As the holiday season approaches (well, the school holidays are already here but the adults are still earning their keep with their more-than-9-to-5 lifestyle), it’s not unusual for stress levels to rise. Whether you’re going away for the holidays or staying at home with the family (and possibly extended family), there’s opportunities for tempers to flare, tantrums to be thrown, and arguments to ensue. When it comes to keeping everyone happy, it may be prudent to pre-empt the disagreements:
1. Tips for parents
- Watch fewer commercials! (other tips are also available at Rules of Parenting)
- Trying to get a bit of breathing space? Use a timer with your children.
- One of the top 7 tips from Beyond Supernanny is lowering your expectations.
- Being flexible with schedules is another good tip from Psychology Today.
- You can also organize a family activity, perhaps something you all want to do.
- Instill creativity and resourcefulness by making your own gifts. It keeps everyone occupied and not in each other’s hair!
- Getting into the spirit of giving (back) helps everyone focus on what’s important.
- Negotiating other family members can be difficult too: Communication is key.
2. Tips for children
- With holiday time being also time to revise study material, it’s good to know the best ways to do this. Top tips include giving oneself a quiz, having study goals, leaving you room to rest and engage in other fun activities, finding a good place and good buddies to study at and with.
- Research also suggests that we remember information best if we process it in depth not superficially. This and other tips are described and explained here.
- Self-testing and distributing the studying over time are more effective than underlining and re-reading textbook materials: Scientific American explains why.
- Summarizing material also isn’t the best way to study; but rephrasing study material and explaining things in one’s own words is (Washington Post).
3. Tips for grandparents
- There’s much research to indicate that engaging in mentally challenging activities has a protective role against dementia. The growth of new neural connections which result from cognitively demanding tasks such as mastering a new language, musical instrument, dance, or skill, are helpful in building cognitive reserves, which not only lowers the risk of Alzheimer’s dementia (AD) but reduces the effects of brain changes relating to AD (Stern, 2012).
- But puzzles may not be challenging enough: It’s about doing something “unfamiliar” and not “inside your comfort zone” (“Learning new skill beats puzzles for boosting seniors’ memory“, CBS, 21 Oct 2013; APS, 31 Oct 2013).
- Lifelong learning is one strategy used to build cognitive reserves.
- Learning programmes which teach seniors new technology like Skype and social media at the Council of the Third Age not only allow learning to take place; the programmes enable seniors to keep engaged and in contact with their families.
- A Graduate Diploma and Master in Gerontology is available at SIM University for the brave. Their next intake is in July 2014.
- But if going back to school is not for you, it might be for your grandchildren. Temasek Polytechnic offers the Diploma in Gerontological Management Studies. Their academic year starts late April 2014.