Teach Your Child Personal Development

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Updated on Jul 17, 2009

Personal development is a multi-billion dollar industry, and one thing participants hear over and over again – whether attending seminars, or buying self-help books– is, “These are the skills you were never taught in school!”

True, teaching children how think positively and achieve more in life just never seems to fit into the curriculum alongside reading, writing and arithmetic (not to mention history, geography and science).

But parents can help teach these skills at home, and we're not talking about just getting them to study. Here are some guidelines for giving your child the tools and strategies to develop a genius mindset, and achieve more in the classroom and beyond.

See It

Visualization is a very effective technique used by professional athletes and other top performers. Picturing what you want to achieve before you do it preps you to actually accomplish it, because our brains can’t tell the difference between vivid imagination and reality. Since our kids have such amazing imaginations, they’re at the perfect age to use this technique.

Author and life coach Terri Levine says, “When children are able to visualize, they are able to learn better as well as fully comprehend subject matter. When a child can see and imagine possibilities they can create solutions.”

Your child can visualize doing well on a test, or imagine pictures that help her remember the answers. Levine has several strategies that will help:

  1. Tell your child a short story, and then ask him what he sees in his head. What does the character or the scene look like?
  2. Describe a made-up animal or a vacation spot, and ask your child what it looks like to him.
  3. Pick a new word, and encourage your child to picture something that will help him remember it.
  4. Have your child visualize math answers coming easily, and showing up on the page – often children with poor math skills end up doing better just from this tip.

Say It

Affirmations are positive statements we say to ourselves, and can have amazing results. Adults often struggle with not believing the words, but kids haven’t established as many limiting beliefs, and their brains are more receptive to new ideas.

Leah Davies, M.Ed., former teacher and creator of the Kelly Bear learning materials for kids, says, “Affirmations serve to encourage children to be the best that they can be. For example, ‘I do not give up; I keep trying,’ or ‘I am unique, one of a kind.’ Parents can help their child through discussion and by example to use ‘self-talk’ when needed. The result is increased self-awareness, and a happier, well-adjusted child, both at home and at school.”

Feel It

Both visualization and affirmations work better when coupled with an appropriate emotion. “As a child reads, for example, if they feel the words and images they can determine if what they are reading makes sense. This learning strategy helps them make important connections to the material they are learning,” Levine says.

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