It's That Time of Year

September 06, 2019

Everywhere you go there are reminders.

Yep, it’s back to school.

There will be all kinds of articles in magazines and on the internet like 10 Tips for Having an Easy, Breezy School Year.

Good luck.

These articles rarely get to the heart of the matter, the nitty-gritty, especially when it comes to kids who are struggling and who can be difficult to manage around homework and their willingness to be cooperative.

Difficult kids need a different handling than those articles typically suggest.

So, in an effort to get you started on the year on a good footing, we offer you the “‘Non-PC’ Top Tips to Combat the School Year Blues.” 

If you’ve followed my blog for some time or have read the books, some of these tips may echo ones you’ve heard before.  They are sort of my best hits.

1. Set Aside Sacred Quiet Time: From day one, let your child know that there will be a one hour “quiet time” (Typically the hour past dinner is what most families find works best).  This will be an hour devoted to quiet activities, such as school work, reading, fun workbooks with puzzles, word/math games, etc.  Within this hour there will be no YouTubing or video games.

Let your child (children) know there is not to be any whining, complaining, moaning, groaning, or melting down during the 45 minute session. The cost of doing these behaviors during the quiet time, will be the loss of the usual electronic stuff  for the rest of the evening that they take for granted.

 2. Homework Heat:   Turn down the homework heat.  Back it down.  It’s just homework.  In the grand scheme, does homework mean all that much?

Largely, it is a tool used for teaching kids to become more independent, self-reliant citizens. If you notice your parental anger temperature reaching a 5 or more on a scale of 1-10, take an action to turn it down to the cooler zone.  Go wash your face in cold water.  Take a brisk walk around the neighborhood.     Pour yourself a glass of wine (not too much now) – anything that will turn down the heat.

Keep in mind, that I am not suggesting you let your child off the hook (see point #1),  just turn down the parental he

 3.  When Your Kid Loses It:  The previous point centered on you as the parent, but what about when your kid goes off the rails over homework?  So many parents I see describe their child having a full-blown meltdown over what would seem to be relatively minor frustration   around homework.              Often the meltdown is a calculated manipulation to get off of homework and go back on YouTube or Fortnite (an addicting video game, in case you              don’t know).   The meltdown also leads to the parental meltdown.

In calm tones, suggest that your child take a break to change his/her “state” and reset.  As a parent you need to have a pretty good awareness of your            kid’s temperature.  If it is creeping (or sky-rocketing) from 5 up to 10, you need to shut-down the operation for a while.   Nothing productive will take place if his emotional temperature is 5 or over.  If the temperature remains high, with excessive whining, complaining and melting down, get all            of the electronics out of reach for the night.   It’s a quiet night.  It is important to have a matter-of fact-it’s-your-choice mindset when it comes to homework.

4.  Have a Few Parental Mantras & Shrug a Lot: Practice shrugging and pulling out a parental mantra that you can repeat when needed.  For example, when your kid starts protesting and you feel his heat rising and nothing has helped,  a parental mantra that says something like, “Hey, you’re a big boy.  It’s up to you if you choose to do your homework,” can be very helpful in turning down the heat.

Start this mantra early, even as early as first grade.  It does wonders in putting the responsibility where it belongs and it saves you from having to keep running to the liquor store.

Remember, practice shrugging a lot as you say the mantra.

Most of the articles on back-to-school focus on giving the child positive attention.  We’re not advocating being negative, but understand that most modern children are motivated by one thing – screens.  That’s what drives them.  Therefore, you need to bring a dose of reality to their head.

In other words, you give and you get.  If you don’t, that’s it for the evening.  It will be a very quiet night.

Takeaway Point

Following these points will get you started on having an easier year.


Copyright, 2019 www.shutdownlearner.com
Questions or topics email Dr. Selznick.  Not in the South Jersey area? For a free 15 Minute Consultation, contact Dr. Selznick: email – rselznick615@gmail.com

To purchase a signed copy of  “What To Do About Dyslexia: 25 Essential Concepts” & Dr. Selznick’s other books and to receive blog updates go to http://www.shutdownlearner.com.

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