Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Keeping Motivated after Spring Break


The Spring weather is warm and beautiful, making homework even harder to attend to.  You can commiserate with your kids, right?  Here are some ideas for them to keep motivated:

1.      Look at the big picture and at the future.  Picture yourself holding up a report card filled with A’s and B’s.  Picture yourself attending the college of your choice.  Picture yourself at your dream job.

2.      Readjust your daily schedule.  What time of day are you most productive?  Try to concentrate your studying then while still getting to sleep at a reasonable time.


3.      Reward yourself.  Keep study sessions to about 45 minutes and then take a break.  Do something fun when your homework is finished.

4.      Find a Study Buddy.  It’s more fun, and often more productive, to study with a friend.  You can get together or use Facetime.

5.      Exercise and Eat Healthy.  Almost everyone is more efficient with a good night’s sleep and sufficient exercise.  Lots of carbs drag you down.  Focus on protein, vegetables, fruit, and whole grains.  Try to find healthy snacks.  Look into “brain food” to maximize productivity.

6.      Write Down Everything.  It is much easier to get everything done with a “To Do” list.  Keep a list of long term assignments and tests, too, so you can break up tasks.


7.      Start Waking up Earlier on Weekends.  This requires a lot of self control, but keeping a weekend sleep schedule close to the weekday schedule is best for your biorhythms.  Also, you can get more done.  Try it once and see if the pay-off is worth it.

8.      Schedule an Hour of Quiet Time at Night.  This may be difficult to fit in, but will help you relax and get a good night’s sleep.  It is best for sleeping to read a regular book at night rather than look at a screen.

9.      Identify a Study Spot (or not).  Some people do best with a regular place to study (preferably free from distractions) and others do best rotating their study spots.  Find out which works best for you.


Do you or your children have other strategies to keep motivated?  Please share.

Thursday, March 24, 2016

The Balancing Act for Parents

SixThings I’ve Learned as a Mom

1. Your children are not you and won’t do things your way.

2.  Kids do not like to be told what to do.

3. Nagging doesn’t help and often backfires.

4. Support does help.

5. Listening helps a lot.

6. Laughter is the best cure for stress.


During my many conversations with parents, I have discovered the consensus that for many of us, parenting is the hardest job we will ever do.  We have to balance love, acceptance, and support with frustration, stress, and, in some cases, manipulation.  We have to be strict, but not too strict.  We have to let our kids be themselves and learn from mistakes without being a helicopter parent.  We have to offer support without suffocation.

So how do we determine which supports our children need?  This is where listening comes to play.  The trick is to listen and show empathy and understanding (“so you feel frustrated by your workload…”, “I know it feels awful when you’re fighting with a friend…”) without offering advice unless asked.

If the problem is that your child is an emotional mess, maybe therapy is an option.  If your child feels out of control with school work and homework, maybe he needs an academic coach.  If he does not understand math or physics, maybe he needs a tutor.  Most of the time, your children are not disorganized, time challenged, or failing a subject in order to irk you.

There are just a few months left until June.  Let the small things go, enforce discipline if needed, and listen to your children’s concerns.  As most of you already know, a little support can go a long way.