Category: Resources for Parents

5 Things That Are Draining Your Energy

  1.  Too much technology.

    Try a technology-free night and see how you feel. Put your phone away for the night so you’re not tempted to check it first thing in the morning. What does the next day feel like after a night with no TV, computer or phone?

  1. Not enough help around the house.

    If you can swing it, pay for a cleaning person to come in once a week just for a couple hours. Or create a chore chart for your family so they stop treating YOU like the maid. Here’s a short, funny video you can show them to get your point across.

  1. Homework struggles.

    If you’re spending too much of your night helping a struggling learner, consider enrolling them in LearningRx personal brain training. Learn about other kids’ experiences with LearningRx.

  1. Too much on your schedule.

    First, practice saying “no.” Second, look for ways to split commitments with other parents (e.g., driving to soccer practice). Finally, color code your family calendar with red being priority (e.g., doctor, dentist), green being fun (e.g., family movie night) and yellow being everything else. Then step back and see which colors dominate.

  1. Not enough sleep.

    Focus on the wind down with a warm bath, sleep-inducing tea and a good book. Keep a notepad next to your bed to write down things that keep your head swirling and commit to letting them go until the next day.

 

 

About LearningRx
LearningRx, headquartered in Colorado Springs, Colorado, is the largest one-on-one brain training organization in the world. With 80 Centers in the U.S., and locations in 40 countries around the globe, LearningRx has helped more than 95,000 individuals and families sharpen their cognitive skills to help them think faster, learn easier, and perform better. Their on-site programs partner every client with a personal brain trainer to keep clients engaged, accountable, and on-task—a key advantage over online-only brain exercises. Their pioneering methods have been used in clinical settings for 35 years and have been verified as beneficial in peer-reviewed research papers and journals. To learn more about LearningRx research results, programs, and their 9.6 out of 10 client satisfaction rating visit http://www.learningrx.com/. To read testimonials from real clients visit www.learningrx-reviews.com.

Homework and the Mommy Meltdown

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.

Myths Surrounding Dyslexia

There are a lot of myths surrounding dyslexia. Perhaps one of the most common misconceptions is that dyslexia is about reversing letters. In reality, dyslexia is about weak phonemic awareness skills. Phonemic awareness and auditory processing skills are the underlying cognitive abilities to hear and remember the smallest individual units of sound in a word. The word dyslexia actually means, “poor with words or trouble with reading.” This could mean reading fluently, out loud, reading new words, and/or pronouncing words correctly.

Another myth is that dyslexia is a lifelong label. But it doesn’t need to be. Just check out our article below on what personal brain training has done to help some people labeled as dyslexic. You can also read more about treatments, myths, tools and tips related to dyslexia here.

 

About LearningRx
LearningRx, headquartered in Colorado Springs, Colorado, is the largest one-on-one brain training organization in the world. With 80 Centers in the U.S., and locations in 40 countries around the globe, LearningRx has helped more than 95,000 individuals and families sharpen their cognitive skills to help them think faster, learn easier, and perform better. Their on-site programs partner every client with a personal brain trainer to keep clients engaged, accountable, and on-task—a key advantage over online-only brain exercises. Their pioneering methods have been used in clinical settings for 35 years and have been verified as beneficial in peer-reviewed research papers and journals. To learn more about LearningRx research results, programs, and their 9.6 out of 10 client satisfaction rating visit http://www.learningrx.com/. To read testimonials from real clients visit www.learningrx-reviews.com.

Overcoming shyness: Helping your child excel in school and life

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Do you have a son who is so incredibly shy that the first day of school is enough to wreak havoc on his digestive tract? Or a daughter who you worry won’t make friends due to her constant fear of meeting new people? If so, you’re not alone.

While some scientists may argue that shyness is often due to genetic predisposition, many psychologists will point to strong experiential factors. The first may bring up some feelings of empathy; if you were a shy child there’s always the possibility that some of that was passed down. The latter of the two can often be explained by past experiences of rejection or fears of future failure.

But there is good news. For children and teens who suffer from shyness, there are three major steps that parents can take to help:

  1. Highlight past successes
  2. Provide opportunities for new successes
  3. Get to the root of the problem


Reminders of past successes

Highlighting past successes doesn’t have to mean just verbally reminding a child that they did something well. It could include framing a photo of their best dance recital, placing awards or trophies in a place of prominence, placing an announcement in the newspaper or family newsletter, or asking them to mentor a younger child on the piano.

You can also “brag” to family members or friends within earshot of your child, (“I was so proud of Michelle. She scored two points in her basketball game!”) or encourage a child just for attempting something new (even if they didn’t excel at it). Some parents may disagree with the idea of giving out “participation awards,” but in the case of a shy child or teen, just trying something new can be a very big deal.

Opportunities for new successes

Just as you wouldn’t take a child who is afraid of heights up to the top of the Empire State Building, it’s not recommended that you force shy kids into unfamiliar social situations. Your best bet is to introduce them to familiar settings and activities, such as family events, close friends’ birthday parties or play dates in the comfort of their own home.

Building social confidence doesn’t just come from interaction, however. It’s largely based on self-confidence, which can be increased through solo successes in art, music, grades, individual athletics, writing and responsibilities (taking care of an older sibling or pet).

Look for opportunities to help your child soar at whatever he/she does—even if it has to start at home. Once your child hits a major milestone (such as completing an essay and entering it into a contest), be sure to praise his/her effort rather than the final result. In the case of the essay, for example, you could share the piece with friends and family and ask them to send complimentary responses, or post the piece on an online community portal or personal blog.

The root of the problem

Sometimes, shyness is the result of a pervasive problem that may or may not exist outside the child’s control. Bullies, cliques or an overly critical parent or sibling can lead a child to devalue his/her worth and accomplishments. Look for ways to foster discussion with children to help determine the cause of their shyness. Questions like, “What makes you feel sad?” or “When was the last time you were mad?” may spark a conversation that leads to some discovery.

One often-overlooked correlation is that shyness is often paralleled by low self-esteem due to slower (not lower) performance. While some may argue the “chicken or the egg theory”—that slow performance is a result of low self-esteem—scientists and psychologists now know that more often than not, self-esteem can be increased by increasing the speed at which results are attained. In fact, even smart kids tend to suffer a decrease of confidence when they don’t achieve their results (such as test-taking or homework) as quickly or easily as their classmates.

Take Angela Knutsen. Her 9-year-old daughter, Holly, was a good student and incredibly strong reader for her age. But Knutsen had concerns that while Holly was in the upper level math class, she seemed to struggle with her math facts. “When I would practice math drills with her, she would know 6 + 6 = 12, but if I immediately asked 6 + 7, she wouldn’t know,” explains Knutsen. “After I got her tested, I could tell why: her short-term memory was weak and her processing speed was slow. She couldn’t hold 6 + 6 is 12 in her head long enough to process ‘therefore 6 +7 must be one more, 13.’”

In addition, Holly had struggled with low self-esteem and suffered from extreme anxiety. “She has always had trouble going into new situations,” says Knutsen, who herself suffered from anxiety as a child. “She would cry every day when I took her to kindergarten, and in first and second grade she would get herself so nervous about a change in routine; if there was a field trip or an assembly the next day, she would cry several times the night before, and she would look physically sick. It broke my heart.”

Knutsen began researching programs to help bright children. “There were a lot of tutors and businesses that helped kids with severe learning disabilities, but that’s not what Holly needed,” she explains. “I eventually stumbled across a personal brain training company,” explains Knutsen. “The testimonials from other parents—especially those with fearful children like Holly—convinced me to give it a try. I kept hearing that increased confidence was a near-universal side effect.”

Initial testing confirmed that Holly was weaker in those cognitive skills that are needed to excel in math—logic and reasoning, and memory —(though still above average compared to her peers). More specific testing unveiled weaknesses in retrieval fluency, short-term memory, and executive processing speed.

Over the next several weeks, Holly worked with a brain trainer to strengthen her weakest cognitive skills. By the time she completed the program, Holly’s math skills had improved. But perhaps more importantly, so had her self-esteem. According to Knutsen, she was completing math tests and math homework more quickly and therefore didn’t have as much anxiety.

“The biggest change is non-academically,” says Knutsen. “Holly is beaming. She’s more confident, happy, thriving. She’s doing things on her own that she never would have tried before—basketball, art classes, new babysitters.  When she’s running off to try something new, my husband and I often say, ‘Who is this person and what has she done with our daughter?’”**

According to Dr. Ken Gibson, author of “Unlock the Einstein Inside: Applying New Brain Science to Wake up the Smart in your Child” there’s a good reason that kids beat themselves up over low performance. “It’s an endless cycle to try to raise the self-esteem of kids who aren’t performing well—especially if they’re placed into special education instead of trying to address the weak cognitive skills. Special education programs typically seek to accommodate struggling students with a primary strategy of lowering expectations to help those children get through school. Kids still compare themselves with peers outside of class, however, and special education students often suffer eroding self-esteem, which has the power to make their learning disabilities all that much more debilitating. But even smart kids will beat themselves up for underperforming in one subject.”

Tanya Mitchell, Vice President of Research & Development for LearningRX, a personal brain-training franchise, agrees. “We see all types of kids going through our brain-training programs—from children with ADD and dyslexia to teens who want to increase their learning skills to perform better on college prep tests. One of the most reported changes from parents is their child’s increased self-esteem.”

Whatever the cause, shyness is a common condition and shouldn’t be treated as a plague. Many children grow out of it and those that don’t can still go on to build healthy relationships and careers. Still, if there’s a non-genetic reason behind a child’s low self-esteem, getting to the root of the problem could mean watching him/her transform before your eyes.

 

About LearningRx
LearningRx, headquartered in Colorado Springs, Colorado, is the largest one-on-one brain training organization in the world. With 80 Centers in the U.S., and locations in 40 countries around the globe, LearningRx has helped more than 95,000 individuals and families sharpen their cognitive skills to help them think faster, learn easier, and perform better. Their on-site programs partner every client with a personal brain trainer to keep clients engaged, accountable, and on-task—a key advantage over online-only brain exercises. Their pioneering methods have been used in clinical settings for 35 years and have been verified as beneficial in peer-reviewed research papers and journals. To learn more about LearningRx research results, programs, and their 9.6 out of 10 client satisfaction rating visit http://www.learningrx.com/. 
**You may or may not achieve similar results. To learn more about our research and results on thousands of LearningRx clients, visit: http://www.learningrx.com/results.

 

Five of the Easiest Dinner Recipes in the World

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You’re stressed. We get it, because we are too. It’s one of the reasons we love the Organic Valley ad that reminds us we’re not alone in our chaos. Plus, we get to laugh at the caricatures of moms who try just a little too hard.

At this point, most of us would just be happy to go to the bathroom without an audience, or not spend two hours a night helping our 10-year-old do Common Core math. We’re too tired to be “smarter than a fifth-grader.”

In the spirit of (over-worked, over-scheduled) sisterhood, we’ve put together a list of five of the easiest dinner recipes that ever existed in the world of culinary shortcuts. We think even Martha Stewart would be proud, despite the fact that you bought the cheese at the grocery store. (Yes, people make their own cheese. They’re the same people who get 10 hours of sleep and grow their own basil.)

The following main dish recipes should take less than 10 minutes of prep time. Serve with a bagged salad, sliced tomatoes and cucumbers in balsamic vinegar, diced bell peppers or a bowl of M&Ms. (Hey, research says chocolate is good for you now!)

Impossibly Easy Broccoli Pie

1 cup chopped broccoli

10 slices of pre-cooked bacon, crumbled or diced

1 cup shredded cheese (any flavor)

¾ cup baking mix (like Bisquick)

1 ½ cups milk

3 eggs


Directions:

  1. Heat oven to 400 degrees. Grease a pie plate.
  2. Sprinkle the broccoli, bacon and cheese into the pie plate.
  3. Mix the remaining three ingredients and pour over everything in the pie plate
  4. Cook for about 35 minutes. (Feeds 4-5.)

Variations could include yellow, red or green peppers, spinach, tomatoes, precooked sausage or chicken.

 

Set-It-And-Forget-It Slow Cooker Sausage Hoagies

8 links of fresh Italian sausage

1 (26 oz) jar of spaghetti sauce

1 green bell pepper sliced into strips

1 sliced onion

6 hoagie rolls

Directions:

  1. Put the sausage, sauce, peppers and onion in a slow cooker and mix to coat.
  2. Cook on low for 6 hours. Serve on hoagie rolls. (Feeds 6.)

 

Six-Can Chicken Pot Pie

1 (15 oz.) can of diced potatoes (drained)

1 (15 oz) can of mixed veggies (drained)

1 (10.75 oz.) can of cream of mushroom soup

2 (10 oz) cans of chicken (drained)

1 (8 oz.) can of refrigerated crescent rolls

 

Directions:

  1. Heat oven to 375.
  2. Combine the first four ingredients and pour into a pie dish.
  3. Unroll the dough and lay it across the mixture in the pie dish. Press dough to seal edges. Poke a few holes with a fork to allow for ventilation.
  4. Cook for 15 to 20 minutes. (Feeds 4 to 5.)

 

Simple Shrimp Linguine

 8 oz. linguine

4 cloves of garlic (HINT: Buy a jar of minced onion to keep in your fridge.)

4 Tbsp. butter

1 lb. peeled, deveined shrimp with tail off

1 Tbsp. lemon juice

½ cup white wine (You’re welcome!)

Directions:

  1. Cook linguine as per directions on box.
  2. In the meantime, heat the butter and garlic for 3 minutes.
  3. Add the shrimp to the butter and garlic mixture and cook for about 5 minutes, or until shrimp turns pink.
  4. Add the white wine and lemon juice to the shrimp mixture and cook for 2 minutes.
  5. Mix linguine and sauce in a big bowl and sprinkle with parmesan cheese. (Feeds 4.)

Variations: Add diced tomatoes, black olives or fresh parsley.

 


Fast Fiesta Chicken Tortillas

4 chicken breasts (raw or frozen)

1 packet Fiesta Ranch dip (dry mix by the salad dressings)

1 can drained black beans

1 can of Rotel diced tomatoes with green chilies

1 can of corn (not drained)

1 block of cream cheese

Directions:

Cook everything in a crockpot/slow cooker for 4 to 6 hours (on low). Shred and serve in tortillas or over rice. (Feeds 4 or 5.)

Do you have a “go-to” recipe that fits the bill when time is tight? Share it here for other moms to benefit.

 

UPDATE: For the herbivores among us, we wanted to update this blog with five-ingredient VEGETARIAN recipes. EatingWell.com has some simple but absolutely delicious options! Check out the Black Bean Quesadillas, Southwestern Cheese Panini, Chipotle-Orange Broccoli & Tofu, Spaghetti Genovese, Florentine Ravioli, and Grilled Pizza with Pesto, Tomatoes & Feta.