Monday, June 27, 2011

Time to Get Ready for School - Already?

I know, we have over a month before school starts. (Here, anyway - some of you have considerably more time left!) But even though we're in the midst of summer vacation, it's time to (re)start school-year habits. This will make the first weeks of school much easier for everyone!

First, start adjusting the kids' bedtime back on what will be school nights. Ten to fifteen minutes at a time, for a week or two, until it's the week before school starts and bedtime is normal. If you can't bear that, try just five minutes or so for four or five days at a time. At our house, bedtime will be 9pm, but it's currently around 10. So starting July 5, it's going to be 9:45 for two weeks, then 9:30 for a week, then 9:15 for a week, then 9:00. (Wake-up time gets adjusted accordingly, too!)

Next, if your kids haven't been involved in a summer reading program, take advantage of one. Get them back to reading independently at least 15 minutes each day. If they're cooperative, have them write letters or book reports on their favorites, or help you write out the grocery list. Anything to sharpen dull handwriting skills.

Also, begin limiting computer, TV, and video game time. Like bedtime, this can be done in small increments. While these are great ways to kill time over the summer, kids are seeing an average of over a hundred commercials (and more ads, if they spend time on the Internet) each day. Especially limit viewing later in the day, as this can affect sleep quality at night. I've said it before, but never allow kids to have the TV on in their rooms at night - those who do are more likely to have sleep problems, poor sleep, and to suffer from problems associated from poor sleep, such as attention problems during the day, and obesity.

Finally, it's time for older kids to start managing their time in preparation for homework. Introduce them to a day planner. Buy something simple or print your own and let them customize it. For now, they can keep track of chores or library due dates, and check things off as they get done. Once school starts, a standard planner is much better than an assignment notebook for keeping track of work. This is especially true for long-term projects or reports that will require daily attention over more than one day!

With this kind of advance planning, your kids may still not like school, but school days will be easier - on them and on you!

Friday, June 17, 2011

Summer Survey

What special package or program would you like to see available this fall - especially if it was at a smokin' hot rate?

Time management

Stress management

Clutter management

"Kitchen Table Coaching & Counseling" (like Grandma used to do)

By popular demand, the fall lineup will definitely include another 100-day challenge or 4th quarter blitz - everybody is doing these! And while they are sort of fun, they take a lot of time. I will still be sure to set aside time for general coaching appointments, but I would also like to offer at least one other program. If there is enough interest in one particular thing, I could be persuaded to offer it at an extreme discount.

So, any of those above get your vote? Or is there something else you'd recommend? E-mail me ASAP before July 4th on this - I'll be working on my fall calendar the rest of that week!

Even if you aren't likely to take advantage but would still like to put in your two cents, please do! I really need a certain number of responses, so you'd be doing me a huge favor if you forwarded the link to this blog to friends or coworkers. I promise as always I will never collect email addresses, I never send unasked for email, and I absolutely never sell any lists like that! I just need your input!

Sunday, June 12, 2011

I Won't, But Your Child Might

When many people (neighbors, parents of our child's friends, etc.) find out I've spent years studying psychology, they are quick to assume I'm analyzing every nuance of their behavior. Usually, nothing of the sort is going on. It takes far to much energy to engage in covert analysis, particularly if I'm not being paid to do it, for one thing. For another, I've found that it's unsettling when I'm the one being analyzed in such a scenario. My child, three years ago, before I had my last degree, concluded a discussion with me by a tilt of the head to one side, a quick frown of consideration, and then the pronouncement of "You've lost it somewhere!"

However, this doesn't mean I don't play mental hypochondriac with myself from time to time, analyzing my own behavior!

Here's an example of how that works.

I know my multi-tasking ability has decreased somewhat over the last couple years. That's mostly from lack of steady practice and it's been intentional: I can't be completely present with a client or even my kid if I'm also working on something else. But the lack of practice shows up when I'm forced to multi-task and I'm not prepared for it.

Let's say I've been doing some light reading about NLP or Wernicke Korsakoff syndrome. (Yes, I can curl up with a text book as easily as a Stephen King novel.) So I'm reading about the cerebrum and spouse asks if I'd like a snack, and while I'm still looking at the page, I tell him that if there's any cerebrum, I'd like a stick with peanut butter. Then I say something like $#!&@ and correct myself. "Celery, I mean!"

While my family just laughs, I get concerned. Sheesh, am I having little micro-strokes and not realizing it? Do I have a brain tumor? Or - gasp - is it possibly just the result of getting older? (Most likely, but there's no cure for that one!) I haven't seen research to back this up, but since I started keeping track, I noticed that the whole wrong word thing seems to precede tension headaches. I don't get auras with migraines, so I guess this is my trade-off.

So I've got a mission this summer, which is to see if I can find any connection between apraxia and tension headaches. If you happen to run across any research, please let me know!

And in the meantime, if we happen to run into each other at the store or something, don't worry - I'm not analyzing you. Chances are, your kids already have.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Local News!

Well, hooray! I just got my permit to do business within my city limits. This is nice since it expands my potential client base, and really, I'd love to be able to help people who are essentially neighbors!

So, to all you Maricopa residents, Hi!

Odds are, unless you contacted me online, we've never talked. But since we're all in this same "small town" together, it might be easier to just meet for coffee than online (especially with the recent Internet outages).

If I can help in any way, please let me know!