Homework and the Mommy Meltdown

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For kids with learning struggles, the burden of understanding geometry or studying for spelling tests is as much our pain as theirs. If daily homework battles are driving you crazy, check out tips to improve the experience:

  1. Prepare mentally. Decide ahead of time what kind of attitude you’re going to embrace, and how you’re going to respond if things get tense or difficult.
  2. Do a quick self-check. Before helping your child with his or her homework, take a quick self-check. Are you tired? Hungry? Frustrated about something that happened earlier in your day? If so, take a few minutes to eat a snack, catch a power nap, or do whatever you need to do to decompress.
  3. Have what you need on hand. Homework takes a significant time commitment as it is. Don’t add to that time by having to spend an hour looking for the slide rule, or having to drop everything and run to the store for poster board.
  4. Practice familiar cues. Some kids thrive on routine, and you can create fun habits that can help your child’s brain take familiar paths to settling down and being productive.
  5. Try a new setting. Routine is good, but sometimes it can also help to shake things up a bit, either as a reward for a productive week, or to see if your child actually studies better in a different setting.
  6. Exercise physically before studying. See what happens if you insist he or she plays outside for an hour before starting homework. Studies show that physical exercise improves thinking and concentration, in the long run and immediately as well.
  7. Eat brain-healthy snacks. Think good fats, lean protein, and complex carbs. Good fats can be found in omega-3 oils from fish, nuts, seeds, and dark leafy greens. Lean protein can be found in raw almonds, baked chicken, and organic plain yogurt with fresh fruit. Complex carbs can be found in whole grain tortillas, brown rice, and sweet potatoes.
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