6 effective ways to help your child overcome the fear of public speaking

6 effective ways to help your child overcome the fear of public speaking

Speaking in front of others is something that your child will encounter throughout their life.  Whether it’s reading a book report to their class, interviewing for their first job, or presenting to an important client during their career, being able to speak to the public or a group of people confidently is a vital asset they will need to succeed throughout their life.  Some children are naturally outgoing, but others are shyer.  Some children find it hard to speak English. Some don’t want to make mistakes. 

As parents, of course we want to help our kids to become more confident giving presentations and participating in debates at school.  Research has shown that adults with greater annual incomes tend to do more public speaking than those who do not. The good news is, by creating a positive and encouraging atmosphere at home, we can totally instill the confidence of speaking in our children.  So here are 6 innovative ways you can help your kid overcome public speaking anxiety.

1. Get Her in The Right State of Mind

Acknowledge your child’s anxiety, and let her know that it’s perfectly normal.  “Providing accurate information about anxiety can reduce confusion or shame,” suggests a tip sheet from Anxiety BC, a non-profit that promotes anxiety awareness.  The organization suggests that it’s important to show your child that her fears are legitimate.  The empathy you demonstrate will increase the chances that your child will express her worries to you later on.


Steven Cohen, a speech instructor at Harvard Extension School, says that one of the main fears underlying public speaking is uncertainty.  People are uncertain about how their ideas will be perceived, how they’ll be judged, and the impression they’ll make.  Your child is no different. Cohen teaches his students instead to “focus on the opportunity that they have to stand in front of an audience and speak about something they care about.”  Try that with your child. Get her excited for the opportunity she has — “How often do you get to have a whole room of people listen to you?” — and help her see the joy of public speaking.  If you can redirect her focus on the opportunity, her enthusiasm will take care of the rest.

2. Do not correct every mistake

Encourage your children to speak English as much as possible by asking open ended questions and allowing them room for discussions on their topics of interests.  Avoid correcting every mistake. If you interrupt the child and current them every time they speak English, they will never learn to speak English confidently and fluently.  The knowledge and experience they get by communicating ideas full in English is what will give them confidence.

If your child asks for help, there is no harm offering them alternative ways to express what they want to say.  However, don’t pressure them or show disappointment if your child is not ready to speak yet. Everyone makes mistakes at times – that’s how we learn.  Let them know that making mistakes is a normal and important part of learning a language. If you want to correct your child, don’t correct every mistake, and never interrupt your child to correct.  Wait until they finish speaking, then say the word or the sentence correctly and encourage them to repeat. Don’t say “Not like that” or “It’s wrong”. Instead choose “Listen …” or “Let’s try again”.

3. Encourage practice speaking English in authentic, stress-free situations

Kids aren’t fearful of what they already know.  Encouraging children to talk and just put it out there, without judgments being made, is very important.  It can be intimidating or embarrassing to try to speak English, so practicing in an informal setting can help. 

Remember how children learn their first language? It is through informal conversation, not studying. If you want to help children speak English confidently, give them more opportunities to have real conversations in English.  Encourage your child to order at a foreign-owned restaurant or have a short conversation with a foreigner on the street. At dinner, ask her to share a story about her day, or help her callGrandma for a weekly phone update that will get her chatting.  These opportunities mirror authentic public speaking situations that will better prepare her for a moment in the spotlight at school or elsewhere.

4. Use fun ways to teach new English words to children

Many children are more motivated to learn English if they like English-speaking music, films, cartoons or books.  Your child might have a toy version of a favourite English-speaking cartoon character. Tell your child that this toy only understands English.  Have a conversation with the toy yourself to encourage your child to do the same in private.

Many young children learn language more easily when the learning is subtly combined with creative activities.  Think about what your child likes doing for fun and try doing these activities in English, such as singing, playing games, reading books aloud, role-playing.

Expanding your child’s vocabulary will have a positive effect on more than just your public speaking and speech writing. For more ideas to easily teach kids new English words, you can check these 7 best word games for families to play anywhere!, which will help you spend quality time with your children while helping kids enlarge their range of vocabulary

5. Let your child watch short movies in English

Let media and technology work in your favor!  Allow your children to pick out a movie they want to watch in English.  Occasionally pause the movie and ask prompting questions such as, “What do you think will happen next?” or “Why did he/she say that?”.  At the end of the movie, have them say their favorite part or least favorite part in English.  

Watching movies in English introduces children to a greater variety of vocabulary words, contexts, and phrases.  In addition, they are internalizing correct English pronunciation.  Kieran Donaghy, an English teacher who runs the site Film-English.com, encourages the use of short movies in language classrooms to invite creativity and creative thinking into English learning, without the need to think too much about things like grammar.  When children watch short movies, they’re learning through authentic input, which means they’re learning by using real English materials that weren’t actually intended to teach the language. 

Try having English movie night on the same night every week, perhaps the same night you have ‘English only’ day in your home!  If you really want to be proactive, have the winner of ‘English only’ day pick the English movie for the night! This will give your children even greater motivation to speak English.

6. Encourage your child to join drama classes

As well as being good fun, drama classes teach children improved ways of expressing themselves in front of a large audience.  Children who are usually hesitant to speak up will finally have a safe space to claim their voices. Not only do drama classes strengthen self-expression, they also train verbal and nonverbal communication to help kids thrive in social situations.  Kids will have so much fun during the collaborative creative process that they will not even notice all the learning that is going on. Their articulation, tone of speech, expression, and vocal projection will naturally improve as their self-esteem ignites. 

Drama classes are not popular in Vietnam, so students do not have many chances to access performing arts, especially if they do not come from international or other top-tier schools.  Understanding this problem, we decided to choose “Drama games” as one of the activities for Climbers Crew – an English Club organized by Everest Education. We provide free and creative spaces for students at all ages to practice conversational English in the form of interesting workshops.  Parents can totally bring your child to our Climbers Crew, to let her explore the dramatic side through learning the fundamentals of drama. If you’re keen, go to our website for the detailed agenda, and register a spot for your child.

Confidence is not something that comes overnight.  It needs to be instilled from a young age and nurtured throughout life.  Teach them when they are young so that they do not hesitate when they grow older.  Also, remember that every child learns at a different pace, so do not worry if your child is taking some time to speak English. Be patient and do not rush.



Ideas for effective reward systems to discipline your child

Ideas for effective reward systems to discipline your child

What is the best consequence to use for a particular behavior?  This is probably one of the most common questions we receive from many parents.  You may wonder which consequences to use, how to set them up effectively, and how long to give them.

We notice some parents are moving towards “gentle parenting”, where they choose not to use rewards (sticker charts, lollies, chocolates, TV time as “bribes”) and punishments (taking away “privileges”, time-out…) to encourage good behaviour for the sake of doing the right thing.  A great way to start figuring out the right consequences for your situation is to sit down during a calm moment and create a list, or “menu,” of consequences and rewards for your child. Each behavior you are worried about should have a specific consequence. 

To help you get started, we suggest some simple, but effective ideas for a reward system in place.

Why reward your kids?

Rewards can encourage your good behavior from your child.
The way you respond right after your child’s behavior makes the behavior more or less likely to happen again.  Rewards can help get your child to do more of the things you want her to do. Rewards that happen right after a behavior are best.

Rewards can help increase self-esteem.
Toddlers and preschoolers hear the words “no,”, “stop,” and “quit” many times during the day.  This is normal and one of the ways they learn right from wrong. But when children hear these things over and over, their self-esteem can begin to suffer.  They may begin to believe they cannot do anything correctly. When a child earns a reward, she knows she has done something good and something you like.

Rewards can improve your relationship with your child.
When you give a reward to your child, you and your child are both happy.  You are happy because your child has done something you like. Your child is also happy because she is getting something she likes.

Rewards are recognition for a job well done.  And while descriptive praise and attention are the most effective form of reward a parent can offer a child, tangible rewards such as an activity or a privilege have their place too.  It’s not easy to keep kids motivated. A system of rewards and consequences at home could be just the incentive your child needs. Here are ideas for putting a system in place.

Types of Rewards

There are several types of rewards. Material rewards include toys, candy, or other things that cost money. Another type of reward is a social reward. Social rewards are cheap or free and can be even more powerful than material rewards. They also can be given more often and immediately after behaviors you like.

Examples of Social Rewards:
1. Affection – includes hugs, kisses, a high five, a smile, a pat on the back, or an arm around the shoulder.

    2. Praise – Praise happens when parents say things like “Great job,” “Way to go,” or “Good boy/girl.”  However, specific (or labeled) praise tells a child exactly what behavior you liked. Examples of labeled praise are:

      • “Great job playing quietly while I was on the telephone!”
      • “You were a great helper when you put all your toys in the closet today”

    3. Attention and Activities –Extra time with you or a special activity can be a powerful reward for young children. Some examples include playing a favorite game, reading a story, and helping with dinner. Other activities like going to the movies, the zoo or libraries can also be used.

    6 steps to set up a reward chart

    1. Choose the behaviour you want to change or encourage
      When you’ve decided on the behaviour, it’s important to use clear and positive descriptions of the behaviour.  For example, ‘Pick up all the toys from your bedroom floor’ is clearer and easier for your child to understand than ‘Tidy your bedroom’.  And ‘Knock before going into other people’s rooms’ is more positive than ‘Don’t invade other people’s privacy’.
    1. Set up a chart
      You can choose from lots of different styles of charts or make one yourself.  You can also insert a drawing or photo of the reward they’re trying to earn. For some great ideas for reward charts, click here.  When you’ve decided on your chart, decide which stickers or tokens to use – star stickers work well for younger children, whereas older children might like points or other markers.  Put the chart where your child can see it. Keep in mind that your older child might prefer a spot that’s private – for example, in her bedroom rather than on the fridge.
    1. Choose short-term rewards
      Most children enjoy collecting stickers or tokens at the start.  But the novelty can wear off quite quickly, and the real reward can seem too far away.  So it’s good to choose short-term rewards that you can give often if your child earns them, like a family bike ride, special time with mom or dad, the chance to stay up late, a movie night, or a new book or small toy.
    1. Give your child the stickers straight after the behaviour
      When your child gets the sticker straight after the behaviour you want to see, it reinforces this behaviour.  Likewise, some specific praise reminds your child why he’s getting the sticker or token. For example, ‘I really like the way you and Mia have been playing and sharing toys this morning. Here’s a star for your chart’.
    1. Try to stay positive
      If your child doesn’t earn a star, it’s best to just move on.  Also try to avoid punishing your child by saying, ‘I’ll take a star away’, or ‘You won’t get any stars if you keep that up!’.  Focus on encouraging your child to try again.
    1. Measure the behaviour

    If your child has a particularly challenging behaviour, you might like to measure the behaviour before you start and while you’re using the reward chart.  For example, count how many times, or how often, your child hits. Record this when you start using the chart, then keep track of it as the days pass. This will help you tell if the reward chart is working.

    Reward charts: making them work for you

    If you make an effort to notice when your child is behaving well, you keep the focus on encouraging good behaviour.   For example, your child might be cleaning up her toys once a day.  You could try looking for two times in the day when she does cleaning, and give her stickers for those two times on the chart, so she can earn her rewards more quickly.  Remember to reward the behaviour as soon as you see it to keep your child motivated. Thinking about how much behaviour change to expect can help you and your child stay positive and realistic.  You might look for small changes to reward before working your way up to a big change.  For example, if you want your child to help more with tidying up, you could start by rewarding her for picking up the blocks.  Then it could be the blocks and the dress-ups, and so on.

    Your child might get bored with the same reward.  To avoid this, you could work together to set up a reward ‘menu’ with a choice of rewards to spend his stickers on.  For example, 5 stickers = a game with mum or extra time before lights out, 10 stickers = a trip to the park or a small toy. Your tweens, or teenagers, will outgrow formal reward charts and systems.  However, this doesn’t mean you have to get rid of reward systems altogether. Create a behavior management contract to link privileges to specific behavior. For example, link your teen’s ability to go to the movies with her friends to get her homework done on time all week.  Electronics are also another privilege that works well for many teens. Consider giving cellphone privileges each day only after their homework and chores are completed. Just make sure that you establish clear rules ahead of time so your child understands what you expect each day.

    Children, like adults, enjoy attention.  Children tend to continue a behavior that secures attention.  Behavior that does not arouse a reaction or is ignored is likely to eventually fall by the wayside.  The key to raising kids when it comes to learning positive behavior is consistency in a parent’s reactions to their choices.  Parents should be proactive and engaging, demonstrating and rewarding the behaviors they want their children to learn.



    5 Essential Steps to Help Children Cope with Stress

    5 Essential Steps to Help Children Cope with Stress

    (Translated from 5 Essential Steps to Help Children Cope with Stress by biglifejournal.com)

    Studies show that children and teens are more stressed out today than ever before.  The combined pressures of schoolwork, high-stakes exams, social life, sports or other activities, plus lots of screen time have resulted in much higher levels of anxiety and stress among young people.

    We can’t completely eliminate stress for our children.  Plus, shielding your child from the difficulties of life won’t do her any favors.  It’s far more powerful to raise a resilient child who can bounce back from hardship and challenges.  Since stress is a natural part of life, your goal is to teach your child healthy strategies for coping with stress.  You can start by following the five steps below.

    Step 1: Reframe Stress

    Help your child shift from a “stress hurts” mindset to a “stress helps” mindset. Stress can be an impetus to growth if children understand that stressful situations won’t last forever. Instead, these situations represent challenges to overcome and lessons to learn.  Cognitive neuroscientist and author Ian Robertson compares the stress response system to the immune system: It gets stronger with practice.  After a strong stress response, the brain rewires itself to remember and learn from the experience. This is how the brain prepares you to handle similarly stressful situations the next time around.

    “Children need to experience a certain amount of adversity so that both their body and mind become toughened and resilient.”

    – Ian Roberson

    Stress causes the brain to secrete a chemical called noradrenaline.  The brain can’t perform at its best with too much noradrenaline, but guess what?  Too little noradrenaline isn’t good either. Reasonably low stress levels can actually build stronger brain function, which makes humans smarter and happier, according to Robertson.  Armed with the information above, you’re ready to help your child reframe stress. Follow the steps below to get started:

    1) Adopt the “stress helps” mindset yourself.  Accept that you can’t prevent stress, that some stress is actually beneficial, and that stress can be an opportunity to grow.  If you don’t have this mindset, it will be almost impossible to teach it to your child. (Plus, reducing your own stress is vital—stress can be “contagious.” When your child senses your stress, it actually alters her physiology to automatically go into stress mode too.)

    2) Understand the reasons behind your child’s stress, rather than dismiss it.  To an adult, a child’s problems may seem trivial. But they seem big to the child, and they are causing the child genuine stress or discomfort.   

    3) Help your child reframe stress by discussing the following:

    • Stress is a natural part of life.
    • Stress comes and goes.
    • Stressful situations can be beneficial if you learn from them, take action, and seek solutions.  Provide examples from your own experiences.

    4) Guide your child to find areas of growth or lessons that can come from her latest challenge.

    • Ask your child to think of previous stressful situations. What did she learn from those experiences?
    • What strengths did she use to handle these situations?
    • What strengths can she use now?

    Once stress is viewed as an opportunity for growth, your child will develop a much healthier relationship with stress and find it easier to manage.

    Step 2: Shift from a Fixed Mindset to a Growth Mindset

    Reframing stress means that your child will need to switch from a fixed mindset to a growth mindsetStudies show that even brief growth mindset training significantly reduces stress and improves grades among teens.  In stressful situations, we often feel overwhelmed and are more likely to fall into a fixed mindset thought process: There’s nothing much we can do to change the situation, our abilities are limited to what we can do, and we might as well stop trying.

    For example, if your child is stressed about exams, she might think, “It doesn’t matter how much I study. I’ll never be able to pass these tests. It’s hopeless.”  Help your child look at the situation from a growth mindset perspective: It’s not fixed, it can be improved, and she does have the power to influence the situation.  If you hear your child say a fixed mindset statement like, “I can’t do this,” or, “I’m just not good at math,” help her find a growth mindset alternative. Encourage your child to practice growth mindset affirmations, and remind her that putting forth effort and trying different solutions will help her solve the problem and reduce her stress.  

    Of course, a mindset shift doesn’t happen overnight. Throughout this process, focus on and celebrate incremental improvement. For more tips on teaching growth mindset, visit our blog article of 3 ways parents can instill a growth mindset.

    Step 3: Stop Catastrophic Thinking

    Often, children and teenagers (and sometimes adults) respond to stress with catastrophic thinking.  “If I fail this test, my whole life is ruined!” or, “Sarah is being mean to me. No one will ever like me!”  When this occurs, start by validating your child’s emotions so she feels heard and understood. “I understand you’re feeling nervous about your algebra test.”

    Next, use the “worst case scenario exercise.”  Ask your child, “What’s the worst thing that could happen?”  If your child really does fail the test, or if Sarah keeps being mean, what’s the absolute worst thing that could happen?

    You can also ask your child how likely it is that this scenario will happen, or if any other scenarios are MORE likely to occur.  Conclude by asking, “What would you do if that did happen?” and help your child brainstorm if she struggles to come up with a solution.  Coming up with a potential solution will help your child feel more in control of her stress. Once she has a plan for the worst case scenario, she’ll also spend much less time worrying.  The purpose of this exercise is NOT to dismiss your child’s fears, but to help your child realize that the “worst thing” is probably not as catastrophic as she initially imagined.

    Step 4: Practice Problem-Solving

    Once your child has reframed stress and adopted a growth mindset, she needs to learn how to put these ideas into practice by problem-solving.  This will likely take many examples, modeling, and real-life experience before it truly takes root. A good starting point is to teach your child the following three-step process:

    • Step One: Naming and validating emotions. Ask your child to name how she’s feeling—overwhelmed, worried, anxious—and then repeat it back to her. “I understand you’re worried that you won’t do well on your exam.”
    • Step Two: Processing emotions.  Guide your child to her calming space.  If she doesn’t have one, it’s a good idea to create it.  Let her calm her body and process her emotions so she’s ready to reflect, learn, and grow.  You may have older children take deep breaths or practice some growth mindset affirmations. “I can do well on this test if I try.”
    • Step Three: Problem Solving! Brainstorm solutions with your child, doing more listening than talking during the conversation.  For instance, your child may come up with solutions such as studying with a friend who’s doing well in the class, asking the teacher for extra help, or devoting a certain amount of time to studying each day.

    Once you’ve brainstormed solutions, help your child think through the positive and negative consequences of each proposed idea, then choose one.  If the initial plan (let’s call it Plan A) doesn’t work, your child will have numerous backup plans ready and waiting. Knowing this will make her problem much less stressful.  And once she masters the art of problem-solving, she’ll have the tools she needs to tackle stressful situations on her own.

    Step 5: Use Stress-Management Techniques

    The techniques listed above will work best when your child is in a calm state of mind that’s conducive to thinking critically and logically.  You can help your child achieve this calm state using stress-management techniques. There are many strategies for managing stress, so consider trying a few of the techniques listed below to determine what works for your child:

    • Deep breathing: Breathe in deeply, hold the breath for a moment, then slowly release it. Repeat the process until your child feels calmer.
    • Stretching: This helps release built-up tension in muscles.
    • Listening to music 
    • Playing, exercising, or heading out into nature 
    • Using brain breaks when facing a tough academic challenge
    • Laughing: Laughter can be a great stress reliever. Make silly faces or tell jokes to calm your child before discussing the problem.
    • Meditation: Can be as simple as having your child close her eyes and breathe in and out. Tell your child to count each breath (a breath in and a breath out makes one single count), focusing on the sound of her breath. When she reaches at least a certain count (50, for example), your child can take a deep breath, release it slowly, and open her eyes.

    Remember that these techniques are not intended to eliminate the stress. Rather, they help your child reach a calm state of mind so she can address the source of her stress and solve the problem.


    When we view all stress as negative and unhealthy and attempt to eliminate it, we ultimately create more stress, for both ourselves and our children.  Instead, it’s best to teach our kids that stress is a natural part of life that can be managed effectively.

    Start by helping your child reframe stress, shifting from a fixed mindset and the idea that “stress hurts” to a growth mindset and the belief that “stress helps.”  Help your child learn to recognize and stop catastrophic thinking, and teach her how to identify the stressor (main problem) and then brainstorm solutions. You can also try stress-management techniques to help your child reach a calm state of mind.

    Your child can’t control how stressful situations unfold, but she can control how she responds to them.  Instead of going into meltdown mode, she’ll go into problem-solving mode, allowing her to conquer the challenge and learn valuable lessons along the way.


    Meaningful Christmas Gift Ideas Your Kids Will Love

    Meaningful Christmas Gift Ideas Your Kids Will Love

    There is nothing cuter than seeing the excitement on a child’s face while they tear into gifts early on Christmas morning, especially when you’ve picked out something that they absolutely love.  But for all that, choosing what to get your little one can be somewhat overwhelming. We rack our brains to try and think of something different, find something that’s not over-the-top, keep it fun and sneak in something practical.  It’s no easy feat. 

    To make your holiday season a bit easier, we’ve gathered a list of the best Christmas gifts for kids of all ages and interests.  Whether your children are music lovers, aspiring scientists, or budding jewelry designers, these gift ideas for kids are guaranteed to make their holiday extra special this year.

    1. Gifts of Learning & Expanding Horizons

    Educational toys are one of the best options, as they feed her brain, hungry for neural stimulation. More importantly, the impact of educational gifts lasts a lifetime.  These gifts can aid her love for learning, the most important attitude towards making your child grow up educated. A great educational gift could even trigger what may be your child’s lifelong passion.  There are a variety of gifts that match all levels of learning – and budgets – and they can be high-tech or low-tech. Here are our top picks for the best educational toys for kids:

    • Magna-Tiles: Magna-Tiles are a creative way to introduce educational topics like shapes, colors, principles of magnets, symmetry, and more.  Various sets are available with different piece counts and color options.
    • Gardening Sets: Gardening provides kids with lots of opportunities to learn about botany and ecosystems and best of all get them outside! Little kids will enjoy this gardening set, while older kids are better suited for this one.


    • Science Kits: Science can be a fascinating topic, and there are many great kits that make it easy for kids to run their own scientific experiments.  The best part about science kits is that they’re equally educational and entertaining. Since every child has different interests, it’s a good idea to select products based on age.  Some suggestions of science kits for your little scientist:

    2. Gifts of Creativity

    Do you have a young aspiring artist at home?  What better way to encourage your child’s creativity than with the gift of art!  Kids of all ages have a natural fondness for creating by drawing, painting, and crafting.  And while you can go a long way with regular paint, and paper, you can never go wrong with some more inspiration and cool tools.

    • DIY Kits: Kids will love making their own miniature house, glycerine soap, slime, or paint their own T-shirts with these kits.

    •  Arts and Crafts Supplies: While nothing can beat paints, paper, and crayons for simple art projects, children sometimes need more inspiration and props to express their creativity in the best manner possible.  One of the best things you can do as a parent to initiate a child into arts and crafts is to give them the right tools and some guidance and let them go at it. A few art and craft gifts you can present to the young artist in your life:
    • Kids Journals: Sometimes it is much easier to write down our innermost feelings than to say them out loud.  Journals can be a fun way to encourage kids to write. Give your child a special journal where just you two can write personal thoughts to each other.  Finding a fun blank book works for some kids but having a few prompts can make for a fun activity.
      >>> My first diary

    3. Gifts of Reading

    If you’ve got a little bookworm on your hands and are looking to get them a special gift to add to their personal library this holiday season, there are so many other book-related items that any young reader would be excited to receive.  No matter how old your reader is, there’s something for everyone.  

    >> Additionally, parents can find more recommendations of non-Christmas books, as well as explore some techniques to choose the right book for your child on our blog: https://blog.e2.com.vn/?s=books

    • Kid storybook torch: This toy takes reading to the next level. This interactive toy is a pleasant design and cute image-changing picture projector allows children to continuously enjoy the play of hands and fingertips, stimulating the whole brain when viewing the images.  It encourages the development of your child’s imagination through bedtime fantastic stories. Not afraid of the dark anymore!

    4. Gifts of Family time & Experiences

    If your kids already has everything she needs, an off-the-wall gift isn’t going to make her happy.  A recent article in the Atlantic discussed how research shows that experiences bring people more happiness than possessions.  Here are a few of the experiences parents can give kids during the holidays:  

    • Vacations: This doesn’t have to be abroad tours or trips outside of the city. Even just a weekend trip to an amusement park or a card to one of the libraries around the city can be a good gift for kids.  If you are living in Ho Chi Minh city, there are numerous libraries providing creative learning spaces for students and families to choose as their weekend destination. Explore top 4 libraries for families in Ho Chi Minh city here
    • Extracurricular Activities: Let’s face it, the cost of extracurricular activities can add up. If your kid has wanted to try out an extracurricular activity that stretches the budget why not give it as a gift? Relatives and parents can contribute to the cost and kids will likely appreciate these activities more if they come in the form of a gift. There are some good places in Ho Chi Minh city that provide extracurriculars for kids at young ages, such as Vietopia, Konnit zone, Tatuplay or Family garden.
    • Magic set: Kids are fascinated by magic, and this set teaches them how to do magic while learning about illusions, as well as developing confidence, social skills and self-discipline. Magic teaches kids to think from another person’s perspective and how they are feeling. If your child is a magic lover, consider getting her this set of magic props, which is perfect for children who are new to the art of magic.
    • Board Games: Create a tradition of a family game night with the gift of a few board games. Kids won’t realize that they’re actually building word knowledge, vocabulary, and reading skills with these fun board games:
      Scrabble and Scrabble Jr.: kids always have fun with these classics. The junior version is best for kids who are still learning how to spell. (Vietnamese parents can find Scrabble at boardgame.vn and tiki.vn)

      – Monopoly: Monopoly has endured as one of the best family board games of all time. Based on owning and renting property as you progress around the game board, Monopoly can help train your little one the financial mindset. (For Vietnamese parents: Buy Monopoly at boardgame.vn or tiki.vn).
      Zingo! Sight Words: Help younger kids learn their sight words with this bingo format. (For Vietnamese parents: Buy Zingo at tiki.vn or shipto.vn)

    Choosing a gift that has meaning and appeals to your child can be a challenging balancing act. We hope these suggestions can give you some ideas to make this Christmas the most memorable for your child and make her dreams come true! If you have any other tips for finding meaningful gifts for kids, let us know in the comment!




















    Why Your Kids Struggle With Math Word Problems (and how you can help)

    Why Your Kids Struggle With Math Word Problems (and how you can help)

    Have you noticed that your child’s homework contains more word math problems than ever before?  Math word problems are regarded as a vital part of the mathematics curriculum, as it enhances the student’s mental skills, helps develop logical analysis and boosts creative thinking.  Learning to solve math word problems from a young age provides the foundation students need to solve similar problems when they enter the workplace.

    However, word problems are hard.  Word problems are confusing. And our kids hate doing word problems.  Whether your child excels in math or struggles to understand mathematical concepts and formulas, math word problems are often an entirely new entity that can cause even mathematically skilled children to struggle.  Math word problems require a different skill set than standard math problems that children will need to master in order to succeed. To get the right answer, your child has to be able to read the words, figure out what math operation to use, and then do the calculations correctly.  A breakdown in any of these skills can lead to difficulty.

    If your child seems to be good at math, but has trouble with word problems, here are possible reasons why—and ways you can help.

    Why Your Kids Struggle With Math Word Problems

    Children often struggle with math word problems because they require an ability to analyze information and extract only the useful elements. Instead of being told directly what operation they need to do, they have to discover it themselves before they can even begin to figure out the solution.  Students struggle with math word problems for many reasons, but there are 3 main problems that we at Everest Education find many students have encountered:

    #Reason1: Trouble With Reading

    To solve word problems, children have to read well.  One reason your child may be struggling is because she has trouble with reading in general.  How do you know if this is a difficult area for them? Try reading a word problem to your child.  If your child gets the correct answer when you read it aloud, but not when reading the problem on their own, it could be a challenge with reading.

    #Reason2: Trouble Understanding Math Phrases and Concepts

    Even if kids are strong readers, they may have trouble picking up on clues in word problems.  These clues are phrases that help students figure out what they need to do to solve the problem.  Kids must translate these phrases into what teachers call “a number sentence.” Here’s a simple example of a word problem and its corresponding number sentence:

    • Word problem: “Sue has two pencils. She spends one hour at the store and buys three more pencils. How many pencils does Sue have in all?”
    • Number sentence: “2 + 3 = ____.”

    Some kids can picture a number sentence like this one in their heads.  Others need to write it down. Either way, there’s a lot to think about before getting to the point where you can calculate that the answer is 5.  To turn a word problem into a number sentence, kids need to understand the language and concepts of math. For example, they need to know that the phrase “How many pencils in all?” means adding together the two groups of pencils.  Some kids have a lot of trouble with this skill. That’s why a child who can easily calculate 2 + 3 = 5 might struggle with a word problem using the same calculation.

    #Reason3: Trouble With Focus and Self-Control

    Some kids can read a word problem and explain how it should be solved, but still get the wrong answer. What’s going on? One reason could be trouble with focus and self-control.  Kids may get distracted by the words or get lost in their heads.  This can lead to confusion with the math. Other kids struggle with self-control and rush through the problem.  They may skip important parts or make simple calculation mistakes. Extra information in word problems can trip kids up, too.  Some details aren’t needed to solve the problem. For example, kids don’t need to know that Sue spent one hour in the store to figure out how many pencils she has.  Kids need to learn to weed out this information.

    Help your child overcome the fear of word problems

    Math problems can be a struggle and helping kids understand them isn’t always easy.  Here we suggest parents some simple ways to help your child tackle math word problems with ease:

    1. Utilize math in everyday life
    Your child’s math homework may have a problem that involves going to the grocery store and figuring out a total bill, or baking in the kitchen following a new recipe.  Try recreating this in real life and help your child learn to use math in practical ways. You can also make a game of it and show your child that math can be fun!

    >> Find out some playful Math activities to play with your primary kids at home to enhance math learning: https://blog.e2.com.vn/playful-math-activities-for-your-primary-kids/

    2. Teach your child  a logical process
    If your child is struggling with math word problems, teach her a logical process to go through to determine what needs to be done.  These steps should be:

    • Question – Read the problem to determine what the question is.
    • Information – Determine what information you have.
    • Clue words – What words tell you the math process to use.
    • Equation – Use the information, question and clue words to write an equation.
    • Check your work – Does your answer make sense compared to the given information and the question?

    Once your child can learn to use this process on a regular basis, you will find that she has much more success with word problems.

    3. Teach your child common keywords
    Many students read a word problem and have no idea what to do with it. Yet most word problems at primary grade levels have clue words in them.  Helping your child understand which words are associated with different mathematical functions can help steer her in the right direction to find the final answer.  For instance, “and” usually indicates an addition problem, while “less than” may clue you into a subtraction problem and “product of” means you’ll need to multiply.  That’s why parents should teach your child to identify those clue words, to help ease the struggle. Here are the basic clue words:

    • Addition – Combined, increased, total of, sum, added to, together, plus
    • Subtraction – Minus, less, less than, fewer than, difference, decreased, take away, more than
    • Multiplication – Multiplied, product of, times, of
    • Division – Divided by, into, per, quotient of, percent, out of, ratio of

    Parents can make index cards with phrases that are commonly used in word problems. For example, one index card might show “in all” next to the “+” sign. Another card might show “all together” next to the “+” sign.  When your child works on math homework, encourage your child to get into the habit of matching an index card to each phrase in a word problem.

    >> To help your child quickly get along with basic math terms in English, click here to download our free printable flashcards, created by Everest Education’s math teachers.

    4. Use Manipulates or Diagrams

    Sometimes visualizing the problem can give the student the tools needed to solve it. For problems with small amounts, you can use math manipulatives to help your child picture what is happening. For larger amounts or measurements, draw a diagram. This action gets additional learning processes involved and helps make the word problem a visual concept for the child to consider. You can also ask kids to close their eyes and try to picture what’s happening in the problem: “Imagine the first group of pencils joining together with the second group and forming one large group.” 

     Make it more concrete by using coins, toothpicks, or other objects. Use them to form the two small groups, and then combine them into one group. This is also one of many useful techniques that our teachers often apply in our math classes, where we use manipulatives such as paper, coins, building blocks as tangible objects to introduce new concepts, help students approach and solve problems.  The key to making word problems solvable for your child is to make them understandable and then provide the right practice and support. 

    5. Improve your child’s ability to focus
    Ask your child to read through the problem once. Then, have your child read it again, circling the important words and phrases. This is called active reading. It can help your child stay focused and avoid rushing. Another strategy is using blank pieces of paper to cover all the problems except the one your child is doing. You can also try making a list of things for your child to double-check. 

    >> Additionally, parents can learn more about 3 Reasons Why Your Child Does Not Stay Focused In School, as well as find out some Expert Tips to Improve Your Child’s Focus in Class from our old articles.  Once you’ve tried a few of these suggestions, you might have an idea why your child is struggling with math word problems. 

    6. Practice, practice, practice!
    How can your child become a better problem-solver?  By solving more problems, of course! In order for a child to gain mastery of word problems, she needs practice.  To get your child comfortable with the process of solving math word problems, you and your child can talk through how to solve the problem before she attempts to find the answer.  There are a number of websites that offer free sample problems for your child to tackle.  If she needs additional help, you can come to visit us at Everest Education,  where we help students strategize and solve equations with confidence. We offer personalized Singapore math program covering all math topics, including word problems, and provide personalized instruction to ensure that students make adjustments as needed when practicing.

    Word problems are a big change from traditional math problems, and they require a different set of skills that children may not have developed yet.  It can be tricky, but by developing a process and practicing on a regular basis, word problems will no longer be difficult. We hope these exercises can help develop your child’s logical and abstract thinking skills as well as help them strengthen her problem-solving abilities.


    Playful Math activities for your primary kids

    Playful Math activities for your primary kids

    We all want our children to do well in Math.  Math learning promotes working memory, improves attention, and increases other basic cognitive skills.  Recent studies have shown that a child’s math skills upon entering kindergarten can be a strong predictor of her future academic performance in both math and reading throughout elementary school.  Good Math knowledge is important to get your child through her school years, and life in general.

    However, most parents don’t know how to be involved in their child’s process of learning Math.   But wait, don’t head to the store to buy flash cards and worksheets, which can likely turn off your child’s natural interest in the subject.  There are a ton of fun ways to teach math to kids.

    In this article, we include some super fun math activities for your kids to help them develop a strong foundation in understanding math, and enhance their interest in learning.  From counting to number sense to addition and shapes and more. There are activities to cover a wide variety of math concepts. These activities are ideal for for preschoolers and early elementary students.

    Number Concepts

    Counting is important because it helps children learn number sequence, but even before counting, children need to develop a basic understanding of numbers.  Three important number concepts are one-to-one correspondence (each object is counted only once); cardinality (the last object counted is the total number of objects); and invariance (the number of objects doesn’t change if they are configured differently – for instance, spread out or placed in a circle).  Here are some ways to help your child develop these basic number concepts:

    • Count objects in everyday contexts.  Count the number of buttons on your child’s shirt as you button them, the number of oranges she helps you put in the grocery bag at the supermarket, the number of forks needed to set the table, or the number of stairs you go up to the front door.  Start with small numbers (no more than five) and add a few as your child is ready for a challenge.
    • Put small objects in a row.  Gather some coins and have your child count them.  After she has counted them, rearrange them in a circle, in a row, or spread them out, and ask her again to count the objects.  Don’t be surprised if she has to count them again. But if she automatically answers without counting, you’ll know she has mastered number invariance.
    • Find objects that go together.  If your child is having difficulty with one-to-one correspondence, find objects that pair well, such as spoons and forks, cups and saucers, horse and cowboy figurines, and ask her to pair them together.  As she does, have her count each set of objects to help reinforce the idea that each pair consists of the same number.
    • Play board games that involve counting.  Children love board games.  Not only do they promote screen-free time and family bonding, but they are often educational!  There are plenty of games on the market that promise to aid you in teaching math. For example, the game Snakes and Ladders introduces children to the numbers 1 to 100.  One of our favorites for teaching math are Junior Monopoly.  While this is more appropriate for older kids, you can use it both as a way of bonding as a family, and teaching math skills via the paper cash and die.  Parents can also use a deck of cards to turn it into a math game: make it easy at the start by including only cards up to five, and then gradually make it more complex by having each player put out two cards.  The highest sum of the two cards wins!
    • Fill the piggy bank.  Giving your child a piggy bank is a great way of both teaching math, as well as teaching her about the value of saving.  Use it to teach counting, addition and subtraction using coins. For younger kids, count loudly as they drop the coins in the till.  Older kids can practice addition to find out how much money they have collected, and subtraction if they want to use a certain amount of that money to buy something.

    Geometry and Spatial Understanding

    Children can develop a basic understanding of geometry and spatial relations by playing with blocks and other building toys.  Encourage geometry-related skills with these ideas. Identify shapes in your home. Play a simple game of finding basic shapes around the home, such as rectangles in light switches, squares in window panes, circles in clocks, and so forth.

    • Ask your child to explain how she differentiates each shape by their defining features (for instance, a triangle has three connected sides).
    • Talk about picture placement in a book.  When reading a storybook, use spatial language to talk about the placement of pictures.  Ask related questions such as “Where is the moon? Is it above the tree? Is it under the tree?”  Or reference sizes by asking, “Is the hippo bigger than the monkey? Which animal is bigger? Which animal is smaller?”
    • Make a map of your home.  Practice more spatial language by helping your child make a map of her bedroom or the backyard.  As she places and spaces out furniture, windows, and closets, or gardens, trees, and bushes, ask her questions about where they’re located and how close together they are.


    There are many forms of measurement to learn (length, height, weight, size, quantities) and many tools for measuring.  Embed measuring concepts into everyday activities.

    • Measure while you cook or bake.  Math is easily integrated into daily tasks in the kitchen, such as measuring ingredients, doubling and halving recipe ingredients, counting, and dividing meals into equal servings. In this way, cooking and baking provide natural learning opportunities.  You can ask your child to help you fill measuring cups with water or flour and measuring spoons with extract to introduce your kids to the concept of whole numbers and fractions. Ask questions such as “Can you fill a half cup? Can you fill one teaspoon?”. Watch this video to find more ideas about bringing Math in the kitchen, where our co-founder, Tony Ngo, teaches his two kids Math while making some pancakes.
    • Guess weight at the supermarket.  The next time you visit the grocery store, pull two different items from the shelves and ask your child which one is heavier: “Is it the can of soft drink or the box of crackers?”.  Children will learn how to understand the concepts of heaviness and lightness.
    • Compare feet sizes.  Place your foot next to your child’s foot and ask her which is longer or bigger.  Have a ruler or tape measure on hand to compare the sizes and help her differentiate between long and short, large and small.

    Even more Math puzzle websites & books

    When you’re not actively teaching your child math, she can still be working on those skills with apps built for computers and kids’ tablets.  There are a lot of great websites and apps that are engaging, stimulating and educational when used in moderation.

    Check out our collection of best websites for kids to learn Math recommended by Everest Education’s teachers, or some of our favorite applications that can boost Math fluency.  You can even find apps for older kids and teens.  Additionally, we have also listed out 5 books that can sneak in math concepts into your family’s reading routine as well.  By including books that include mathematical concepts in bedtime routines, parents can contribute to the mathematical development of your children.  At the same time, discussing math in this fun context makes numbers and math less stressful when children encounter these topics again in school.


    Practicing math concepts at home doesn’t have to be stressful, time-consuming, or involve pencil and paper.  Once you show your child how much fun math can be, she will gain enthusiasm about learning that can be applied to other subjects.  Once children enjoy learning, there’s no stopping them. 

    By sharing some of these ideas with families, we hope to show you how simple it can be to incorporate Math into daily activities and routines.  As incorporating math into daily activities at home, no matter what you want to do with your kids, make sure to follow our 4 principles: make it concrete and fun, while being patient and open-minded.

    Let’s engage your child in these playful activities to teach her how to think critically and apply math and reasoning skills in creative ways!