Does Your Child with ADHD Need Help with Homework?

Are you looking for ways to help your child or teen handle the daily struggle with homework? The struggle (theirs and yours) is real. It may look like a lack of motivation, or defiance, forgetfulness or even a learning disability but in reality, it is probably their Executive Function skills.

The Homework Help for ADHD covers seven Executive Function skills that have the biggest impact on homework and includes information on what to look for and plenty of strategies to help compensate.

Laine Dougherty - Notebook - Homework Help for ADHD - blue #1

Due to the current circumstances and requirements for social distancing, our classes and individual services will be conducted via Zoom or Google Hangouts.

Three Keys to Being More Productive – From Our Archives

What does productivity mean to you? Yes, it is about getting things done, but more importantly it is about getting the right things done at the right time.  It is also about making decisions. I am sure you know the feeling of being busy all day long only to wonder at the end of the day what you actually did.  Being busy is not necessarily being productive.  Today’s reality is that we are constantly being bombarded by stimulus (ex. cellphones, internet, social media, news, blog posts, emails, texts, electronic billboards, pop up ads, etc.) we have to be vigilante that all that stimulus doesn’t distract us from the important things. It’s a bit like that dog in the movie UP that yells “squirrel” and runs off after another distraction.

According to two online dictionary definitions, Productivity is “the quality state or fact of being able to generate, create, enhance or bring forth goods and services.” Or it means you “do a lot.” Both of those sound like being a robot; preprogrammed to action without thinking about whether or not what we are doing is important. How do you avoid that?

  1. First step is to set clear boundaries. That word has been overused somewhat but if you think of yourself with a fence around you and only one gate to get in that you control you will get a better idea of what I mean. All this outside stimulus just finds its way to our attention which takes our focus off of the important things or even just the things we want to do. With you in control you get to open the gate and let in only that which is important to you at the time. Or you can be standing in the middle of an open field with no fence and have all that “stuff” assault you from every direction. Which would you prefer?

Ways to set boundaries:

  • Handle or prevent those interruptions that you can control and find a way to limit or cut short those that have you at the mercy of someone else.
  • Turn off your alerts and decide when you will be available.
  • Check email three or four times a day, not constantly
  • Decide if “x” is worth your time, energy or effort before you say yes. Sure, you may want to do it all but at what price?
  • Make/take time for yourself
  1. Taking care of yourself is the next key. I understand you want to do all and be all but you can be of no help if you become ill or feel resentment. Self-care means making the time to exercise, eat healthy, get enough sleep, socialize and do the things that lower your stress level. Being organized makes your life easier too, why do things the hard way when you don’t have to?

Self-Care keys:

  • Create morning and evening routines that serve you that include a specific bedtime and wake up time.
  • Filter out the extraneous stuff. Let go of commitments you are no longer interested in or are of a lower priority.
  • Set aside some time for yourself. (Sometimes that means locking the bathroom door – do whatever it takes).
  • Organize so that you have efficient systems to handle the everyday stuff. Your home needs to serve you, not make your life more difficult. Make sure you can find what you need quickly and return it to that place when you’re done.
  • Choose wisely grasshopper, as you are trading away time that can never be regained.
  1. Planning and Prioritizing will keep the important things on the top of the list. Having a plan will keep you on track. By creating your list the night before you have time to think about how important those tasks are to you. Without a plan your day can go in any direction but often it is not the direction you want it to go in. Priorities should be based on your goals and dreams as you work towards creating the life of those dreams.

Ways to Plan and Prioritize:

  • It’s okay to not be able to do it all – some things should never be done, and some can easily be put off as long as you are the one that decides. Delegate what you can.
  • Prioritize tasks in a way that honors who you are.
  • Schedule in even the tiniest tasks. If you color code your calendar you can see where the majority of your energy and time is going.
  • Estimate how long you think a task will take and then time yourself. Don’t forget to include commuting time, prep time and clean up time.
  • Be realistic in the amount you can accomplish in one day. Start small and build your momentum by getting the higher priorities or the more distasteful (but important) ones done early.

Keeping these keys in mind will help you live the life you dream of. Good luck.

How to Increase Motivation

motivationMotivation – is what drives us to do something willingly. As Google says, “motivation is the reason or reasons one has for acting or behaving in a particular way.” It can be an internal reason or an external one. If you are motivated by internal or intrinsic rewards then the motivation comes from within you; like the feeling of a job well done, pride in yourself for reaching a goal, etc. This is what we would like to foster in our children and ourselves.

However, if you are motivated by external or extrinsic rewards – then things that can be bought or received (games, toys, $) will motivate you. This would be the “carrot” type of motivation. The opposite is the “stick” type of motivation where task completion is based on avoiding a punishment of sorts. There is a time and place for this type of motivation too but it has a downside.

In Daniel H. Pink’s book, Drive, he mentions that the carrot and stick type of motivation only works for simple, and/or uncreative type activities. Once a reward or a punishment is introduced it tends to narrow the focus and limits creativity. Pink says, “The drive to do something because it is interesting, challenging and absorbing – is essential for high levels of creativity” (p45). So if we are to become more creative and motivated at work, school or home, then the task/project needs to have three things. Pink refers to them as autonomy, mastery and purpose. The first as Pink calls it is “autonomy.” Autonomy means that you get to decide about the task, the timeframe and/or the method/approach you want to use. When you have this option, you are more willing to keep at something until you master it provided it also has a purpose – which are the other two necessities.

Think about a project or report you need to do for work. When you are given all the specifics and it is just a matter of putting the pieces together, are you inspired to do your best? Or do you just go through the motions in order to meet the deadline without even considering adding some creativity to it?

The more we know about what motivates us, the more opportunity we have to design our own projects and develop that inner creativity. We can also use what we learn to help our kids motivate themselves. Think about how hard it must be for them to do boring, busy work type homework. They have no power over decisions (i.e. no autonomy), are more interested in getting it done, than mastering the content and I am pretty sure they don’t see the big picture (purpose) in the homework either. Without motivation, kids are not developing an interest in learning for the fun of it, nor are they developing their creative problem solving skills. What kind of world will we have without creativity, motivation or a love of learning?

Effort or Grades – Which Means More?

080814-brainEvery day scientists are learning more and more about the brain. Research is proving that the brain can continue to grow new synapses (connections) no matter the age providing that it continues to learn “new” skills. Do you believe that your brain can grow or were you born with a certain amount of intelligence and that’s all there is?

I’m reading the book, Mindset, by Carol Dweck, Ph.D. Dweck believes that it is more important what you and/or your child believe about the brain and not what they believe about a grade or an IQ score. (Click here to watch a YouTube video of Dr. Dweck) Dweck’s premise is that there are two kinds of mindsets; fixed and growth. “Believing your qualities are carved in stone – the fixed mindset – creates an urgency to prove yourself over and over. “  So you strive for the good grades in order to feel good about yourself. Then when you do poorly on something, you feel like a failure. Your motivation dwindles because in this mindset, nothing you can do can improve your grade. You’re stuck in a fixed mindset.

On the other hand, “The growth mindset is based on the belief that your basic qualities are things you can cultivate through your efforts….everyone can change and grow through application and experience.” Same failed test causes the student with this mindset to study harder and to work at it until they get it. They are motivated to improve and believe there is no limit to what they can do with enough effort.

So, as parents, do you praise your child for their grades or for their effort? One (grades) will lead to a fixed mindset whereas; praising their effort will encourage them to continue to strive for excellence. Dweck says, “The view you adopt for yourself profoundly affects the way you lead your life.” What do you think? Let me know in the comment box below.

Motivation Holds the Key

This month’s student strategy is actually written for your child. It is an example of one of the messages in the End Homework Hassle (EHH) E-Learning course. EHH is a program that sends daily emails to your child/teen’s email inbox with tips, strategies and information about learning. Please feel free to copy it into an email to your child.

Motivation is that hidden power that gets you to do something that you might not have otherwise wanted to do. It has been defined as an “incentive, drive or desire to do.” It is the inspiration that pushes you to score that goal, or ace that test. It can help you keep at something when you would prefer to quit.

Now I know that it can be difficult to motivate yourself when it comes to school stuff. I get that. But without understanding the “why” behind what you are doing, you may never find that extra motivation to get you through the tough times.

They say there are two types of motivation, extrinsic and intrinsic. Some people are motivated by external or extrinsic rewards – things that can be bought or received (games, toys, $). Others are motivated by internal or intrinsic rewards. Intrinsic motivation is like the special feeling an “A” brings, or that feeling of pride in yourself when you make the honor roll. I think there are two other types of motivation – pain and pleasure. For those that are motivated by pain, they work harder to avoid the “pain” (getting grounded or losing the computer). Those motivated by pleasure are motivated to get things done in order to be rewarded like extra time with friends, or staying up later. So, once you know which motivates you, you can create options for increasing your own motivation.

Today I’d like you to think about what motivates you. What gives you that extra energy or incentive to push harder when you really don’t want to? Is it extrinsic, intrinsic, pain or pleasure motivated? Why are you working hard to get good grades and what helps push you to work your best? Share with your parents and get them on your team. You are half way through the school year… knowing this and using it, can help you through the rest of the year.

What is your key to motivating yourself? Finding your “why” and making it important. That will help you push through when the homework or the studying gets tough because you have a reason that is important to you. You have found what motivates you.

Motivation holds the key!

New Season, New Start: Goal Setting for Autumn

Happy AutumnHappy Autumn! It is now officially autumn and I can see some of the leaves starting to change color here in the northeast. I love fall but I sometimes feel that it is the shortest season of all. Before you know it the cold temperatures will be here with the excitement (notice I didn’t say stress) of the holiday season.

A new season for me means a new start but also serves as a reminder that the year is coming to an end. In fact there are only 98 days left to the year. Isn’t that scary? The reason I know that is thanks to Gary Ryan Blair who runs a “100 day challenge” program. I love the concept that it is not time to give up but rather time to push harder to get those goals off the list so come January 1st you are proud of what you have accomplished and motivated to keep going.

So, I’m taking a different approach this season. I am not going to go crazy (please hold me to that) by taking on EVERYTHING I want to get done between now and winter. Instead I am going to focus on three goals for October, three for November and maybe one for December. The reason I say three is because you can’t just look at one piece of your life without realizing how everything else is related. For instance, if you have low energy, then you can’t possibly be as effective at work or at home. Coaches may use different names for each category but the basic “parts” of your life can be broken down into categories such as; health, money, career, relationships, fun and recreation, physical environment, family, spiritual and personal growth. So I picked three goals for October in the areas of health, home and business. I know that announcing them publicly is the way to make me more accountable. You will check in on me, won’t you?

Here are my SMART (specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, and time specific) goals:

1. Health: I will work out or be physically active three or more days a week for 30 minutes or more for the month of October.

2. Home: I will redo my son’s room by the end of October.

3. Business: I will keep track of the hours I work and separate “work” from “my time” throughout October.

There! Now I am committed to those three goals. I deliberately made them easy to do so that I could be successful without killing myself. If I had said I will work out 5 or 6 days a week for 45-60 minutes, then once I failed, I wouldn’t want to keep going. So, make your goals not so tough that life events could cause you to fail, but also not so easy that you aren’t stretching yourself.

Now please use the comment box below to share your October goals (I’m giving you the last week of September to get ready) and let’s hold each other accountable.

If you’d like me to hold your son or daughter accountable for staying organized with their homework, then check out my End Homework Hassle E-Learning Course.

Thanks,

Laine

Goal Setting for Teens IV

Follow the road to motivation
Follow the road to motivation

Now that you have separated your goals into actionable steps and put them in your calendar, it is time to add in some reinforcement to help you succeed (please see previous posts). We all know how hard it is to start a new habit and maintain it. Sheer willpower does not work! You have probably heard the saying that it takes 21 days to change a habit. Writing down your action steps are the first step but that does not guarantee that when the time comes you will do it.  I think that by leveraging your environment you can increase your consistency and create a new habit in less time.

By leveraging your environment you can reinforce the habit you want to establish. The physical aspect of leveraging the environment would be putting things in place that would serve as reminders for the action you want to take. Reminder cards on your bedroom door, signs in the bathroom, or moving furniture around to better support your new habit are all examples of ways to use the environment to help you. You can color code your calendar or create a vision board that shows you and your life with your new habits established.

You can also link a new habit to something you automatically do now. For instance if your morning routine of getting ready for school is the same each day then you could link your new habit to some part of that routine that is already automatic. For example if brushing your teeth is automatic, you could review flashcards for those two minutes. By hooking something new to something already established you increase your odds of doing it.

You can also use your family and friends to help you. By asking for them to call you at a specific time or meet you somewhere only if you have done your action helps you become accountable. Just that little added pressure of having to explain your action to someone makes you more likely to do it.  That is one reason why coaching is so effective with teens. If you’d rather keep track of your progress yourself, then I recommend using a simple chart you can check off or what Darren Hardy calls a rhythm tracker. This will allow you to see how you are doing. Sometimes we give up because we missed one or two times. A rhythm tracker gives you the bigger picture. Save them so you can compare and try to increase your consistency each week.

There is also the use of technology to help you stay on track for working on your goals. Using your smartphone for alarms and reminders from your calendar or devices such as a Time Timer (clock that shows the passage of time in a more visual way) or MotivAider (vibrates like a pager but goes off as frequently as you want) can supply the external reminders you may need to establish that new habit. I know that if you take the time to think about ways you can put reminders out there, you can come up with those that will work for you – and that’s what’s most important.

Don’t try to do it on willpower alone. Put at least two of these accommodations into effect and see the impact they have. I’d love to hear about it. Please use the comment box below.

Set Three and Be Free: End Multitasking

Got Papers?

Learn how to

Tackle and Tame Your Papers

Thursday, March 19, 2009

At 7pm

Norwell Middle School Community Room

328 Main Street (Rte 123)

Norwell, Ma  02061

 

Design a system that will keep your papers under control once and for all. Never pay a late fee again or miss an invitation with this action center that keeps action items up front and gets them done.  Come join us for this free presentation. Call for more information: (781) 659-0513.

 

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Are you “crazy” busy all day and then come home exhausted wondering what did you actually accomplish today?

            No matter where you work or what you do you are exposed to the “instantness” of technology. The cellphone rings, the email dings and the fax hums. People want information or solutions instantly and often that means interrupting others, including you, to get it. You could spend an entire day responding to emails, phone calls or interruptions and never get a single thing crossed off your to do list. Sure, you may be accomplishing a great deal but is it the important stuff or just the “urgent” (louder, more in your face type)? 

            The facts are in from several studies indicating that we not only lose time when multitasking but also efficiency and mental capabilities. Some estimates indicate 20-40% decrease in our IQ when truly multitasking. If that is interfering with our ability to get things done then it’s no surprise that we often feel that nothing significant gets done. So the first step is to determine what is important. Usually we wait until some deadline or time limit (usually imposed by another) puts pressure on us to complete the task before we force ourselves to focus long enough to complete it. Needless to say this adds stress to our lives and possibly to others that we need to get information or help from when they are forced to adhere to our time table.

            So, determine what is important before you start each day. Be realistic and list only 3 tasks that you deem important. If only those three things were done, would you go home happy feeling like a success?

            Next find a block of time in the morning that you can work on the first task. Do not check your email before starting on this task. Julie Morgenstern, an organizing expert has written, “Never Check Email in the Morning” with lots of tips on how to be more effective at work. During this block of time which can be as short as 20 minutes or as long as 90 minutes, turn off audible notifications and do not answer the phone, or check email. Each time you switch between tasks you lose your focus and studies indicate it takes 15-25 minutes to regain that same amount of focus.

            Lastly, if you are interrupted or must stop unexpectedly, then write yourself a note explaining what your next step is. This will decrease the amount of time it takes you to get back into the “flow”. Continue with each task until completed, then check email or return phone calls. This puts you in control and not technology in control. Dr. Edward Hallowell suggests that, “…despite our belief that we cannot control how much we’re overloaded, we can. “We need to recreate boundaries,” he said. “That means training yourself not to look at your BlackBerry every 20 seconds, or turning off your cellphone.”

            There is no way to escape the onslaught of technology unless you make active choices. Start today and list your three most important, manageable tasks for tomorrow’s success. There, I finished my first task for today by publishing this blog. Next up the treadmill and then visiting a sick friend. Wishing you a successful day that you control. Let me know how you do.         

 

 

 

 

 

 

Week 7: One Day At A Time Towards Health

            I know you have heard it before. We all know we should but then, why don’t we? Exercise regularly that is. I recently stepped back to “people watch” and discovered how many people have difficulty moving about. I take my ability to walk, ride a bike, snowshoe, ballroom dance and swim for granted. I wonder if those I see shuffling along or using a cane or walker thought about what their bodies would be like 10-20 years in the future. It got me thinking. If you don’t have your health or your ability to move then your options are limited and your quality of life may suffer.

            A quick Google of the “benefits of exercise” results in over 22,600,000 hits. To summarize, it prevents certain types of cancers, lowers risk of Type 2 diabetes, improves cardiovascular health, may help you lose weight, the list goes on and on. Now who wouldn’t want any one of those – better yet, all of those?

            So, as part of this 12 week plan I think it is important to consider fitting in regular exercise. Take a look at your schedule, could you get up a bit earlier and work out or walk before going to work? Yes, I know you are already getting up early and it is very dark still and will be even darker next week when the clocks jump ahead but try it for a week and see how you feel. Or try doing something active for 30 minutes when you get home. Take it one day at a time. Sure at the beginning you won’t see any big changes but maybe you’ll notice a bit more energy or a better night’s sleep. If you keep at it you may notice your clothes fitting differently and that I think is a great motivator. Feeling thin and fit reinforces your willpower to continue. Change it up, don’t stick with the same type of activity every day or if you do remember to push yourself a bit extra each time. The body is designed to be worked (I read that somewhere) and you’ll notice that the more you work it, the better it will feel. Of course always check with your doctor before beginning an exercise program.

            Picture yourself 10 years from now, are you active and mobile or are you limited by what you can do? I for one do not wish to wait for someone else to push my wheelchair off the plane. I have been doing this for two weeks now and need another notch in my belt. Just typing that puts a smile on my face. I feel good knowing I am headed in the right direction. I wish all of you, the same success. Please let me know how you are doing.

 

What the right motivation can do

Mother and Daughter walk 60 miles for all of usThey made it! This mother and daughter team walked the entire 60 miles during the Susan G. Komen 3 Day Walk for the Cure!! The first day didn’t start out well, with rain and soggy sneakers occurring in the first few hours. That was followed by a last minute change in sleeping arrangements because the lightning made it unsafe to sleep in the tents. But in spite of these difficulties they continued on with the over 2000 other walkers because they knew they weren’t walking for themselves but for all of us.

Their determination and commitment helped push them each mile. I think they learned something very important about themselves over those three days and so did all of us cheering from the side lines….if you find something that touches your heart….there is no limit to what you can do and together we can make a difference. Way to go ladies! I knew you could do it. Now readers, what inspires you?

What inspires you?

Where does inspiration and motivation come from? Here are two women that have inspired me and I hope will inspire you too. Together we can make a difference but it starts with each of us finding something we are passionate about and then doing something about it. The key here is ACTION.

 

My lifelong friend, Rosemonde, found inspiration and motivation where she least expected it – in a TV commercial!  She was sitting on the couch “relaxing” as she often did, when a commercial for the Susan G. Komen Three Day Breast Cancer walk came on. She had seen these commercials before and is not a stranger to the pain and suffering breast cancer causes having watched her mother struggle and succumb to it over 20 years ago. But something was different this year, somehow her doubts about making a difference as one person faded away and she decided that for herself, her daughter and all her female friends she would step up and do something about it. She went to the meeting to get more details and there she signed on for the 60 mile walk. She was given advice and a training schedule that would help her “train” for this incredible event. Now keep in mind, Rosemonde doesn’t even like to walk on a treadmill. Yet she has persevered through the training by walking and cross training daily and steadily increasing the distance. This weekend as part of the training she is to walk 18 miles on Saturday and 15 miles on Sunday.  The training is a big time commitment and she has had to organize her life around it. She is doing it and I know she will make it through. I am so proud of her!

 

When Rosemonde’s daughter, Joia, got the news she immediately signed on in support of her mother and in memory of the grandmother she never knew. Distance keeps them from training together but Joia has taken on the challenge. She has had to organize her life around college, work and training for not one but two events! Joia is a runner and had set her sights on running a marathon and so this year she will be joining her mother for the Three Day walk in August and running the NYC marathon as part of Team for Kids in November! Team for Kids is “… committed to improving the health and fitness of children across the United States and around the world. Team for Kids programs teach children the fundamentals of lifetime fitness, while building their fortitude and focus and increasing their self-discipline and self-esteem. Just last night there was a news report on childhood obesity and the alarming decrease in the amount of physical activity of children today. This is not only causing health problems at early ages but social, academic and self esteem issues as well. What a great program to support.

 

If you’re shaking your head and agreeing with me but thinking I am only one person, I can’t make a difference. Then think again! Rosemonde is making a difference and Joia is making a difference and all those that support those that can make that commitment – are also making a difference. Together we are stronger. What inspires you to action?

 

Each participant needs to raise a minimum of $2200.00 in order to take part in these events. For more information on these events or to donate in support of Rosemonde and/or Joia please use the links below:

 

Joia:

The 3 Day

 http://08.the3day.org/site/TR/Walk/BostonEvent?px=1679603&pg=personal&fr_id=1182

 

The NYC marathon Team for Kids:

https://www.nyrrc.org/cgi-bin/start.cgi/mar-programs/nyrrf/team/2008/donations.htm

Joia’s entry number : 258170

Last name: Spinelli

 

http://www.teamforkids.org/

 

The 3 Day: Rosemonde:     http://08.the3day.org/goto/rospinelli

Together we are stronger. 

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