Motivating My Kid: Where to Start

You might be stuck wondering how do I start motivating my kid, so far they seem content just barely getting by which leaves the parent picking up all the pieces. Obviously this does not work in the long haul, as the goal is to get them to self-sufficient adulthood.

Here are some ideas to start motivating your kid:

  • Start with one thing and make them accountable. Probably something that you think they could be efficient at like feeding the dog, sorting laundry, or simple self-care items.You have to start somewhere and then when that just becomes daily living add another item.
  • Remember we all have to start somewhere. Patience is key. No they aren’t the best at ‘x,y,z’ but at one point probably neither were you. Let them practice and master the skill.
  • Let your kid have some of the control in decisions. Yes you can pick the decision, but making decisions is part of adulthood. Sometimes it feels like the main part. Learning how to make good decisions early is an invaluable skill.
  • Explain the natural consequences of not fulfilling their childhood duties but don’t stand in the way of letting the consequence happen. We all want to bubble wrap kids, but the younger they are the littler the stakes are, so let them find the natural boundaries of things.
  • Make sure there isn’t something standing in the way of the goal. If your child is an unmotivated writer for example, maybe there is an underlying cause and a tutor or doctor might need to evaluate the child. If they’re unmotivated to school, is it too hard or too easy (this applies both academically and socially).

By helping your child feel in control and able to successfully complete tasks, you are empowering them to practice lifelong skills. We know

“when we experience a healthy sense of control, our prefrontal cortex (the executive functioning part of our brain) regulates the amygdala (a part of the brain’s threat detection system that initiates the fight or flight response). When the prefrontal cortex is in charge, we are in our right minds. We feel in control and not anxious.”

-Scientific American

Hopefully these ideas with motivation and great follow through help your child to succeed. Sometimes it can just be hard to break bad habits for both the kid and the parent. Please let me know if you have any great ideas.

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Student Reading: Finding Success and Enjoyment in Literature

Student reading seems to either go great or be a challenge. If your students or child seem to be struggling, here are some ideas that might help them to succeed.

  1. Find something the child is really interested in. Many times certain age groups and classrooms are into similar stuff, like Minecraft, Legos, Disney. Find what the children are interested in and teach using that. With this in mind, remember that not all children in the classroom are the same, so if one child is truly struggling, ask them their interests. Look at who is on their backpack or shirt if they are having a hard time coming up with ideas.
  2. Choose material slightly below their level. Although a challenge can be fun, it can also be exhausting. If the child has to stop too often because the words are not in their vocabulary or if they can barely read the words at all, the idea of reading is going to become a task.
  3. Do not over test. Tests can be stressful, and you do not want the child to associate reading with stress. It’s a daily skill that they are going to need to have, so making it stressful is less than ideal. Yes assessments are necessary to see progress, but don’t make every book about that or the student is likely to shy away from letting their imaginations dive into the book.
  4. Set goals. Clear objectives not only define where you are at, they also motivate you and reward you when you accomplish great things. Let the child enjoy their success by pre-defining a student reading goal.
  5. Make Reading Fun. Make student reading enjoyable, add variety, and truly enjoy it. Reading is full of many different parts (like phonics, vocabulary, comprehension, retell, and more) each with its own challenges. Embrace the struggles and persist on understanding the books. If you are having fun, it is more likely so is the student. Games are also great like making silly sentences or playing a game and simply understanding what the cards say.

Hope these ideas help. Feel free to share some of your own ideas.

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Get Child to Read: An Early Start

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Get Child to Read: An Early Start

How do you get a child to read and why is it important? Early speech is correlated with better math and reading, as well as, less behavioral problems. Research also shows that early literacy is correlate with better school and overall career success. But how do you get kids to talk, and how do you get kids to read?

Opportunity is key. Having resources like books of the right age range is so critical. It doesn’t take a lot of money, only a library card. Our local libraries also offer a kids time. This is a time where songs and other brain engaging activities are going on. If your libraries don’t offer this, check other resources like Barnes and Noble. Puzzles, paints, play dough, shape sorters, and other engaging problem solving toys also allow your children to explore the world around them. These skills can be helpful for both math and reading.  

Ask your kids questions. At an age that would of seemed silly to most, I would turn to my child at the dinner table and say, ‘tell Daddy about your day.’ Then I would eventually say that’s right and fill in the blanks, but it’s important to let your kids know they are important. It is also important that they learn to question things. It is a skill that is necessary for reading comprehension. Starting with the real world and simple board books is a great place to begin.

Listen to their interest. It is so hard to read a book even as an adult when you are simply not into it. the same holds true when you are a child. Think about what the child likes. Let them pick a book, and help them pick a book (or ask a librarian for help) about something that would truly help the child fall in love with reading.

Imagination is the key to building beautiful stories in your mind. Imagination starts by simply playing dress up or store or any of the number of things kids love to play. So while the kids look like they are doing nothing but being silly, they are preparing themselves for a great adventure ahead. Appreciate that.

Here’s a youtube video I found all about the importance of early reading


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ADHD What You Need to Know

ADHD, Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Distorter occurs in about 3-7% of school aged children. It effects their ability to progress social, occupational, or academically. It also must be present before the age of 7 and occur in at least to different settings. Although the name suggests inattention, many children with ADHD have long attention spans toward activities they find interesting.

What is ADHD

Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Distorter is more commonly  diagnosed in males than females. 30-50% of those diagnosed continue to have issues into adulthood. Common symptoms include:

  • Struggles to follow directions
  • Easily distracted
  • Seems to not be listening
  • Daydreaming
  • Problems processing information quickly and accurately
  • Problems maintaining focus
  • Becomes bored easily
  • Troubles completing and/or turning in assignments

May also include: Fidgeting, talking nonstop, impulsive, not able to sit still, difficulty doing quiet tasks, not able to wait turn, emotional, touching and playing with everything in sight

ADHD symptoms

The cause of Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Distorter is unknown. It is believed to be a combination of genetics and environmental factors. Many of the genes effected seem to be connected to the dopamine neurotransmitters. Environmental factors can include alcohol and tobacco use during pregnancy, lead and insecticide exposure, premature and/or low birth weight and brain injury.

ADHD what to know

If these symptoms sound like your child, talk to your pediatrician. Medication and therapy can be used as treatment.

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Neurological Differences: The Strength and Weakness

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Neurological Differences: The Strength and Weakness

Neurological differences, just like any differences, are part of nature. Sometimes children are born with these neurological differences, like Tourette’s Syndrome, epilepsy, or autism, but sometimes they come later in life.

I recently came across this video from a neurologist who had a very interesting point of view, perhaps a more optimistic one. In his video, he states how neurological differences are important. He also states how there is a possible positive side effect to the difference.

It is important to look not just simply to think in terms of defects and problems, but in different ways of doing things, in different ways of functioning. -Oliver Sacks

It is important still to explore the differences. Help the brain wherever you can, but also excepting one another and realizing the power of one’s differences in truly a beautiful thing.

Some children may require various amounts of therapy and accommodations. Schooling may have to be modified, or it may be their strength. Each child, just like their brain is very unique. It is important to assess the child. Figure out what exactly they need. It is also important to help them find a strength and praise them. No one always wants to feel down and out. The brain is a mysteriously magical thing that has many capabilities. As he talked about in the video, it can compensate for so much. Sometimes children and adults need help finding the right resources to get their brains functioning on the next level, but it’s amazing what the body is capable of doing on its own.

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