Posts Tagged: Parenting

How to motivate an unmotivated kid.

Big brother helping little sister with homework.

I’ve always been fascinated by what makes some people super motivated, and others, not so much. I found this particularly interesting when I saw differences in motivation between my children.

Why do I have two kids who are equally clever, yet one is disappointed with a certain mark or grade in school, while the other thinks it is more than acceptable?

A few weeks ago I spent an evening holding a gun to one kid’s head forcing him to prepare for a math test taking place the next day. No gun to head, no study. Across the room was the other child busily typing on her laptop. When I asked what she was working on, the response was “I have a science test in two weeks so I’m just putting together my study notes to get a jump on things.”

Two kids – born only fifteen months apart with the same parents, same home environment, same encouragement, same role modeling, and yet so different. Why?

With no answer to that question, frustration was mounting. When you have a smart kid not working to potential, it’s enough to make any parent get twitchy. I usually rely on natural consequences – don’t study, then you fail. Better luck next time. Problem is – with this kid, doing badly doesn’t bother him too much. Not exactly what I’m looking for in a consequence.

I happen to be lucky enough to be pals with psychologist and parenting author, Alyson Schafer. She gave me a few quick tips that I’ve put into practice – and my kid and I are not as frustrated with each other.

Tip #1: Teach him the EFFORT IS NOT STUPIDITY. This is big. Whenever he actually had to TRY at something, he liked to default to “Oh well, I guess I just suck at this”. That’s a pretty easy out, so we’ve had lots of conversations trying to turn this way of thinking around.

Tip #2: Don’t dictate when he’s going to study, but task him to. Every Sunday he creates his own study plan for the week. No longer is it me nagging him to study, it’s him having to be accountable to his OWN plan.

Tip #3: Don’t argue when he thinks what he’s studying is useless. He’s likely right. Have the open conversation that there are bits of the curriculum that are outdated or won’t be relevant to him. Get on his side, but remember to teach that getting through this is all just a step to be able to have choices when it comes to post-secondary education and a career.

Do your kids have different motivation levels? How do you manage your expectations around the effort they do or don’t put into school or activities?

 

About the Author:

Julie Cole Mabel's Labels

Julie Cole

Julie Cole is co-founder of Mabel’s Labels Inc., the leading provider of kids’ labels, and a proud mom of six.

Easy Ways to get Greens into Your Day

It is spring! And nothing says spring like the budding of green from the earth. I am not talking about the crocuses and daffodils, I am talking about the herbs and baby greens.

One of the best ways to get kids to eat veggies is to let them plant seeds and grow tasty herbs like mint on the window sill. In colder climates, these can be started in April in separate small pots and transferred to a larger group pot when the frost warnings have passed. A pizza pot is a great way to start!

Plant:
• Parsley
• Oregano
• Chives
• Basil
• Baby spinach

 

Cut a handful of fresh herbs to sprinkle on top of a cooked (or delivered) pizza. Before you know it, you will be growing enough to add to a salad each day. Graduating to baby kale, Swiss chard and mustard greens is only a step away and can be done mid season as they are hearty through fall. It doesn’t have to be a big ordeal or an expensive process, the idea is to bring on the green.

Other spring vegetables that should be honored this season are green beans, asparagus and leeks. The easiest cooking method is to roast them all together. Rinse leeks well under cold running water and cut into rings, and then place on a large baking sheet lined with parchment paper or foil. Rinse the tips of asparagus and lop off the woody ends and place on the same sheet. Rinse green beans and line up one end to even out the tips for trimming. Line up the other end and do the same to maximize the amount of bean and minimize the waste. Drizzle with a mere tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil and bake in a hot oven at 400F for 12 to 20 minutes depending upon the thickness and size of the veg. Stir once or twice so that the veg on the end doesn’t burn.

You can do a huge batch of these at a time and serve them in salads or as a cold side dish any time. Feel free to store in the fridge in glass jars in vinegar with a little sea salt like pickles. They go great on sandwiches or as a perk next to baked fish.

Working more vegetables into your day gives your body the spring clean that the house and garden are getting. Your skin and vitality will thank you.

About the Author

Theresa Albert

Theresa Albert is a Food Communications Specialist and Toronto Personal Nutritionist. She is @theresaalbert on twitter and found daily at www.myfriendinfood.com

What to do when your toddler wakes at 5am.

It can be hard to get a child to sleep through the night – but what if they are habitually waking early?

One mother emailed me about her 3-year old son who refused to do anything alone when he woke up early. If she didn’t let him in her bed, he would cry until he woke his 10 month old sister up. Now there are TWO wailing children to contend with at 5:30 am.  Ugh!

Is this how you start your day? Are you sleep deprived from this toddler sleep schedule regime?

Here was my reply:

Thanks for the email. He is an early riser and you are not. He can rise early (try to make him stop –  HA!)  and that is okay – but he must be a co-operative human in  your house  and realize he doesn’t have the right to disturb others when he wakes.

So…. tonight at tuck-ins, let him know YOU are not to be woken until 7 am (or whenever) and set an alarm for him so he knows when it will be 7am. Then ask him what he would like to do alone when he wakes until 7 o’clock arrives.   As long as he is safe and non-disturbing, it shouldn’t matter to you…

When he says things like “the TV is too bright” or “the hall is too dark”  he is just attempting to eliminate the options you have offered in order to get to be social with you! TOUGH! You are NOT an option at 5:30 am and he must be left to deal with the true fact that life at 5:30 am is BORING and hopefully he will either LEARN to self-entertain, not  be afraid of  the dark, give up minding the TV brightness or go back to sleep.

To ensure he doesn’t disturb you, you can put a childproof handle on the outside of YOUR bedroom door.   It’s okay if he screams and bang for the first few mornings (say NOTHING) so he learns that there is NO mommy interaction until 7am.

If the baby cries – leave her too. Now he has a crying sister and no mom!  Boy – better not be stuck like that again!!!  The baby will settle again (good training for her too) or he’ll go play with her and the two of them can keep each other company.  They’d learn it’s no fun, lots of tears, boring and maybe a bit scary to be up and alone without mom.  Let him / them experience this a few times (the baby will learn to sleep through the noise of her brother) and they both will learn there is no good reason to get up before 7am.

Good luck!

Alyson

 

About the Author:

Alyson Schafer

Alyson Schafer is a psychotherapist and one of Canada’s most notable parenting experts. She is the resident expert on The Marilyn Denis Show, CTV News Channel and CBC’s The World This Weekend. Alyson is an “Ask an Expert” Columnist for Today’s Parent Magazine, and sits on the Health Advisory Board for Chatelaine Magazine.  Alyson is the best selling author of “Breaking The Good Mom Myth” and “Honey, I Wrecked The Kids” and her latest, “Ain’t Misbehavin”.  She is an international speaker including the inaugural TEDxKids in Brussels and offers free parenting tips at www.alysonschafer.com

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