Do you have children? Would you like to give them more fun in studying? Do you want to help them in ace-ing their tests at school? If so, you should definitely continue reading, as there are amazing things your child can learn from you! After reading this article, you will be a personal mind-mapping coach for your child.
Most people know about mind-mapping already. Do you use it yourself as well? I am sure most people use or have used the technique in one form or the other. The reason it works so well is because it makes use of both sides of your brain, taking the slightly more analytical left side and using words and relationships. It also benefits from the slightly more creative or colourful right side, using images and colours.
For adults this does wonders: We normally tend to use more of the ‘left’ side of our brains, using more words than images, more relationships than colours. Children, on the other hand, tend to work the other way around. For young children who have not been exposed to the adult way of thinking, drawing pictures still comes as natural. This is very important when you want to teach them mind-mapping.
I have to correct myself immediately when I write “teach them”, as we should not teach them mind-mapping: the moment we do that, we will only try to impose our rules and limitations onto their way of thinking. I believe we should help them explore this whole brain thinking on their own. The moment children learn mind-mapping or visual mapping techniques, they will have an advantage over the people who aren’t using these tools. They will be able to summarize books more quickly, create better notes, outline ideas and stories much more easily, etc. In short, their time in school becomes a lot more fun! They will enjoy studying and get better grades.
You are a coach, not a teacher. You are there to assist your child in finding out about different ways to outline ideas, thoughts and books, so don’t judge. Don’t impose ideas. Let them see where this journey will take them.
Great, now we have that out of our way, we can begin.
First, you make sure your child gets a big sheet of paper and a couple of different pens. You only tell your child that the next exercise is something they should be drawing; they can be as creative as possible.
Take a piece from one of their school books, or tell a story, making sure you use enough image words (words that are easily transformed into pictures). Image words could be those such as “tree”, “house”, “car”, or “power plant” no, I am just kidding… although, your child could probably create a really cool picture of that!).
While you tell the story or read from the book, let your child draw.
After you are done, and your child is done drawing, you ask them to tell the story again using their drawing. Can they do that? Is their story about the same as the one you told? If so, you and your child did a wonderful job. If not, what caused the difference? Were the images not powerful enough? Or perhaps did you not use enough image words? Investigate together.
When your child knows how to do this, you can even go one step further. Take a new sheet of paper, and divide it in a couple of areas (the same number as you have topics in your story). The process starts all over again. You talk, your child draws. Just make sure that each topic is drawn in a single section. You then ask your child to recall the story using the drawing, and give them a pen to draw a line from one part of the story to the other. This is your branch!
If there are parts in your story that you could add more sub branches to, ask your child to add more (small) images with even more pictures. In the end, your child creates something that is almost a real mind map (perhaps even better than any mind map you ever created before!). For the real overachieving parent, you can do one more thing: after you created the map, give your child a new piece of paper and let them re-create the entire map from memory. You can of course give hints about what to add when they are lost—you might be amazed how wonderful their memory is!
The final step is that you step away from your child, and you let them go through a book and create the images and story themselves.
This is the moment your child knows how to outline their ideas, thoughts, books, and much more in a visual map, without your assistance! The maps may not be what traditional mind mappers feel is right, but the map helps them achieve their goal and enjoy studying again.
Don’t worry if your child doesn’t create a perfect map—it isn’t about perfect maps, remember? This is all about your child handling information in a smarter, more efficient manner, and with more fun. The entire process of your child being able to do that depends on their age, interest in the topics, and perhaps even if it is wonderful weather outside. What I can say is that you usually can expect results quickly. Children love to draw, and this is completely in line with their way of thinking.
From now on, make sure you help your child when they are stuck or need motivation.
Action point 1: Be a supportive coach, not a parent who says what is right and wrong.
Action point 2: Use the step-by-step outline above to teach your child mind mapping.
Action point 3: Just sit back and smile when your child shows you their work (not much action, but a great feeling!)
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