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Tips to dealing with exam weeks

It’s officially exam time for Year 12s across WA this week; here are some simple, straight-forward tips to dealing with exam weeks – good luck! Sleep It is the most important study tool a student has. Sleep refreshes the brain and enables it to process all of the information – routine sleep/waking times are optimal. Keep running Exercising boosts the brain’s oxygen levels and hence capabilities to store information. Regular exercise also gives exam students an opportunity to release stress and anxiety, clear their mind and rejuvenate with more energy. Change your ways With the majority of study already done (hopefully!) it is time to review and compile information ahead of the exam. Try different techniques to retain information (group Click here to continue reading.

Boys can suffer eating disorders too

Realising your son has an eating disorder can be traumatic and confronting for parents – how long has it been happening? What is it doing to his body? How can we get help? For many years eating disorders were thought of as a “female disease” despite men and boys suffering them – many silently and unbeknown to family and friends. However, recent research has debunked the previously held “female disease” myth and revealed boys and men also suffer from eating disorders – with figures showing the number of males suffering disorders doubled from 1995 to 2005. (Hay et al, 2008). Boys are just as likely to gain weight as to lose it when suffering from an eating disorder. From anorexia Click here to continue reading.

Building blocks of learning start in infancy

Parents can start the building blocks of learning for infants and toddlers through reading, learning-based play and engaging conversations. The human brain develops most rapidly in the first five years of life and research has established the impact reading to toddlers and infants has on their later academic achievements, conveying a literacy-rich environment from an early age enables children to build their literacy skills more readily. New research from New York University has further established strong links between engaging, quality play, talking with infants and toddlers and academic achievement in primary school years. The team found infants and toddlers who were provided with appropriate learning opportunities, through books, educational toys, learning activities and meaningful conversations were more likely to develop Click here to continue reading.

Why kids need risk, fear and excitement in play

“Be careful!” “Not so high!” “Stop that!” Concerned parents can often be heard urging safety when children are at play. Recent research suggests this may be over-protective and that kids need more opportunities for risky play outdoors. Risky play is thrilling and exciting play where children test their boundaries and flirt with uncertainty. They climb trees, build forts, roam the neighbourhood with friends or play capture the flag. Research shows such play is associated with increased physical activity, social skills, risk management skills, resilience and self-confidence. These findings make intuitive sense when you watch children at play. Importantly, it’s not up to parents or experts to decide what is risky play for a particular child. Rather, children need to be Click here to continue reading.

Risk taking teens learning their world

Taking risks as a teenager is part of everyday life – challenging boundaries, testing out new ways of expressing themselves and being part of the world around them. Common scientific thought puts risk taking in adolescence down to the slow development of the prefrontal cortex of the brain which effects impulse control and decision making, making teens more prone to risky behaviours because of their developmental phase. However, University of Pennsylvania researchers have challenged the reasoning behind the theory, saying evidence from an extensive review of neuroscientific research has found the behaviours which look like teen impulsivity and risk taking on the surface are actually more likely to be behaviours expressed by teens trying to find out about their world. Click here to continue reading.

Primary school parent involvement

The phrase “parent involvement” in children’s learning may conjure images of parents in the classroom eagerly helping children to make Easter baskets or complete their readers. These are typical examples of parent involvement in preschools. But how is involvement fostered in the primary school years? Parental involvement in children’s learning is beneficial. Research shows it leads to better educational, social, and emotional outcomes for children. In addition, a report from the Australian Research Alliance for Children & Youth (ARACY) has found parental involvement contributes to overall student positive attainment, behaviour and attendance at school. However, as children grow up, the ways in which parents can be involved in their learning changes. While it is acknowledged that employment-related demands limit parents’ Click here to continue reading.

Students and parents learning at high school

There are four people central to secondary school students’ learning and achievement: the student, the parent (or carer), the teacher, and the peers. Without question, the most influential of these is the student themselves. It is the student who must engage in class, do homework, complete assignments, study, and sit exams. My research shows the next two most influential people are parents and teachers. While I have previously discussed the role of teachers, there is also much to be said regarding the role of parents and parenting. Parents influence secondary school outcomes in numerous ways, including providing or arranging for help, encouraging the child, valuing effort and education, and creating a home environment conducive to study. Parenting style During secondary Click here to continue reading.

Digital balance needs a realistic rethink

The hot topic on most parents’ minds these days is finding the digital balance for their kids. No matter what age their children are – from toddlers to teens – parents continue to grapple with finding a healthy balance between screens and switching off. Researchers from the Royal Children’s Hospital Melbourne have called on the government to update national guidelines for child screen usage, with new research from the Australian Child Health Poll finding current guidelines do not equate to usage needs of children and the changing face of digital technologies. Research lead author and pediatrician Dr Anthea Rhodes said guidelines for screen use in children were last updated in 2014 and new recommendations may help parents set realistic rules Click here to continue reading.

Bullying hits academic achievement of boys

Bullying among young students in Australian primary schools is having damaging effects on their academic performance, according to new research from the Murdoch Children’s Institute. The institute’s latest research has found one third of boys aged 8-9 years are experiencing bullying on a weekly basis at school. In comparison, one quarter of girls the same age are also victims of frequent bullying. Researchers used unique methods in their research, looking at child-reported bullying and using NAPLAN results as markers for academic achievement. MCRI’s Dr Lisa Mundy said bullying was most common during primary school as children entered the “juvenile phase of development” prior to puberty. “This is the stage where peers become more important to kids and they start to Click here to continue reading.

Spotafriend – social media “friend” app or more?

There is an app for everything – including those targeted at teens to make ‘friends’ at the swipe of a button, track peoples movements and communicate anonymously. Parents struggle to learn about these constantly evolving and new apps and how to monitor their teens’ use of them. Kik, Yellow, Spotafriend, WebKinz, Snapchat, Omegle, Yik Yak, Burn Note, Instagram, Line – the list of apps teens are using to communicate with friends and the wider world online is seemingly endless and always changing depending on peer use, media coverage, parental knowledge and app capabilities. The key concern is how teens as young as 12 years of age are engaging with strangers online. Without the correct controls set on the apps they Click here to continue reading.