by Kaitlin Lloyd, Flying Start Tuition, Berkhamsted

Have you ever been baffled by homework taking your child half an hour one week and then three hours the next, even when the topic and difficulty are similar? How your child is feeling, physically and emotionally, has a huge impact on the efficacy of their study time. Tiredness, hunger and frustration all affect learning and can make a short task seem endless – for you and your child! 

The right mindset is fundamental to effective and enjoyable learning. By gaining awareness of their mindset and developing strategies to better manage it, your child can take control of their learning, boosting their confidence, motivation and ambition. They will feel like they have superpowers! Read on to discover our secret formula to supercharge learning. 

The importance of mindset 

Numerous studies have examined the link between stress and memory formation and uncovered major implications for children’s learning. For instance, a 2016 study found that moderate stress, like that children might experience around an exam, may result in poor memory formation and therefore limited information retrieval, leading to an exam performance that is not truly representative of a child’s ability. In other words, learning when moderately to intensely stressed may ultimately be of little benefit. 

However, there is a fine balance. A little stress, such as children may feel when encountering a new (but not overwhelming) challenge, can actually strengthen memory formation and improve long-term information retrieval.

How can this balance be achieved? One important aspect is minimising unhelpful stress as much as possible and below we look at how to do this. Another is fostering a growth mindset. 

What is a growth mindset? 

A growth mindset is the belief that our abilities can be improved. It contrasts with a fixed mindset, where a person believes that they are either able or unable to do something, and this will not change. Someone with a growth mindset understands that they will encounter challenging things, but that by persevering they will develop the abilities needed to tackle these challenges successfully. 

Thus, having a growth mindset disperses the negative stress that can be associated with a challenge. In an educational context, it is the difference between finding a challenge overwhelming, and therefore too stressful to be beneficial to learning, and engaging – lightly stressful in a way that strengthens memory formation, and therefore aids learning. 

You can learn more about developing a growth mindset in our blog article.

Minimising unhelpful stress

To optimise learning, stress additional to the helpful amount induced by a challenge must be avoided. Trying to work when tired, hungry or thirsty will be distracting for your child and make the process unnecessarily difficult, increasing stress levels to a detrimental degree. Other ways to prevent excessive stress include:

  • Having a quiet space to work without interruption or background noise
  • Maintaining an organised and equipped workspace 
  • Storing books in one place 
  • Taking time after school to unwind before beginning homework 
  • Balancing study time with downtime and rest 
  • Creating a schedule that works for your child 
  • Keeping consistent bedtimes to ensure optimum sleep 

Strategies to supercharge learning 

When your child’s mindset is optimal, their learning will be vastly more effective. Additionally, your child can supercharge their learning with strategies designed to further boost their self-confidence, self-belief and resilience. In our 11+ Superpowers® course, we teach students how to overcome self-doubt, combat exam stress and conquer negative self-talk so that they feel ready to tackle any challenge! 

We want as many children as possible to have access to this important course, which is why we are offering Chiltern Chatter readers a discount of 50% off the full price when they register their interest using this code: CCSuperpowers. Register here to receive your discount voucher!

For further information about Flying Start Tuition, contact:
t: 01494 772 898