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5 Activities to Help Your Child Succeed

October 3, 2013 in Uncategorized

It can be frustrating to watch your child struggle in school. Sometimes as a parent, you wonder how you can help your child to be more successful and happier with their school days. There are actually quite a few activities that you can participate in to help your child develop the traits and skills she will need to do better in her schoolwork. These five activities will make for some fun afternoons filled with relationship building and skill learning.

Magic Tricks

As silly as it may seem, learning and practicing magic tricks with your child can benefit them in their studies. Magic tricks take a lot of focus and concentration to do correctly. This activity will help your child to be more detail-oriented which will definitely help with math and science. As time goes on you both might get so good that you can work towards more advanced tricks or even create your own. If you don’t feel like you or your child will be interested in learning magic tricks, you can always choose a different hobby that will take an equal amount of patience and attention to master.

Breathing Exercises

Perhaps one reason why your child isn’t enjoying school is because he gets too stressed to be able to properly do hiswork. Help your child learn some breathing exercises that will help to calm him in a stressful schooling environment. During these calming exercises, help your child visualize being successful in all of the things he wishes to do whether it be school, a sport, or some other activity that he loves. Meditating can help your child to focus and feel refreshed and confident as they get back to work.

Story Writing

Writing stories together is a great opportunity for you to really get to know your child better. This activity will help you see the world from your child’s perspective and also get a feel for your child’s interests, sense of humor, concerns, or feelings. Suggest to your child that the two of you write an entire book of stories together. Although you and your child might want to see the results right away, this activity will take time and help your child to practice patience in her endeavors. Additionally, story writing is a great way for your child to use some of the creativity she may have been storing up all day.

“What’s Different?”

A great way to work on your child’s memory and attention span is to play a game called “What’s Different?” Have your child sit in a room with you and notice everything about it. Then have your child step out while you change three or four things in the room. You can move a pillow from one side of the couch to the other, move the clock ahead six hours, turn a cup upside, or anything else. Have your child come back and try to notice what is different in the room. Take turns testing each other and play it in a different room every time so that you don’t get bored.

Strategy Games

To develop your child’s strategy skills and help them learn to make plans, play strategic games together. Board games like chess, checkers, Clue, or Monopoly will help your child to realize that success takes planning and time. Playing these games will show your child that it is important to make daily plans, set goals, and be aware of other factors that may affect success. Children don’t have to feel alone while they are trying to succeed in school. Show your child that you support them and that you have confidence in their abilities. Spend time with your child to develop special skills and abilities. Along the way you may find that what they really needed to succeed was just a little extra care and attention from a parent that they love and admire.

Special thanks to our guest contributor!

Melanie Hargrave is a wife and homemaker whose pride and joy is her family. In addition to spending time with her husband and daughters, she loves being outdoors, playing sports, collecting wooden chess pieces and sharing her experiences with others.

5 Ways to Improve Your Child’s Study Habits

September 19, 2013 in Uncategorized

With school in full swing again, it’s important to create an environment where kids have the best possible opportunity to learn and excel. Lessons build on one another, so if a child needs some help to learn from home more effectively, earlier is better. If you’re wondering how to build good habits, or just maintain your child’s enthusiasm, check out these simple ideas.
1. Learn how your child learns

One of the biggest mistakes that parents (and even some teachers) make is to assume that children will learn the same way they do. We use a single word, “intelligence”, to describe what are actually a variety of different skills and mental processes—and sometimes you’ll have to put extra work in when a subject isn’t being taught the way your child learns. All of the following tips will be more effective if you can tailor them to your child’s cognitive style: it affects the way children respond to boundaries, the way they remember, and the environment they need to learn effectively.

2. Be available

You don’t need to hover to help your child study—in fact, it may be counterproductive—but being “around” can make a big difference, as you can gently steer them away from distractions and offer help if they’re stuck. The challenge is to be helpful without doing the hard thinking for them, or letting them become completely hopeless. Every child’s balance between beneficial frustration and despair will be different, so you’ll have to discover that together.

3. Encourage physical activity prior to study

Whether it’s a brisk walk or participating in school athletics, studies have shown a clear link between physical activity and improved academic performance. In addition to the cognitive benefits of long-term fitness, light physical exercise prior to study can improve circulation, regulate mood, and shake off afternoon drowsiness—all of which make kids (and grown-ups) more effective learners.

For bodily/kinesthetic learners, you may even want to integrate physical activity into learning exercises. And for kids who are less-enthusiastic about exercise, remember that they don’t need to come in gasping for breath to benefit—a quick walk around the block with them is just as good, and a great opportunity to let them “unpack” their day with you. Another idea is to create a daily learning cheer like this one to use before school and before kids sit down to do their homework.

4. Create a conducive environment for study

However your child learns best, environment can help. Some kids need space to move around; others are helped by quiet music. Some kids need solitude to focus and think—others are helped by being able to discuss concepts and bounce ideas around. In general, though, make sure there are no TV or video games available during study time. Try not to take phone calls until afterward. If you live in a smaller home, room divider screens can create a little study cubicle without totally cutting kids off.

In addition to creating a study space, it helps to establish a study time; all kids benefit from consistency and boundaries. A dedicated study time prevents other activities from getting in the way—and even when your child has completed their daily assignments, it’s a good time to read or work on long-term projects, so that study becomes a non-optional part of the day.

5. Be attentive to what works and what doesn’t

Because every child is unique, the process of learning how to be helpful with study is going to be a process of trial and error. Nobody gets it completely right the first time (or the second, or the ten-thousandth), but you can always be looking for ways to make things better.

Don’t be afraid to try new activities or teaching methods—and when you do, pay attention to your child’s body language and verbal cues. Invite them to talk about the subjects and activities they enjoy, and why—as well as the ones they find difficult or boring. Above all, be flexible—when something works, keep doing it. When things go badly, try to identify the reason and make a change. It sounds obvious, but over time, that simple refining process can be life-changing.


Mike Freiberg is a staff writer for HomeDaddys, a resource for stay-at-home dads, work-at-home dads, and everything in between. He’s a handyman, an amateur astronomer, and a tech junkie, who loves being home with his two kids. He lives in Austin.

On Cyber Bullying as a Social Phenomenon

August 21, 2013 in Uncategorized

by Dr. Tali Shenfield, Clinical Psychologist

Our society has changed a great deal over the last fifty years. Technology has increased our ability to communicate with each other. The world has gone wireless and the average human being today carries in his or her pocket more communication potential than that possessed by any mid-Twentieth Century government office.

It is not surprising that this vast network of communication has a great deal of influence on our children. The continuous adoption of new technologies has become a social game-changer. Lifestyles, and modes of social interaction are in a constant state of flux. These new developments also cause a number of new problems, not the least of which is a loss of social skills. Social skills are an art form. An analogy can be made to the art of painting. At one time, it was quite beneficial to be able to paint a recognizable reproduction of a real-life scene. Then along comes the camera, making it possible to reproduce an image without having to pick up a brush. The camera reduced the necessity of realistic painting, and also had a great deal of influence on the kind of image which is created.

While we have, in our present society, a greater ability to communicate than at any time in the past, the quality of that communication has dropped drastically. The ability to engage in coherent and intelligent debate has almost completely vanished. Political candidates now debate in sound bites because that’s what the technology facilitates. Disagreements are now often reduced to shouting matches, both on and off the Internet.

Technology has also given rise to a new form of harassment called cyber bullying. For young people, online social networks have become an important part of gaining social acceptance. Children are considered outcasts if they don’t have a Facebook page. In fact, the need for communication over the Internet is so great that children often use it as an argument against their parents attempts to restrict Internet access.

When a universal increase in the ability to communicate is coupled with a lowering of the quality of communication, it results in an inevitable increase in rudeness and cruelty. Bullying is often the result.

Because of this, parents should be informed of the dangers as well as the advantages of the Internet.

One of the big problems with cyber bullying is that it is not direct and face to face. Anyone with a computer can make rude, viscous or denigrating remarks against another person without fear of physical reprisal. While the anonymity of the Internet may give power to the powerless, it also gives power to the crude and the ruthless.

Cyber bullying has become a very serious problem that has already resulted in more than one death by suicide. Cyber bullying is most severe among teenage girls, although boys are sometimes victims or the bullies.

The lack of face-to-face contact gives courage to bullies and makes them feel invincible. Because of this, they may make a far more serious assault than they would if they had to physically confront their victim.

One of the dangers of cyber bullying is that children rarely report it to their parents when it happens. This is primarily due to fears that parents will restrict internet access, overreact, under-react, or simply not understand.

Since your child may not reveal when he or she is being bullied, it is very important to understand and look for the signs of cyber bullying. Here is what you should look for:

  • Sudden withdrawal from online communication
  • Your child blocks or clears the screen or closes the browser when you enter the room. The same applies if your child closes or quickly puts away his phone.
  • Withdrawal from friends or an unwillingness to participate in social activities with his or her peers.
  • A rapid change in mood after being online or using a cell phone.
  • Your child suddenly changes his circle of friends.
  • Your child is withdrawn, sad or agitated for no apparent reason.

Here’s what you can do about cyber bullying.

  • Maintain communication with your children. Don’t lecture or fuss, just let them know that you are willing to listen and that they can come to you if they have a problem. They are not alone.
  • If they have done something over which they are embarrassed, such as sending an inappropriate picture of themselves to someone else, or they are embarrassed by the bullying itself, let them know that you won’t punish them, you are simply concerned for their safety.
  • Take action. Let the school or the authorities know what is happening. Many law enforcement agencies now have special task groups who investigate incidents of cyber bullying.
  • Be particularly vigilant if your child has a developmental disorder. Children with disorders such as ADHD, ODD, and Autism are more likely to be bullied and to be bullies. They tend to act impulsively and don’t always understand the subtleties of social interaction.

And finally, stay computer literate. Learn the language of social media. You can find out a lot at By learning about social media, you open up the communication lines between yourself and your child, because you have knowledge of social media in common. A parent who knows social media is one of the best defenses against cyber bullying.

Child Psychologist- Dr. Tali Shenfield, C.Psychotherapy.Author Bio: Dr. Tali Shenfield is a Child Psychologist and a Clinical Director of Richmond Hill Psychology Center. She holds a PhD in Psychology from the University of Toronto and is a member of the College of Psychologists of Ontario, Canadian Register of Health Service Providers in Psychology, and Canadian Psychological Association. If you’d like more information about Dr. Shenfield, you can find it on her website:

Head Start for Back to School

August 7, 2013 in Uncategorized


5 Ways to Give Kids a Head Start for Back-to-School

Simple changes that will make life easier for everyone


Going back to school is tough for most kids—it’s a sudden blast of social anxiety, new responsibilities, and unfamiliar territory that hit all at once, and can leave both parents and kids feeling a little shell-shocked. Here are some ways you can make the transition more pleasant, and help your kids do better in school.

1. Identify your child’s learning style

Not all kids speak the same learning language—and that creates a monumental challenge for teachers, who have to learn how to reach dozens of kids with unique and sometimes incompatible learning styles. Parents can make this task much simpler by working to identify how their children learn best, and shoring up the teacher’s efforts at home. Parents armed with that understanding can change the way they handle homework, help kids study more effectively, and identify when it’s time to schedule a parent-teacher conference.

2. Maintain consistency and responsibility

The kids who struggle the most with returning to school are the ones who have the fewest responsibilities and rules at home. The timetables and assignments that school brings can be overwhelming to a child who hasn’t had opportunities to practice accountability, or whose home environment isn’t consistent. Kids who have chores, schedules, and responsibilities at home will adapt to the rigors of school much more readily.

3. Create social opportunities now

Especially for teens and pre-teens, the social pressure of school overwhelms almost every other consideration. Kids who have difficulty making friends can find the first week of school almost paralyzing—where will I sit at lunch? How will I deal with a classroom full of unfamiliar faces?

Parents can help by getting to know neighbors whose children will be in the same classes, and creating opportunities for kids to get to know each other too. This type of arrangement can be a little awkward, but you can make it easier by being aware of your child’s personality and learning type, and creating situations where they’ll be more comfortable.

4. Talk about back-to-school fears

Without grown-up tools to handle and express emotion, kids who face the stress and anxiety of going back to school will often become withdrawn or act out. Parents can help guide kids through this process by encouraging kids to talk through their fears. Depending on how your kid best expresses themselves, you might want to provide paints or music to help them get in touch with their feelings—asking them to paint a picture of the first day of school, inviting them to pick a song that they want to hear, or asking them to tell the story of their first day.

In most cases, they’ll express healthy, normal fears about school, but just having a safe place to let them out will make them feel (and behave) much better. And if there are other problems like fear of a particular subject or even bullying, you’ll have more tools to take the necessary action.

5. Keep sleep schedules consistent

Sleep is probably the most underrated element in school success, and the first couple weeks of school are a challenge for millions of kids who don’t have a good sleep schedule during the summer. The first month of school is critical for building healthy relationships with schoolmates and teachers, as well as retaining essential information—but kids who are still experiencing a summer “hangover” won’t be able to do their best. By starting the adjustment to school-year sleep schedules now, parents can give kids a huge leg-up as they start classes.


Mike Freiberg is a staff writer for HomeDaddys, a resource for stay-at-home dads, work-at-home dads, and everything in between. He’s a handyman, an amateur astronomer, and a tech junkie, who loves being home with his two kids. He lives in Austin.

Back-to-School Virtual Book Tour

July 29, 2013 in Uncategorized

Join Kidzmet as we visit some of our favorite places on—and off—the Web and kick off back-to-school with a virtual book tour. We’ll be talking up why discovering how your kids LIKE to learn plays such an important role in helping them develop into lifelong learners in the following places during the month of August.

Would you like your site to be included on our virtual book tour? Find out more and/or sign up here!

Home Educating Family’s Facebook Party – Thursday, August 1 @ 5p Pacific / 8p Eastern

There will be a special Kidzmet doorway prize for everyone who joins the fun! Details here


MerlotMommy guest post – Sunday, August 4





Tidbits of Experience guest post – Monday, August 5






MommyUnwired guest post – Monday, August 5




TeVelde School of Music (open to the public) – Arroyo Grande, CA – Saturday, August 10 at 10a

Seating is limited. Email to reserve your spot



SerenityYou guest post – Tuesday, August 13






FamilyShare article – Wednesday, August 14





Hip Homeschool Moms Playbook Kit Giveaway (1 kit per day) – August 14, 15 & 16



howtolearn – Best 5 Reasons Why Learning Personality Tests Are Important  August 16


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Special Surprise! Be sure to check our Facebook page & Twitter feed for the announcement – Friday, August 16

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TutorUniverse guest post – Wednesday, August 21





Joy in the Morning guest post – Monday, August 19




WhileHeWasNapping guest post – Wednesday, August 21




ParentClick Back-to-School Guide article – August 21





A WAHM’s Life guest post – Tuesday, August 20




Barnes & Noble – Thousand Oaks, CA – Monday, August 26



Tabitha Philen Google Hangout & Interview – Tuesday, August 27



Mother-Mel guest post – Wednesday, August 28




OnMyOwnNerves guest post – Thursday, August 29


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