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How to Teach Your Children Mind-Mapping

How to Teach Your Children Mind-Mapping

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.

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This Is Your Coaching Outline

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!).

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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 lostyou might be amazed how wonderful their memory is!

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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.

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Action Points

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!)

Enjoy!

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Last Updated on September 28, 2020

The Pros and Cons of Working from Home

The Pros and Cons of Working from Home

At the start of the year, if you had asked anyone if they could do their work from home, many would have said no. They would have cited the need for team meetings, a place to be able to sit down and get on with their work, the camaraderie of the office, and being able to meet customers and clients face to face.

Almost ten months later, most of us have learned that we can do our work from home and in many ways, we have discovered working from home is a lot better than doing our work in a busy, bustling office environment where we are inundated with distractions and noise.

One of the things the 2020 pandemic has reminded us is we humans are incredibly adaptable. It is one of the strengths of our kind. Yet we have been unknowingly practicing this for years. When we move house we go through enormous upheaval.

When we change jobs, we not only change our work environment but we also change the surrounding people. Humans are adaptable and this adaptability gives us strength.

So, what are the pros and cons of working from home? Below I will share some things I have discovered since I made the change to being predominantly a person who works from home.

Pro #1: A More Relaxed Start to the Day

This one I love. When I had to be at a place of work in the past, I would always set my alarm to give me just enough time to make coffee, take a shower, and change. Mornings always felt like a rush.

Now, I can wake up a little later, make coffee and instead of rushing to get out of the door at a specific time, I can spend ten minutes writing in my journal, reviewing my plan for the day, and start the day in a more relaxed frame of mind.

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When you start the day in a relaxed state, you begin more positively. You find you have more clarity and more focus and you are not wasting energy worrying about whether you will be late.

Pro #2: More Quiet, Focused Time = Increased Productivity

One of the biggest difficulties of working in an office is the noise and distractions. If a colleague or boss can see you sat at your desk, you are more approachable. It is easier for them to ask you questions or engage you in meaningless conversations.

Working from home allows you to shut the door and get on with an hour or two of quiet focused work. If you close down your Slack and Email, you avoid the risk of being disturbed and it is amazing how much work you can get done.

An experiment conducted in 2012 found that working from home increased a person’s productivity by 13%, and more recent studies also find significant increases in productivity.[1]

When our productivity increases, the amount of time we need to perform our work decreases, and this means we can spend more time on activities that can bring us closer to our family and friends as well as improve our mental health.

Pro #3: More Control Over Your Day

Without bosses and colleagues watching over us all day, we have a lot more control over what we do. While some work will inevitably be more urgent than others, we still get a lot more choice about what we work on.

We also get more control over where we work. I remember when working in an office, we were given a fixed workstation. Some of these workstations were pleasant with a lot of natural sunlight, but other areas were less pleasant. It was often the luck of the draw whether we find ourselves in a good place to work or not.

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By working from home we can choose what work to work on and whether we want to face a window or not. We can get up and move to another place, and we can move from room to room. And if you have a garden, on nice days you could spend a few hours working outside.

Pro #4: You Get to Choose Your Office Environment

While many companies will provide you with a laptop or other equipment to do your work, others will give you an allowance to purchase your equipment. But with furniture such as your chair and desk, you have a lot of freedom.

I have seen a lot of amazing home working spaces with wonderful sets up—better chairs, laptop stands that make working from a laptop much more ergonomic and therefore, better for your neck.

You can also choose your wall art and the little nick-nacks on your desk or table. With all this freedom, you can create a very personal and excellent working environment that is a pleasure to work in. When you are happy doing your work, you will inevitably do better work.

Con #1: We Move a Lot Less

When we commute to a place of work, there is movement involved. Many people commute using public transport, which means walking to the bus stop or train station. Then, there is the movement at lunchtime when we go out to buy our lunch. Working in a place of work requires us to move more.

Unfortunately, working from home naturally causes us to move less and this means we are not burning as many calories as we need to.

Moving is essential to our health and if you are working from home you need to become much more aware of your movement. To ensure you are moving enough, make sure you take your lunch breaks. Get up from your desk and move. Go outside, if you can, and take a walk. And, of course, refrain from regular trips to the refrigerator.

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Con #2: Less Human Interaction

One of the nicest things about bringing a group of people together to work is the camaraderie and relationships that are built over time. Working from home takes us away from that human interaction and for many, this can cause a feeling of loss.

Humans are a social species—we need to be with other people. Without that connection, we start to feel lonely and that can lead to mental health issues.

Zoom and Microsoft Teams meeting cannot replace that interaction. Often, the interactions we get at our workplaces are spontaneous. But with video calls, there is nothing spontaneous—most of these calls are prearranged and that’s not spontaneous.

This lack of spontaneous interaction can also reduce a team’s ability to develop creative solutions—there’s just something about a group of incredibly creative people coming together in a room to thrash out ideas together that lends itself to creativity.

While video calls can be useful, they don’t match the connection between a group of people working on a solution together.

Con #3: The Cost of Buying Home Office Equipment

Not all companies are going to provide you with a nice allowance to buy expensive home office equipment. 100% remote companies such as Doist (the creators of Todoist and Twist) provide a $2,000 allowance to all their staff every two years to buy office equipment. Others are not so generous.

This can prove to be expensive for many people to create their ideal work-from-home workspace. Many people must make do with what they already have, and that could mean unsuitable chairs that damage backs and necks.

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For a future that will likely involve more flexible working arrangements, companies will need to support their staff in ways that will add additional costs to an already reduced bottom line.

Con #4: Unique Distractions

Not all people have the benefit of being able to afford childcare for young children, and this means they need to balance working and taking care of their kids.

For many parents, being able to go to a workplace gives them time away from the noise and demands of a young family, so they could get on with their work. Working from home removes this and can make doing video calls almost impossible.

To overcome this, where possible, you need to set some boundaries. I know this is not always possible, but it is something you need to try. You should do whatever you can to make sure you have some boundaries between your work life and home life.

Final Thoughts

Working from home can be hugely beneficial for many people, but it can also bring serious challenges to others.

We are moving towards a new way of working. Therefore, companies need to look at both the pros and cons of working from home and be prepared to support their staff in making this transition. It will not be impossible, but a lot of thought will need to go into it.

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Featured photo credit: Standsome Worklifestyle via unsplash.com

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