learning to new contexts.

That is because these multitasking operations are actually quite mentally complex. They draw on the same mental resources—using language, parsing meaning—demanded by schoolwork. Under most conditions, the brain simply can’t do two complex tasks at the same time, unless the two tasks are both very simple and don’t compete with each other for the same mental resources. But if someone is listening to a lecture while texting, they are engaging in two very demanding tasks, each of which uses the prefrontal cortex of the brain.

Researchers offer this bit of advice if you have a multitasking student:

Do 15 uninterrupted minutes of homework. Then take a “tech break”—two minutes to text, check websites and post on social media to satisfy the craving for electronic communication. Then it’s back to the homework for another 15 minutes.

Optiminds offers customized tutoring programs for students, including students who are home schooled. We have earned a reputation for helping to improve the study, reading, math and cognitive skills of students of all ages. Learn more about us by calling us today at (248) 496-0150 or by visiting us at: optimindsct.com.

Advertisements

Help Your Child Concentrate Better

August 23, 2014

At a time when multitasking (texting, listening to music, surfing the Internet)— is becoming the new normal, you may find that your child is having trouble focusing on the task at hand.

If you can establish effective focus strategies and concentration skills at an early age, you will have provided a foundation for long-term success in high school, college and the professional working world.

Here are some practical and manageable tips parents can use to help their children focus:

Set expectations early—Explain to your children that just as you have many important responsibilities (at home, at work, in your community, etc.), learning is their most important “job” right now. Establish a routine for homework and studying by including younger children in homework by having them color or look at books while older children are doing homework.

Divide big projects into small tasks—Big projects can overwhelm. Splitting the task up will give your child the feeling of progress as the pieces are completed.

Manage distractions—Set up rules such as: no television, phone or computer until homework is done. Research has found that certain types of music such as classical and instrumental help people concentrate better, so consider playing Bach, Mozart or Beethoven.

Use time to increase focus— Sometimes setting a short period of time will help a child focus longer. Set a timer for a particular task that your child can work to “beat.” One rule of thumb is that a child can focus on a single activity for about one minute per year of age.

Establish rules for doing homework—Make a rule that your children’s homework and studying be completed (neatly and correctly) before going out to play. As seasons and activities change throughout the year, be flexible and adapt to changing schedules.

Optiminds has earned a reputation for helping to improve the study, reading, math and cognitive skills of students of all ages. We also have specialists in college counseling and athletic college prep counseling on our staff. Learn more about us by calling us today at (248) 496-0150 or by visiting us at: optimindsct.com.

Teaching Your Child Critical Thinking

June 23, 2014

criticalthink2Children can begin to learn critical thinking very early. Critical thinking is a skill that elevates thinking beyond memorization into the realm of analysis and logic. It is about knowing how to think, not what to think.

Here are some things you can try with your children to get them used to thinking critically, a skill that will serve them well throughout life:

  • Ask open-ended questions that don’t have one right answer. This encourages children to respond creatively without being afraid of giving the wrong answer. They will begin to see themselves as problem solvers.
  • Teach your child to find patterns and connections in everyday things—at the park, watching TV, different shapes in road signs, etc.
  • Help children develop hypotheses. Ask them, “If we do this, what do you think will happen?” Or, “Let’s predict what we think will happen next.”
  • Categorize and classify things, such as sorting laundry or Legos. Classification requires us to identify and sort based on a set of rules. After classifying something, follow up by asking your child what the similarities and the differences were with the groups that were created.
  • Help your child consider the pros and cons of a situation and make a decision, even if it is a wrong decision. Then ask your child how they feel about their decision and what would they do differently next time.
  • Instead jumping in to solve problems all the time, ask your child some questions and provide enough information so he or she doesn’t get frustrated, but not so much information that you solve the problem for them.
  • Encourage your child to do research, to look for more information about a topic. You could help them search for information on the computer, at the library, or by asking mom or dad.

Optiminds has earned a reputation for helping to improve the study, reading, math and cognitive skills of students of all ages. We also have specialists in college counseling and athletic college prep counseling on our staff. Learn more about us by calling us today at (248) 496-0150 or by visiting us at: optimindsct.com.

Link Between ADHD and Dyslexia

June 9, 2014

learningdisability3As many as one in four children with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) also have dyslexia. And
between 15 and 40 percent of children with dyslexia have ADHD. With this in mind, it is important for parents to look at the whole picture when assessing your child’s performance.

Experts have found that similar areas of the brain are involved in both disorders—areas that lead to problems with executive function, memory, and processing symbols quickly. What’s different is how these disorders play out—dyslexic children have difficulty with reading and writing, while ADHD involves issues with behavior.

identify a learner’s strengths and developing strategies that compensate for weaknesses, we can design a learning program that focuses on:

Children with ADHD and dyslexia usually have normal to high intelligence and high creativity, but are frustrated academically. They tend to process information differently—relying more on auditory and tactile approaches—than other children.

If your child has either or both of these disorders, they may benefit from after-school tutoring. Optiminds can help you determine if your child has ADHD or dyslexia and design a customized program based on their strengths and weaknesses.

Optiminds has earned a reputation for helping to improve the study, reading, math and cognitive skills of students of all ages. We also have specialists in college counseling and athletic college prep counseling on our staff. Learn more about us by calling us today at (248) 496-0150 or by visiting us at: optimindsct.com.

Call Optiminds for Credit Recovery Programs for Students

April 23, 2014

If your student has failed courses because of poor grades or absenteeism or dropped out of school, there is hope for getting them back on track.

Optiminds now offers accredited, individualized credit recovery programs for students. Credit recovery is the process of helping students recover the credits they have lost so that they can move on to the next grade and stay in school and graduate on time.

Our customized credit recovery sessions focus on helping students boost achievement levels, earn credit based on competency of the content standards for a particular course and gain the skills they need to succeed. After an initial assessment, they receive the intensive instructional support they need to master core subjects.

Please give us a call at (248) 496-0150 for more information. Optiminds has earned a reputation for helping to improve the study, reading, math and cognitive skills of students of all ages. Be sure to visit the Optiminds website at: optimindsct.com.

Monitoring Your Child’s Use of Media

February 23, 2014

KidsTech1Children today are spending an average of seven hours a day on entertainment media, including televisions, computers, phones and other electronic devices.

Studies have shown that the excessive use of media can lead to attention problems, school difficulties, sleep and eating disorders, and obesity. In addition, the Internet and cell phones can provide platforms for illicit and risky behaviors.

The American Academy of Pediatrics offers some recommendations that parents might find helpful in overseeing their children’s use of media and helping them make wise media choices:

  • Use established ratings systems for shows, movies and games to avoid inappropriate content, such as violence, explicit sexual content or glorified tobacco and alcohol use
  • Limit screen time and make educational media and non-electronic formats (books, newspapers and board games) readily available
  • Watch television with your children and put things you watch into context
  • Establish “screen-free” zones at home by making sure there are no televisions, computers or video games in children’s bedrooms
  • Turn off the TV during dinner
  • Children and teens should engage with entertainment media for no more than one or two hours per day, and that should be high-quality content
  • See that your kids spend time on outdoor play, reading, hobbies, and using their imaginations in free play
  • Television and other entertainment media should be avoided for infants and children under age 2. A child’s brain develops rapidly during these first years, and young children learn best by interacting with people, not screens.

Dr. Jane Stewart at Optiminds has earned a reputation for helping to improve the study, reading, math and cognitive skills of students of all ages. Learn more about Optiminds by calling Dr. Stewart today at (248) 496-0150 or email her at: jstewart@optimindsct.com. And be sure to visit the Optiminds website at: optimindsct.com.

 

Brain Exercises for Families on the Go

December 16, 2013

Keeping children occupied and happy while you are driving can be a challenge for busy parents.

Following are some suggestions for engaging the kids mentally, whether you are making the rounds in town or on an extended road trip. Obviously, it’s better and safer if some of the games are conducted by the adult who isn’t the driver.

  • Have your children write down the license plate numbers, make and model, and color of passing cars. Two or more kids can compare who has the most entries in 10 minutes.
  • Ask your children say the alphabet backwards, spell their full name (first, middle, and last) backwards, or recite the pledge of allegiance backwards.
  • Try “category” games. For example, have the kids list—in one minute—all of the colors they know. Try other categories such as breeds of dogs, words that mean red, words that mean small, etc. Make the task harder by having them clip paperclips together while listing things in a category.
  • Make several lists of common words. At first, only one word and ask your children to repeat it. Give them two words and ask them to repeat both words. Keep adding additional words until it looks like the children have reached their capacity for remembering.
  • Keep two or more identical U.S. maps in the car. Starting with your home state, give your kids directions and ask them to follow on the map. Then move to the two states to the east, west, etc. Ask them to find the capital city of the state you are traveling to.
  • Using paper and a pencil, give your children a time on the clock, such as 11:15 am. Ask them to draw that time on a traditional clock face with minute and hour hand, and then show how the same time would appear on a digital clock.  Next tell them to draw the clock as it would appear in 6 hours and thirty minutes. Draw the clock as it appeared 2 hours and 10 minutes ago.

Dr. Jane Stewart at Optiminds has earned a reputation for helping to improve the study, reading, math and cognitive skills of students of all ages. Learn more about Optiminds’ by calling Dr. Stewart today at (248) 496-0150 or email her at: jstewart@optimindsct.com. And be sure to visit the Optiminds website at: optimindsct.com.

Is Your Child Struggling at School?

October 23, 2013

School has been back in session for a few weeks now. If you are noticing that your child seems anxious, distracted, struggling at school or exhibiting poor behavior, Optiminds can help.

It’s a reality that schools are not equipped to handle the individualized demands that every student brings. As a parent, you know better than anyone if there are changes in your child’s behavior—impulsiveness, frustration, being overwhelmed. When a child struggles with these things, it affects his or her ability to process information properly. It is inevitable that they will have difficulty learning in school—unless they learn how to overcome these obstacles.

Dr. Jane Stewart realizes that often parents need help too.  Through Optiminds, Dr. Stewart offers coaching and parenting programs to help parents handle their children’s behavioral or educational issues. Optiminds gives parents the tools they need to make positive strides in their relationships as well as tools to steer their children in positive directions.

Optiminds’ individualized tutoring and brain training programs are designed to increase mental capacity, process information better and faster, and improve mental performance, cognitive skills and adaptability.

The Optiminds staff will consult with you and evaluate your child to identify problem areas or learning disorders. We will then design a plan that includes: mental exercises, visualization techniques and computerized drills accompanied by recommendations for diet and physical exercise. Call us today for an initial consultation.

Dr. Jane Stewart at Optiminds has earned a reputation for helping to improve the study, reading, math and cognitive skills of students of all ages. Learn more about Optiminds’ customized tutoring programs by calling Dr. Stewart today at (248) 496-0150 or email her at: jstewart@optimindsct.com. And be sure to visit the Optiminds website at: optimindsct.com.

Teaching a Love of Learning

October 16, 2013

lovelearning3It’s parents who play the biggest role when it comes to instilling a love of learning in their children. When children take joy in discovering new things, it will transfer to their schoolwork and boost academic achievement. Following are some things you can do to encourage your child to learn …

Connect what your children are studying to what is going on in their lives and the world; discuss a newspaper article or newscast that relates to subject matter they are learning in class.

Ask about what your children are learning in school, not about their grades or test scores. Have them teach you what they learned in school, in their own words.

Never discourage questions. Each time you answer your child’s questions, he or she is learning.

Be an example. If your children see you studying, reading and learning, they will “see” that seeking knowledge is normal behavior and they will want to imitate you.

Point out the new things you learn with enthusiasm. Discuss the different ways you find new information, whether you’re looking for gardening tips on the Internet or taking a night class in literature.

Focus on strengths, encouraging developing talents. Even if your child didn’t ace her math test, she may have written a good poem in English class. In addition to a workbook for math practice, give her a writing journal.

Introduce your children to science museums, natural history museums, zoos, historical sites, national parks, and even forests. Much of learning is achieved through experiencing.

Praise your child when you see him or her reading or studying. Let them know they are doing a great thing!

Educational DVDs and videos are great for introducing your children to new science and history topics; use the “pause” button to stop and discuss what you are watching and answer questions.

Show enthusiasm for your children’s interests and encourage them to explore subjects that fascinate them.

Dr. Jane Stewart at Optiminds has earned a reputation for helping to improve the study, reading, math and cognitive skills of students of all ages. Learn more about Optiminds’ customized tutoring programs by calling Dr. Stewart today at (248) 496-0150 or email her at: jstewart@optimindsct.com. And be sure to visit the Optiminds website at: optimindsct.com.

Exercise as a Non-Drug Treatment for Kids With ADHD

May 25, 2013

We’ve talked about exercise helping seniors prevent dementia. But researchers are also finding that a few minutes of exercise can also help children with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) perform better academically.

A recent Michigan State University study shows for the first time that kids with ADHD can better drown out distractions and focus on a task after a single bout of exercise. The results are important because they suggest exercise as a possible nonpharmaceutical tool for preventing ADHD.

While drugs have proven largely effective in treating many of the 2.5 million school-aged American children with ADHD, a growing number of parents and physicians worry about the side effects and costs of medication.

The study had 40 children aged 8 to 10, half of whom had ADHD, spend 20 minutes either walking briskly on a treadmill or reading while seated. The children then took a brief reading comprehension and math exam similar to longer standardized tests. They also played a simple computer game in which they had to ignore visual stimuli to quickly determine which direction a cartoon fish was swimming.

The results showed all of the children performed better on both tests after exercising. In the computer game, those with ADHD also were better able to slow down after making an error to avoid repeat mistakes—a particular challenge for those with the disorder.

Dr. Jane Stewart at Optiminds has earned a reputation for helping to improve the study, reading, math and cognitive skills of students of all ages. Learn more about Optiminds’ customized tutoring and ADHD programs by calling Dr. Stewart today at (248) 496-0150 or email her at: jstewart@optimindsct.com. And be sure to visit the Optiminds website at: optimindsct.com.


%d bloggers like this: