5 Non-Typical Learning Hacks to Engage Your Child Through the Holiday Season

Welcoming Diwali
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It is that time of the year where everybody is anticipating long weekends and shorter workdays. Slowly but surely, buildings around the country are setting up lights and diyas to hint at the upcoming excitement. Neighbours and relatives drop by with sweets and snacks every morning, accelerating all renovation activities.

The whole country has been in the festival mode for more than a month and once Diwali is over, Christmas and New Year are around the corner to keep the celebrations going. While this is all fun and festive, it is also a dreaded time for parents who have to make sure their children have some amount of facetime in front of their books.

Want your children to learn while also having fun? Read on to find out our top tips to engage children with their learning resources through the long holiday season.

1. Fix a schedule –

Entrust your child with a firm and compulsory schedule. Make sure they spend a fixed amount of time in front of their books and learning resources based on their attention span. Keep the schedule brief – it is unfair to expect them to sit for longer than 5 hours when everybody else is emulating the festival season. For instance, you can encourage your child to spend 2-3 hours revising and learning. It also helps if you encourage them to make their own plan of actions for the day.

2. Stock up on worksheets and question banks –

Student sitting cross-legged and doing rough work on a piece of paper supporting it on a register.
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Engage your child productively with worksheets and question banks. If they find it difficult to sit and revise with all that’s going on around them, allow them to use this time to practise and test their knowledge.

3. Involve them in the festival prep work –

Most households in the country are doing DIY projects at home to make ornaments and decorations for the festival. This is time you can use to enlist your child’s imagination! It also helps children improve their focus, refine their fine motor skills and it also gives them an outlet to relax while also learning something new!

4. Give them a designated space to work out of-

Please do not disturb sign on door knob
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This may be a fairly huge challenge since households get busy with tonnes of people and activities. If you don’t encourage your child to maintain their learning routine, it becomes easier to cement them in a permanent festival mood. Give them a designated space and request the other members of your house to not enter that area during their study time. 

5. Be flexible with what they’re learning –

It can be daunting for children to sit and study while everybody else is out there bringing in the festival season. It is not important that they sit and learn only their Maths-Science subjects. However, it is important for them to have a routine that festivals or celebrations do not easily disturb. Allow them to pick their learning material on their own. For instance, if your child wants to learn about the history and origins of festivals in India, encourage them to do that too!

The idea is not to make sure your child is constantly studying. However, it is to instil in them a keen sense of routine that becomes so entrenched that they grow not to be distracted by the various stimulating activities that are constantly a part of life in India and everywhere else.

Festivals are for fun and joy and children must experience that without having to compromise on their learning. It is also a time to show your children that festivals are also a lot of hard work along with a lot of fun. 

If you have great tips on how to engage your children with learning activities during the holidays, please share the same!

5 Useful Tips to Study Smarter, Not Longer

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Many students study for so many hours, but sometimes it doesn’t pay off as they expected. Is there any solution for this? The answer is “there is.” For decades, scientists and psychologists have been snooping on the top students and doing research on which study habits are most efficient.

Here are some tips you can apply for your future study plan.

1. Test yourself

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Your teachers use quizzes and tests to check on your progress. But you don’t want to find it out at the same time as your teacher. Better to know sooner, so you have time to correct it. Check for yourself before your teachers do. Try to quiz yourself the way the teacher asks questions. Figure out what stuff you don’t quite understand before the test. And check your work for accuracy before you turn it in.

2. Mix it up

In many cases, it helps to mix up your self-studying. Don’t just focus on one thing. Drill yourself on different concepts. Psychologists call this interleaving. Actually, your tests usually will have questions mixed up. More importantly, interleaving can help you learn better. If you practice one concept over and over, your attention decreases because you know what’s coming up next.

Mix up your practice, and you now space the concepts apart. You can also see how concepts differ, form trends, or fit together in some other way. Studies have shown that interleaving can help students with both strong and weak working memory. Working memory lets you remember where you are in an activity, such as following a recipe.

3. Don’t just reread the materials

One of the most common bad study skills that students have is reading their textbooks, worksheets, and notebooks over and over and over again. Too often, when students reread materials, it’s superficial. Rereading is like looking at the answer to a puzzle, rather than doing it yourself.

It looks like it makes sense. But until you try it yourself, you don’t really know if you understand it. This is because you’re not processing it deeply or picking more out of it. It gives you the illusion that you know the material very well, when in fact there are gaps.

4. Use pictures

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Making information visual is useful because it forms associations between bits of information. Images are much richer in information than language, and you must think about all the associations that go into generating an image.

So, with images, you’re actually growing more connections as you learn. Images can encapsulate a lot of information in a very small amount of visual display. Yet, that’s not to say that text is not important.

The key concept here is known as “dual coding”, presenting information in written and visual formats. Consuming information in this way can boost learning.

5. Use examples

Abstract concepts can be hard to understand. It tends to be far easier to form a mental image if you have a concrete example of something. For instance, sour foods usually taste that way because they contain acid.

On its own, that concept might be hard to remember. But if you think about lemon or vinegar, it’s easier to understand and remember that acids and sour go together. And the examples might help you to identify other foods’ tastes as being due to acids.

With these tips, you can save a lot of time while studying and process the materials way more efficiently.

If you have your secret study tips as well, share them with us in the comments below!

5 Tips to Achieve What You’ve Always Wanted

Cardboard boxes
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Are you someone who aspires to achieve things but finds it difficult to take any action? Most likely you are stuck in the overthinking cycle, where you are too cautious before taking a step ahead.

Thoughts are essential, but you also need action. Taking action isn’t easy, especially if external factors affect you more than your internal drive. Zig Ziglar rightly said, “You don’t have to be great to start, but you have to start to be great”. You may get nervous and feel like procrastinating. It is okay to feel that way and you cannot do much about it.

But once you start acting, this feeling can automatically convert to that of adrenaline. For example, do you remember when you plan to go jogging early in the morning, but you just find it difficult to get out of bed? Once you are out of bed and running, you begin to feel the runner’s high. The same goes for any other action. The mood will follow the action.

So here are some tips to get you going:

1. Deliver on your promises

Quite often we promise ourselves or those around us that we will do something. But over a period of time if we don’t see immediate results, we get less enthusiastic. Don’t let that happen. Deliver on your promises in terms of the efforts you put in, irrespective of the final result.

2. Show up

Hand to the elbow holding a grey bag
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The biggest indicator of a winning attitude is showing up no matter how you feel. This attitude should be a core value to you. For example, there might be days when you don’t feel like attending your regular classes. Do it anyhow. It may happen that you are not focused during the class. But make sure you write down the notes so that you can go back and study on your own.

3. Put things into perspective

Most of the time overthinking makes you exaggerate things and circumstances in your mind. So instead of worrying about everything, categorize them based on whether they really matter to you in the long term. For example, if you score less in a school exam, don’t feel disheartened. Don’t give up just yet. Think from the long term perspective. If you were considering the next 5 years, would your scores matter more or your learning?

4. Stop waiting for perfection

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We grow up in a society where we worship perfection. It doesn’t have to be the best or nothing at all. Things are not black and white. So, stop waiting for the day when you are perfect. Instead, start to get better at doing something while you’re doing it. The only thing that matters is how better you are today as compared to yesterday.

For example, most of us fear solving past year papers because we are scared that we are not fully prepared for them. That day of perfection might never occur. That doesn’t mean you should give up on solving those papers. In fact, the learnings you get from those papers will help you in scoring better at the exams. The mistakes you commit will help you avoid them in the future.

5. Put a timer to work

Hard work is not bad, but it has to be time-bound. Without any timeline, you may end up spending more time on something where it was not required and less time on something where it was required. So, plan your day in the morning or the previous night and try to stick to the plan as far as possible.

Even if you can follow just 50% of it, you will still be better off than without a plan. If you find yourself losing focus or overthink while studying, write down your thoughts on a piece of paper, set aside 5-10 minutes just for thinking and think only during that time. This will allow your mind to fully focus on the task at hand and finish it within time.

Of course, you’ve got to know what you are doing and you’ve got to plan. But you’ve got to also do it. So get into action, and results will follow! What are you waiting for?

If you found these tips useful please do let us know in the comments below.

Science Isn’t Just For Nerds Anymore!

Science is part of every aspect of our lives, whether we realize it or not. However, no matter how hard our teachers try, our school textbooks simply are unsuccessful in developing our interest in it. Certainly, studying science is part of our curriculum, but what if there was a way to enjoy studying it?

Here are some hacks that will make science more interesting to you.

Kid experimenting with circuit board
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1. Focus on the problem solving:

Science, just like other subjects, may seem boring if you focus only on the theory. The real beauty of science lies in its application. So, focus more on solving problems that can help you understand science better.

For example, instead of just reading theory about projectile motion, try to solve a real-world problem that needs you to calculate the distance a ball will travel when thrown horizontally with a certain speed.

2. Find science camps and workshops:

Science camps are great ways for you to explore science while interacting with other children. These camps provide hands-on learning opportunities by involving you in extracurricular activities and experiments.

During the pandemic, camps might not be conducted offline, but there are a lot of programs that take place virtually. Just look up ‘kids science camps’ on the internet or event listing pages and you will be able to find some good ones.

3. Follow science channels:

What better way to cultivate an interest in science than by exploring interesting facts and staying updated on the latest developments? You can find plenty of online resources for free. Based on your interest you can choose to follow the technical ones or even the ones for the general public. You can check out some of the below links for reference:
– Veritasium on YouTube
– TedEd on YouTube

4. Form a study group:

Science is more fun when you have a group of like-minded people. Form a small study group with friends who share an interest in science. You can make it fun by deciding a weekly topic and having a discussion on it on the weekends.

Another way is to find some good science-related documentaries and watch them together. At the end of it, you can discuss the learnings you had or what fascinated you about it.
5. Take a hike:

Just go for a walk-in nature with your friends or family. If you have an interest in nature or biology, actively observing habitats, geology, and more can provide valuable knowledge. It is a great way to have fun while learning science.

You can also note down your observations in a journal. If you are on the creative side, you can also take some pictures or even draw them. Engaging in this interactive form of learning will undoubtedly benefit you in the long run.

Science is a subject that doesn’t always come easy, but it can be fun if you approach it in interesting ways as shared above. Are you using textbooks as your only source of study? What are some innovative ways you use while studying science? Let us know in the comments below.

A Power Nap Can Actually Boost Your Productivity

On a long stressful day, what’s a better way to recharge than to take a quick power nap? Despite its known benefits, most of us feel guilty about adopting this unique productivity tool. However, even famous people like Einstein, Winston Churchill, JFK, and Leonardo da Vinci were all fans of the afternoon brain shut down.

So obviously it must not be a completely bad thing, right? In this article, we will cover the top benefits and some tips that can help you make the best out of this productivity practice.

cat taking a nap
Take a power nap
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Benefits of Power Napping:

1. Reduces sleepiness:

It might not be possible for all of us to get a continuous 8–9 hours of sleep every day. A lot of times even if we do manage to get that sleep, we do not feel that refreshed in the morning. A quick power nap can help you overcome this energy downfall and rejuvenate you for the day ahead.

2. Improves memory and cognition:

Research shows that an afternoon nap can help you feel more rested and alert. Longer naps can also help in improving your memory and cognition. So, for example, if you are thinking of really stretching your day just before exams, that might not be useful for you. When you feel really tired and drowsy during the afternoon, taking a short nap might benefit you more.

3. Regulates emotions:

Remember feeling cranky due to lack of sleep and having a lot of tasks at hand? A quick power nap does a better job in this situation rather than having coffee. Having coffee or anything that can instantly boost your energy might actually worsen your mood. So don’t hesitate to invest those 10–20 minutes at least in order to feel better.

Power Napping Tips:

1. Nap at the right time and for the right duration:

For most people, the duration of 10–20 minutes works the best, typically known as the power nap. The reasoning lies in the sleep cycle. The more you increase the duration the worse you will feel after waking up from the nap. This is because they may wake up from a deeper stage of sleep, which occurs later in the cycle, and feel fuzzy-headed.

Also, try to take a nap in the early afternoon. Research shows a nap taken any time between 1:00 pm to 4:00 PM will coincide with one of the energy dips you feel throughout the day. Thus, it will not have a negative impact on your overall sleep cycle and you will maintain a fine balance of your sleep cycles.

2. You don’t need to fall asleep:

For a lot of people falling asleep doesn’t happen in the flip of a moment. It might take up to 14 minutes or even more to actually fall asleep. So don’t worry about it.

What actually matters is that you close your eyes and let your body and mind relax. Also napping is a skill you will be able to develop over a period of time as and how you practice.

3. Find the right place:

The quality of sleep or nap also depends on how comfortable you are in the sleeping position. So, it matters where you are sleeping and what your body posture is while sleeping.

Choose a place that has minimal noise and more comfort. You need not always be in bed to take a nap. A comfortable chair or just lying down on the desk can do an equally good job.

For most people sleeping adequately and taking rest when required helps them feel better and improve their productivity. Instead of avoiding napping altogether, doing it with certain things in mind can help you get the most out of it.

Are you a napper or a non-napper? Do let us know in the comments below!


5 Easy and Great Tips To Boost Your Brain Power

The human brain is probably the most mysterious organ in our body. Did you know that contrary to popular belief human intelligence can be developed over a period of time through conscious training?

So, the next time you feel you are not smart enough to understand a particular subject, just remember to implement one of the tips we have covered for you in this article.

1. Mental stimulation:

Human intelligence is not determined at birth. It is largely dependent on the environment you are brought up in and the effort you put in. Simply speaking it will only develop as much as you stimulate your brain. The lesser load it has the lower will become its ability to do difficult functions. The higher the stimulation the better the synapses will fire thus making you more intelligent.

A simple way to do so is to play number games such as kakuro or sudoku. You can easily get them on your phones free of charge and playing them even 2-3 times a week can prove very beneficial. You will start noticing the changes and feel much more confident especially in terms of your mathematical and logical aptitude.

Man solving sudoku
Sudoku is a simple yet great way to stimulate your brain.
Image by Fred Lehmann from Pixabay

2. Improve your diet:

Your brain is just like other organs and needs a sufficient supply of nutrients to keep it functioning and healthy. Your food intake should be rich in nutrients such as vitamins and healthy fats. You can achieve this by eating superfoods such as fish, nuts, and vitamin and antioxidant-rich fruits and vegetables.

Also, keep yourself hydrated especially during those marathon study sessions or even while you are attempting your exam papers. This is because our brain consists of 80% of water, and hence even a 2% dehydration can seriously impact its functioning ability.

Jar of water with lemon rings floating on top
Keep yourself hydrated to get the maximum brain function.
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3. Get the right amount of sleep:

The adverse impact of insufficient sleep on our productivity is very well experienced by most of us. Worrying about exams may lead to even further loss of sleep. Of course, it is difficult not to worry about the exams and trying hard not to worry might stress you out even more.

So, the perfect way out of this is to regulate your sleep cycle right from the beginning of your preparation. Once your body clock is set, you will find it much easier to avoid lack of sleep and also increase your productivity during your waking hours.

4. Physical exercise:

They say all work and no play makes Jack a dull boy. It’s true. Physical exercise not only helps our body stay fit but also improves blood circulation thus uplifting our mood. So don’t think that the 30 minutes to 1 hour that you invest in physical activities is a waste of time.

It is actually a disguised way of strengthening your brainpower even further. If you find it difficult to do a proper workout session, try to at least go for a brisk walk at the start or end of each day. You may also try 5-10 minute stretching exercises to keep your body active on a daily basis.

Physical activity matters for your brainpower.
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5. Reduce your screen time:

In this fully digital world and especially during the lockdown, it is indeed very difficult to get off of our screens. Increased screen time not only impacts our eyes but also our mental health and productivity.

This is because our mind does not really have to think a lot while consuming all the online content. On top of that, it is addictive by design. So, start measuring and controlling your screen time and boost your brainpower.

Have you tried consciously exercising to develop your brain? Do share your experience with us in the comments below.