How stress affects
Good stress (eustress) helps learning by motivating problem solving. For your child to experience eustress, stress has to be occasional or intermittent.
There must be enough rest between challenges. Your
child has to feel the ability to overcome the problem and that he is
still in control.
Bad stress (distress) is when your child feels that he/she has a problem he/she doesn’t want, can’t find answers to, loses control over circumstances or stress periods are protracted and constant.
Bad stress increases and prolongs cortisol release and can damage neurons in the hippocampus.
The hippocampus is responsible for emotions and memory in learning.
"I have learned that inspiration does not come like a bolt, nor is it kinetic, energetic but it comes to us slowly and quietly and all the time.
We must regularly strive and daily give it a little chance to start flowing and prime it with a little solitude and idleness." Brenda Ueland, author
Be a role model. If you are enthusiastic
|Too much cortisol
is also associated with
reduced immunity and tense muscles resulting in headaches. All these
will negatively affect learning.
Stress can come in different forms parental and peer pressure, violence (family violence or school bullies) and poor support. Babies can experience stress too.
Leaving a baby to cry it out increases stress levels. Not providing enough stimulation such as touching and a sense of security will affect the connectivity of a baby’s brain, affect learning.
What you need to know to help your child
Share the responsibility of supporting and motivating your child. Studies suggest that peer or school environment is as or more powerful an influence on your child’s learning. Work closely with your child’s teachers, encourage mentoring and guide your child’s friendships.
Increase their sense of safety at school and in the home. Encourage them to talk about their feelings such as fears, worries, hopes.
Kids parents on
the potter wheel
Make your child
feel accepted, at home and at school. Perceived increase in social
status in school can have a very positive impact on learning.
Allow outlets for stress such as writing journals, dance, art and crafts.
Give your child lots of reassurance, encouragement and constructive feedback.
Hold, cuddle and comfort your infants to increase a sense of security and to reduce stress and encourage mental development.
How to motivate your child using brain-based learning principles.
Many parents offer rewards or carrots for good behaviour or performance. This is a well accepted method made popular by a branch of study called behaviourism.
Brain-based learning theorists suggest that parents consider other ways when motivating their child to learn. Providing rewards may work to a certain extent, but may fail to encourage the child to learn because she wants to and may result in stereotypical, low risk and low creativity behaviour.
It may also create a dependency on rewards, whereby in the absence of
a tangible reward, the child may be unwilling to learn or perform.
Do not belittle their choice of subject for curiosity, e.g. Hollywood celebrities, aliens. The process of learning and finding information is more important than the content.
A teenager may value peer acceptance, autonomy and independence. By understanding your
child’s needs, and meeting them, you would have a much easier time
motivating them to learn.
Meet your child’s needs.
Know what is important to your child at his
age. For example, your four- to six-year-old child would need a lot of
security, acceptance and predictability.
Let your child feel that he has a choice and some control over his learning. This will help him feel valued and empowered. For example, ask your child would you like to learn Maths or English now?
Support and encourage
Support your child even if you are not too interested in the subject
yourself. Do not belittle their choice of subject for curiosity, e.g.
Hollywood celebrities, aliens. The process of learning and finding
information is more important than the content.
Be a role model. If you are enthusiastic
motivators aim to help your child learn by making him feel that he is
learning because he wants to. This is thought to be more life long and
Acknowledgment of information source: Nurturing the thinking child – a guide to brain-based learning: Stress and motivation in learning". Sunday May 7, 2006 Star. Advertorial is courtesy of Dumex (Malaysia) Sdn Bhd 1 Jalan 205, 46050 Petaling Jaya, Selangor.
Let your child feel that they have a choice and some control over their learning. This will help them feel valued and empowered.
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