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Back to school challenge: decorate lockers as vision boards
Back to school can be stressful with harder classes, unfamiliar teachers, and busier schedules. Students are working toward something--but they do not always see what that is. Some wade through the drudgery, hoping they will get somewhere eventually--but there is a better, more fun way to do this. They can envision the exact future they want and choose the right process for themselves! How? Through vision boards! A vision board is like a scrapbook page that can be hung or propped up, except the purpose is not to save up memories but to create future ones. Think of it as a scrapbook page from the future. What would that future ideally look like? Then imagine it will come true and decorate the vision board to portray those specific goals. Students can transform the drab lockers that are filled to the brim with stress-inducing content like textbooks into fabulous vision boards with all their hopes and dreams. This gives them a sense of purpose and direction throughout the school year. What do they want to accomplish in fifth grade? Ninth? Eleventh? The constant exposure to these boards can help them visualize a future and remind them of the action they need to take to get there. Oprah Winfrey and Will Smith utilized visualization to get to where they are today! While Oprah often repeated, “My life will not be like this,” and visualized a better life for herself, Will Smith once said, “In my mind, I’ve always been an A-list Hollywood superstar. Y’all just didn’t know about it yet.” A survey on vision boards further showed how effective they could be. Participants who created vision boards felt double the confidence that they will achieve their goals than those who did not make vision boards. 82% of participants reported they accomplished more than half the goals on the board and were still going strong! Want to see the same results with your child? First things first, let your child write out a list of all their goals. This is a chance for them to learn the importance of goal setting. What is significant to them? What future do they want? What is their intention? Afterward, let them prioritize what is most important and least important, making sure to ask them why. The more important the goal is, the bigger the space on a vision board can be saved for it. The stronger the why, the likelier the goal will be reached. Secondly, make sure your child has the right focus. Have them focus on feelings more than the results. The vision board should evoke strong emotions such as pride, victory, and resilience. If they only envision the end goal, particularly material gains, they will not be as motivated. For example, instead of pasting a picture of a nice house, your child can place a picture of a happy family having a picnic on their lawn. The warm and fuzzy feeling from viewing that picture will last longer and be more effective. In a similar vein, have them focus on the process more than the results. If they get stuck on visualizing the ending, they may lose sight of how to get there. They will feel satisfied with the false feeling of achievement that comes from daydreaming. This, in turn, will decrease the drive and effort to actually realize the dream. A lot of hard work will be required, which they must always remember and accept. Include pictures of the process, such as a student rigorously studying at a desk or a mathematician surrounded by crumpled up pieces of paper. Advise your child that they get out of it what they put in. The more effort they put in, the likelier the goals on the vision boards will come true. Oprah and Will Smith may have successfully manifested all their desires for success and influence, but they were able to do so because they also worked extremely hard and persevered through challenges. Thirdly, let your child be creative! This is a time to express themselves. They can show what kind of people they are growing up to be and what is important to them through their vision boards. Students should browse many books and magazines, as well as tap into their artistic side. Make boards personal with doodles, drawings, writings, and photos. Fourthly, make sure the boards are encouraging! It is supposed to be your child’s cheerleader, so fill it up with positive affirmations. Students will be constantly exposed to the inside of their lockers, so these boards should boost their moods and confidence! Parents could share their favorite motivational quotes and write notes of love and encouragement so their child always feels bolstered. Once you are convinced that vision boards will uplevel your child’s life, find some fun content and get creative! Help your child out if they need and watch as they work toward their dreams! Have an amazing school year, and JEI hopes they reach all their goals.
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. Prioritization Children will have to prioritize 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 realize that if they do not get a start on that big project looming in the background that is worth half the semester grade, 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 soccer practice, that would be the perfect time to schedule in that math 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 prioritize self-care. Time management is not only for productivity but also for making sure there is still fun in their lives. They will realize 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 socialize 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 programs here!
How you behave can prepare your child for kindergarten
Your children are ready to enter kindergarten-but like all parents, you have your concerns. How can you make sure your children are ready for this milestone? By monitoring your own behavior, especially when you are around them. Children at a young age are particularly observant and malleable. They learn about the world around them through analysis, so your behavior will be the one they will model their own behavior on when they enter society. This is particularly important early on when children are just developing their Emotional Quotient (EQ) and communication skills. So how can you make sure they are ready for kindergarten? Say “Please” and “Thank You” It is your responsibility to show children good behavior, meaning they should be saying all the correct things at the appropriate times. When they ask for something, they should include “please.” After receiving something, they should say, “Thank you.” Other phrases could be “excuse me” and “bless you.” The more you use these phrases, the more your children will emulate this and learn when is the right time to use them. Express Your Feelings It is important for children to develop their communication skills. Otherwise, it is difficult for teachers to understand their needs. They may not be comfortable expressing themselves at first, so show them how it’s done! Use phrases starting with “I feel…” and “I think…” and add in a variety of adjectives, like sad, happy, confused, and hungry. This will make children more comfortable with sharing their feelings and thoughts with others, as well as help them recognize what certain feelings are. Recognize Others’ Feelings Children may have a difficult time recognizing other people’s facial expressions and empathizing with how they’re feeling. Their EQ is still in its early stages. Show them to observe and understand by making note of how others feel. If one child is frowning, you can point this out to your other child with, “I think your brother is sad because you won’t listen to his story.” These hints will give them better ideas on how to read other people and behave accordingly. Socialize With Others A big part of kindergarten is learning to socialize with other children and adults on a daily basis. This can be new and frightening for young children, but you can make it seem normal by socializing with others in a comfortable and friendly manner. Chat with neighbors for a few minutes instead of rushing by in determined silence, which can leave a negative impression on your children. They may choose to ignore others the very same way in kindergarten. Show that conversing with others can be natural, not scary. Share With Others Sharing can be a big issue with young children. However, parents can show that sharing is caring not only by enforcing this with their children but also showing through their own actions. Ask the other parent to use something, like the remote to watch TV, and then that parent can respond positively by saying, “Of course!” or respectfully by saying, “Do you mind waiting until this episode is over?” Set a great precedent. Read with Excitement Reading will be a big part of kindergarten. Children may feel uneasy or unready for reading aloud in a class full of peers, but parents can make reading fun! They can also prepare children for the more technical elements of reading aloud, like speaking in a clear, audible tone. They can achieve this by often reading aloud with their children and with enthusiasm. The positive reaction will rub off on their children who will exhibit the same energy in kindergarten. -- Of course, parents cannot be expected to be perfect, and neither can children. They can only do their best to enter society as positive participants! But if you follow the advice above, as well as giving them an academic head-start with JEI programs, your children will feel more ready for the exciting adventure that is kindergarten and beyond! To further develop your child’s education and EQ, find a center near you!