Keeping the Holidays Fun Part 3
The Happy Student Podcast

The Happy Student Podcast #89: Keeping the Holidays Fun Part 3

Traveling with kids over the holidays is hard. Fireborn’sgot a few tips for you to keep the meltdowns at bay. We hope you have a happyholiday season!

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Travel tips for your family:

  • Prepare your kids for “the waits”.
    • Because so many people are traveling too, there are going to be times when you just have to wait. And waiting isreally hard for kids. You can make “the waits” a little easier on your kids bygiving them a heads up that they are about to happen.
      • Such as, “Okay, the plane is about to land. Then we have to go to the car rental. That can take some time and can be really boring. I want you to be prepared to wait for a while while I get the car.”
  • Have some surprises for your kids during those boring waiting times.
    • Books on tape and podcasts are also great options.
    • And babies enjoy things like keys and measuring cups. If you bring some tape, once they get bored of the keys and measuring cups separately, if you just tape them together, they have a brand new toy.
  • Use screens to your advantage while traveling.
    • With that said, I’m less okay with screen time when you’re hanging out with the family. So it’s important to communicate this with your kid. Talk to your kids ahead of time about what is expected.
  • Make sure you leave for the airport with plenty of time. There’s nothing more stressful than being in a time crunch with kids.
  • At the airport, find a home base.
  • If you’re driving, try to go at off times to reduce the likelihood of traffic.
  • Scout out food options ahead of time so that you make sure you know where you’ll eat before your kids start to get hangry.
  • Bring lots of paper towels and wetwipes for the inevitable spills.

WHAT ARE YOUR THOUGHTS?

I would love to hear your thoughts on this episode! Comment below or send us an email!

HERE’S HOW TO SUBSCRIBE & REVIEW

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The Happy Student Title: #88: Getting Happy
Great for All Ages, Parent Tips, The Happy Student Podcast

The Happy Student Podcast #88: Finding Happiness

Fireborn’s podcast, The Happy Student, is based on the assumption that we all want our kids to have a happy academic and social life and yet we’ve never specifically talked about happiness – what it is and how to get it. When we talk about “happy” often people think about those fleeting really joyful, blissful moments when people tend to think, “Wow. I’m really happy.” Those moments are fantastic and we definitely want our kids to have lots of those, but what we really mean at Fireborn is something much more lasting. Joy and pleasure are momentary feelings and we want our kids to have an overall feeling of well-being and satisfaction. It’s a generally positive experience of life where our kids feels like they’re flourishing, fulfilling their potential and thriving.

The Happy Student Title: #88: Getting Happy

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I was at this conference over the weekend and one of the speakers, Ransom Stephens, talked about how “Paradise is easier to find than it is to recognize.” And his point was that when we look back at certain times in our lives, we think, “Wow. That was a really great time.” But during that time, we may not have actually realized how great it was. It’s only looking back that we recognize that we were living in paradise. And that’s because even though we may have found paradise, we don’t recognize it because we get caught up in momentary setbacks and worrying about the future and we don’t take the time to be grateful for all the good that is happening right now.

Martin Seligman is one of the first leading researchers on happiness and positive psychology. And he wrote this book a while ago called Authentic Happiness. And in his book he talks about four levels of happiness:

  1. The pleasant life: A life that successfully pursues the positive emotions about the present, past, and future. (So a life based on finding pleasure and moments of joy. This is the more fleeting type of happiness. It’s a search for pleasurable moments.)
  2. The good life: Using your signature strengths to obtain abundant gratification. (So in this life, you do what you are good at and you find gratification from using those skills).
  3. The meaningful life: Using your signature strengths and virtues in the service of something much larger than you are. (So using those “signature strengths” – the things you are specifically good at – to accomplish something meaningful that goes beyond yourself, beyond finding gratification just for yourself).
  4. The full life: Experiencing positive emotions about the past and future, savoring positive feelings from the pleasures, deriving abundant gratification from your signature strengths and using those strengths in the service of something larger to obtain meaning. (So people living their full life notice when they are experiencing positive emotions, they are mindful and live in the present moment, they notice the things they are grateful for, they use their signature strengths – when we use our signature strengths that makes us happier, and they find meaning in their work – they have big ambitions, they learn and grow with life.) Authentic Happiness pages 262 & 263

David Meyers, who wrote another book on happiness called The Pursuit of Happiness, defines happiness or rather, well-being in his words, as a state of mind… it is an ongoing perception that this time of one’s life, or even life as a whole, is fulfilling, meaningful and pleasant. It is what some people experience as joy – not ephemeral euphoria, but a deep and abiding sense that, despite the day’s woes, all is, or will be, well. The Pursuit of Happiness pages 23 & 24

Eric Barker, author of Barking Up the Wrong Tree explains, “the happiest people do have their share of stresses, crises, and even tragedies. They may become just as distressed and emotional in such circumstances as you or I, but their secret weapon is the poise and strength they show in coping in the face of challenge.”

Researchers recommend the following:

  1. Express Gratitude. Humans have a natural tendency to focus on the negatives. It’s called the negativity bias. By focusing on what we are grateful for each day, we retrain our brains to focus on the positives, making us happier. So each night at dinner or before bed, ask your kids what they are grateful for. If they need help, tell them what you are grateful for first.
  2. Live in and really savor the present moment. This goes with expressing gratitude – it’s all about enjoying the good things in life and focusing on the positives. You can also savor the past. That’s good for you too. Meditation can really help with this.
  3. Strive: Have a passion, find your purpose, make goals, and be ambitious. We are happier when we find meaning in what we are doing – when we feel that we have purpose bigger than ourselves. So find something that you are passionate about because that will help you find that purpose. Then set an ambitious goal and work toward it. That’s all part of that thriving we talked about earlier.
  4. Do what you are good at. It just feels good to do what we are good at. When you are challenged just the right amount and have just the right amount of skill, that’s when you enter your “flow” state and that’s super good for your happiness levels. So encourage your kids to find ways to do what they are good at and to get better at those things.
  5. Nurture and enjoy close relationships. Connection is a basic human need so having strong relationships and social support is essential to happiness.
  6. Be Optimistic. Optimistic people are more resilient against depression and perform better at challenging tasks. To practice optimism, when bad things happen, remind yourself that they are temporary, like when you get a bad grade on a test, instead of saying, “I’m an idiot” say “I needed to study more. Next time I will.” Then, when good things happen, optimistic people view them as permanent, like when they do well on a test they say, “I studied really hard. I am a hard worker.” Or “I am really smart!”
  7. Practice Self-Acceptance. Self-acceptance is “to be on our own side – to be for ourselves” (Smith, 2006, p. 39). It’s to have self-compassion for ourselves.
  8. Understand your Personal Power. You have the ability to change your life. If something bad has happened, it’s up to you to decide what to do with that. You can let it get you down, or you can see that you have the opportunity to overcome any challenge. Your personal power is your ability to decide how you will respond to events that are outside of your control.
  9. Get your Sleep, Eat, and Exercise. Sleeping and eating are basic human needs. If those needs aren’t met, your body simply can’t think about other things. Like if you’re at a party and should be having a ton of fun, but you’re hungry, you are not having a ton of fun – you are HANGRY. You simply have to meet your basic needs. Exercise keeps your body healthy, which is also a basic need, but it also does this amazing thing where it literally makes you feel better after you’ve done 30 minutes of cardio, (or maybe even less if you’ve developed a habit).

So how do you get your kids to actually do these things?

  1. Do them yourself. Take care of yourself (mentally and physically), talk about what you are thankful for, meditate and live in the present moment. Be compassionate with yourself when you make a mistake.
  2. When you are doing these things, narrate your experience. When you messed up on a project at work, be optimistic and say, “Oh, I forgot to turn this project in at work on time. I was just so busy and was really tired. I will do better next time.” When you’re tired and need to engage in some self-care, say so. “I’m really tired. I am going to go to bed early tonight.”
  3. Talk to your kids about each of these things. Share stories of how you express gratitude and what you strive for. Ask them to tell you what they are grateful for. Talk to them about their friendships and give advice on how to be a better friend. Discuss the importance of meditation and invite them to join you in your meditation practice. Ask your kids what they are good at and what they want to practice getting better at. Maybe they want to get better at soccer. Get a soccer ball and practice together sometime.

Fireborn is running an end of the year fundraising campaign. If you’ve been enjoying what you hear on our podcast, please consider donating to our campaign. You can find it on Facebook or just go to our website, fireborninstitute.org, and donate there. We work hard to keep our resources free and we rely on listeners like you to do so! So please consider giving any amount, even $1, to help us keep this podcast going!

WHAT ARE YOUR THOUGHTS?

I would love to hear your thoughts on this episode! Comment below or send us an email!

HERE’S HOW TO SUBSCRIBE & REVIEW

Want to be the first to know when a new episode is released? Click here to subscribe to The Happy Student on iTunes!

Podcast reviews are important to iTunes and the more reviews we can receive, the more likely we will be able to get our podcast and important messages in front of more parents! I would greatly appreciate if you clicked here and left a review letting me know your thoughts on this episode!

Jill Caryl Weiner “When We Became Four”
Parent-Child Communication, The Happy Student Podcast

The Happy Student #87: Jill Caryl Weiner “When We Became Four”

Growing your family is fun and stressful for both parents and big sibs! Jill Caryl Weiner has created a memory book that is not only funny and fun to fill out, but that also helps everyone in the family (parents and big sib) prepare for this new addition. The prompts and quotes in her book can actually help the family grow to be stronger and closer. Find out how!

Jill Caryl Weiner “When We Became Four”

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Jill is an author and journalist who has written about parenting and educational issues, among other things, for the New York Times, TimeOut NY Kids, Mom365.com and other publications and websites.

Her first book, When We Became Three: A Memory Book for the Modern Family is a baby memory book for the couple having their first baby that lets parents record all the fun and chaos that ensues. It was just named one of the best pregnancy books of all time by The Book Authority. She’s got a new memory book out called When We Became Four: A Memory Book for the Whole Family.

  • “When my daughter was born I wanted to give her a memory book. I was very nervous about having this baby and what it would do to my relationship with my husband and how it would impact on us as individuals and I was worried about my identity…I started looking at them and they were so very old fashioned. They were all about the baby, when the baby rolls over, the dates, and all these statistics. I was like, I’m not going to be able to remember that. This book is going to make me feel guilty. I need a book that’s going to represent me and my husband as a couple. Also, wouldn’t it be great if it shows how everyone changes?”
  • This memory book is based on your feelings and memories, so it can be completed at any point in time.
  • It is more of a fun book, rather than something parents feel like they “should” do. “Humor is very truthful.” Especially in hindsight, these stories are very funny.
  • It helps show that you are not alone. There are other sleep-deprived zombies!

What are some things that families struggle with as they grow?

  • Before the baby is born parents can get nervous about losing quality time with their first born and losing quality time with his/her partner. They often wonder how will they manage another human being when they are barely managing how things are going currently?

How does your book help with the transition to the larger family?

  • It brings the family together for fun, quality bonding.
  • It allows the family an opportunity to deal with some issues that can come up. The book gives everyone in the family a safe place to express him/herself. It helps foster communication.
  • It can enhance big sibs involvement and communication with the family and offer a healthy outlet for the feelings that big sib might have. It reminds big sib that they are important and that what they’re feeling matters.

So part of the point of these books is to use the prompts and quotes in the book to help your family grow into a stronger, close-knit family. Would you mind sharing one of those prompts or quotes with us to give an example of how it does that?

  • It helps create a narrative of this time together.
  • It also tells the whole story of your family which helps create empathy for each other.
  • There’s a prompt about matching responsibilities to a person. This helps alleviate all of the responsibilities that often falls on the mother. It also allows the big sib to get involved in these responsibilities and lets them know that they too have things they can do with the baby.
  • Similarly, there’s a prompt about expectations for each member of the family.

Some ending thoughts…

  • Express your feelings in a fun way.
  • You might worry about having the new baby, when really the baby is like whipped cream for your family.
  • You have to be mindful that if there’s going to be a big change you try to make that transition sooner.
  • There are ways to spin things to keep each other in the process.
  • Make sure the big sib knows they’re not forgotten about by asking about their day or spending quality time together.
  • Value each other.

Buy Jill’s books today:

[one_half padding=”0 2px 0 2px”][/one_half][one_half_last padding=”0 2px 0 2px”]Jill Caryl Weiner “When We Became Four”[/one_half_last]

Get in touch with Jill:

WHAT ARE YOUR THOUGHTS?

I would love to hear your thoughts on this episode!

HERE’S HOW TO SUBSCRIBE & REVIEW

Want to be the first to know when a new episode is released? Click here to subscribe to The Happy Student on iTunes!

Podcast reviews are important to iTunes and the more reviews we can receive, the more likely we will be able to get our podcast and important messages in front of more parents! I would greatly appreciate if you clicked here and left a review letting me know your thoughts on this episode!

 

ways you can avoid tantrums this holiday season
Parent Tips, Parent-Child Communication, The Happy Student Podcast

The Happy Student #86: Keeping the Holidays Fun Part 2

For some people, the holidays are too much fun or maybe just too overwhelming. Kids’ schedules get totally thrown off with all the travel, family, and fun. They eat way more sugar and unhealthy things than they normally do. And they can get totally overstimulated by family, activities, parties, and toys. With all of that fun happening, it’s no wonder kids start to have tantrums – they are totally overstimulated and have trouble regulating their emotions, especially when they aren’t having fun because hanging out with their aunts and uncles – a bunch of adults – is not their idea of fun.

ways you can avoid tantrums this holiday season

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In this episode, we talk about how to keep the holidays fun by first working on avoiding meltdowns and second figuring out what to do when meltdowns happen.

7 ways you can avoid tantrums this holiday season:

  1. Communicate kindly.
    1. If you can remember to take a breath before your scold your child so that you can instead ask what happened first so you can really understand the situation. First asking what happened will help everyone return to a calmer, more peaceful place.
    2. It will help increase the chances of good behavior down the line by reducing everyone’s stress level instead of adding to it.
  2. Make sure your kids are well-fed and well-slept!
    1. Kids are much more likely to go into an emotional tailspin if they are hungry or tired.
  3. Stick to a schedule and communicate that schedule with your kids.
    1. Help your kids feel better able to handle these unusual days by keeping as much of a normal schedule as possible, like wake up, nap, and bedtimes, eating times, and so on, as well as by giving your kids a heads up about what’s going on that day or what’s coming up next and when the next activity is taking place.
  4. Limit the number of events you go to and the number of people your kids sees all at once (or at least prepare them for the onslaught of new faces).
    1. One big event per day may be the maximum number of activities your child can handle. Kids need downtime, otherwise they’ll get overstimulated and be more likely to throw that dreaded tantrum.
    2. Seeing a lot of people at once that your child does not see regularly can be intimidating even for your teen. Help ease those anxieties by looking at pictures of who is going to be at the gathering ahead of time with your child. Remind your child what fun they had last time with those cousins. This preparation will make it a little less scary to see everyone again.
  5. Review expected behavior.
    1. Remind your child what their best behavior looks like. Go through a few scenarios with them, like, “What will you do if you get a present that you don’t like?” or “What will you do if you are done eating, but most people are still eating and talking?”
  6. Give your child some one-on-one time.
    1. Kids crave their parents’ attention. And if they feel like they haven’t gotten enough of it, they may just make sure they get some by throwing a tantrum. So find some time to sit and eat lunch together or grab a hot chocolate and talk with your child for a nice break between running from shop to shop.
  7. Figure out what your kid’s holiday priorities are and find time for them to do what they want to do.
    1. Ask them what they would like to do so you can make sure they have time for what is important for them too. Because if kids feel like they’re just being dragged around and their precious free time is being wasted, of course, they are going to get upset!=

What do you do when meltdowns happen?

  • If your child is throwing a tantrum because they want to eat the chocolate bar now and you have said that it’s not time for dessert, then ignoring the tantrum or distracting your child with a fun game may be in order.
  • If your child is throwing a tantrum because they are having difficulty regulating their emotions, then giving them a safe space to feel their feelings and talk about it with you is important. So, let your kid be upset and share their feelings – just maybe away from the family and everyone else. You can say something like, “I see that you are really upset. It is not okay to yell and disrupt the party. Let’s go upstairs and work through all these emotions and figure out what’s going on.”
    • Sit with them. Make sure they know you are there for them. Also, make sure that they don’t hurt anyone or anything. Be there for them so that when they’ve let it all out, you are there to talk through what happened with them.
  • During all of this, pre-tantrum, mid-tantrum, and post-tantrum, it’s important to remember to keep yourself calm. Your children feed off of your emotions and will mirror your behavior. So if you notice yourself getting wound up, take some time for yourself for some self-care and remove some things from your to-do list.

The homework is to tell us what you are doing to keep the holidays fun!

WHAT ARE YOUR THOUGHTS?

I would love to hear your thoughts on this episode. How do you help your children study and get ready for exams?

HERE’S HOW TO SUBSCRIBE & REVIEW

Want to be the first to know when a new episode is released? Click here to subscribe to The Happy Student on iTunes!

Podcast reviews are important to iTunes and the more reviews we can receive, the more likely we will be able to get our podcast and important messages in front of more parents! I would greatly appreciate if you clicked here and left a review letting me know your thoughts on this episode!

5 Tips to Help Your Kid Build Their Attention Span
Elementary School, The Happy Student Podcast

The Happy Student #85: 5 Tips to Help Your Kid Build Their Attention Span

Kids’ attention spans are notoriously bad. You give them 3 things to do and maybe they’ll do one of them. They get off task and distracted so easily. It’s super frustrating! Maintaining your focus is a skill – a skill we would like our kids to master, for our own benefit and for their benefit. Being able to focus is essential to paying attention in class and to getting homework done efficiently. Fireborn has 5 tips to help you help your child flex those attention muscles.

5 Tips to Help Your Kid Build Their Attention Span

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Maintaining your focus is a skill – a skill we would like our kids to master, for our own benefit and for their benefit. Being able to focus is essential to paying attention in class and to getting homework done efficiently.

Here are ways to help your kid build those focus muscles so they can do better in school and pay better attention to you:

  1. Give simple, clear, and consistent instructions.
    • If your kid is not following your instructions now, there’s a good chance they simply can’t. They haven’t built up their attention muscles enough yet to be able to focus and remember everything you said to do without getting distracted in the meantime. So start with something they can do.
    • If your child does one simple task easily, add on more tasks one at a time until there is one they miss. Then, ask your child to do the same tasks, including the one they missed, every day.
    • If your kid is young enough or truly inexperienced enough, even just one instruction could be stretching them, which is okay.
    • If you need your child to do multiple things, but they aren’t ready for that yet, you could say, “Okay, I have five tasks for you that need to be done and then you’ll be ready for a break from work. First, review your homework. Let me know when you’re done.” This way you don’t overwhelm them with too many to do items at the start and you give them an incentive: the faster they finish their tasks, the sooner they get a break.
  2. Review the series of events in the morning and evening.
    • At the beginning of the day, find a time to discuss what will be happening that day.
    • If they are having trouble answering this question, you can model how to think through the day by giving an example of your own.
    • If that’s too advanced for your kids, try prompting them with a few questions, like, “What’s the first thing you’ll do when you get to school today?” “What are you looking forward to doing today at school?” “What are you least looking forward to doing today at school?” And those same questions can be used for after school as well.
    • Then, at the end of the day, review what happened that day. This can be hard because kids often resist responding to “How was your day?” So instead of asking how their day was, ask more specific questions, like “What was the best part of your day?” “What was the hardest part of your day?” “What did you do that was kind today?” “What did you do when you first got to school today?” or “What did you do when you first got to chess class today?” “Who did you play with today?” If your child gives short answers, like “I played with Sandra.” Follow up by asking what game they played.
    • If your child is really avoiding talking to you – try to make it a game. You could say, “Let’s play two truths and a lie. You say two true things that happened today and one lie and I’ll have to guess which one is the lie.”
    • So you may be thinking that this seems like a lot of work to build memory and not a lot of work to build focus. That’s kind of true. These times for planning and reflection help with memory formation and really do build those memory muscles. But memory and attention are related: memory requires focus and attention. What we focus on and pay attention to are the things we remember. So by going through our days, we are paying attention to what happened – we are flexing our focus muscles and in turn also working on improving memory.
  3. Practice meditating.
    • Meditating is all about focus and building those focus muscles. You focus on your breath. You focus on the sounds around you. You focus on the present moment. You focus on how you are feeling. Each day you practice meditating, the more you are working out those focus muscles.
    • A great resource for meditation exercises for kids is Eline Snel’s book Sitting Still Like a Frog: Mindfulness Exercises for Kids.
  4. Limit screen time.
    • Screens are natural distractions. By limiting screen time to a few specific hours in the day or if you limit
    • them to specific activities, then outside of those hours, you limit the distractions and your child has a greater opportunity to continue with one task, even if the task is playing, without the interruption.
  5. Doing one thing at a time.
    • Multitasking and distractions interrupt your ability to focus on that one thing at a time. Therefore, if we can limit distractions and multitasking, then you can focus on that one thing you’re doing. And the more that you do that, the more you’re practicing maintaining your attention on one thing, the more you are building your attention span.
    • The Center for Brain Health recommends focusing on one difficult task for 20 minutes and then taking a 5-minute brain break. Once 20 minutes starts feeling easy, up it to 25 minutes of serious concentration followed by a 5-minute brain break. The Center recommends concentrating on one thing for up to an hour. After an hour, be sure to take that break! Young kids can start out focusing on homework for just 20 minutes but don’t expect them to do homework for an hour any time too soon. But you can expect your teen to build their focus muscles so they can work up to an hour at a time.

The homework this week is to tell us what your kid focuses on the best and what is the hardest thing for your kid to focus on. Send your homework along with any other comments or questions to info@fireborninstitute.org or message us on Instagram and Facebook at Fireborn Institute or tweet at us at SisuFireborn.

WHAT ARE YOUR THOUGHTS?

I would love to hear your thoughts on this episode. How do you help your children study and get ready for exams?

HERE’S HOW TO SUBSCRIBE & REVIEW

Want to be the first to know when a new episode is released? Click here to subscribe to The Happy Student on iTunes!

Podcast reviews are important to iTunes and the more reviews we can receive, the more likely we will be able to get our podcast and important messages in front of more parents! I would greatly appreciate if you clicked here and left a review letting me know your thoughts on this episode!


Resources:

Center for Brain Health.

Firestone, K. (2017). “Take a Brain Break.” FirebornFireside.org: Fireborn Institute.

Harvard Medical School. “4 ways to improve focus and memory.Healthbeat.

Siegel, D. & T. Bryson. (2011). The Whole-Brain Child. New York: Random House.

Snel, E. (2013). Sitting Still Like a Frog: Mindfulness Exercises for Kids. Boulder: Shambhala.

 

Parent-Child Communication, The Happy Student Podcast

The Happy Student #84: Sharing Experiences is More Effective than Giving Advice

The way we give advice matters. People often get annoyed when others try to give them advice. People don’t like for other people to tell them what to do. Kids also do not like for their parents to tell them what to do. When parents give advice, kids often think, “They just don’t understand my situation.” And then they don’t follow that advice. One of the best ways to get around this problem with your kid, and to give advice without it feeling like advice, is to tell the other person about a shared experience you had and talk about how it worked out for you.

Sharing Experiences is More Effective than Giving Advice

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  • The way we give advice matters. People often get annoyed when others try to give them advice, kind of like I do now that I’m a mom and everyone feels like they have important information to tell me. Their intentions I’m sure are most of the time good. But the way they communicate that information matters.
  • The way we give our kids advice matters too!
  • People don’t like for other people to tell them what to do. It creates a power imbalance in the relationship, where one person knows the right thing to do and the other person is expected to follow the advice – kind of like a parent-child relationship. This threatens the person’s autonomy. And we love our autonomy. So we naturally dislike it when someone else threatens our autonomy, so we naturally do not like being given unsolicited advice.
  • Kids also love their autonomy. They crave independence. Unfortunately for them, they are currently in the parent-child relationship so they are going to get some advice and they will be expected to take it.
    • But sometimes kids don’t take their parents’ advice. They actually often do have control over what they do and sometimes they behave in ways they shouldn’t even after you’ve given them advice (and maybe even some warnings and consequences).
  • One of the best ways to give advice without it feeling like advice is to tell the other person about a shared experience you had and talk about how it worked out for you.
    • By sharing an experience and connecting it to what’s happening in your kid’s life right now, you show them that you really do understand. You also give them the opportunity to learn from your experiences so they can make better decisions faster, instead of having to learn everything for themselves.
    • When you tell your kid a story, they go along with you for the ride and are therefore more likely to learn from that experience. So it’s easier to learn from shared experiences than it is to learn from advice.
  • Now you can’t always share an experience. Sometimes advice is the only option you have. But if you can share an experience, it’s more likely to be effective.
  • The homework this week is to tell us what your kids are struggling with, what experience you shared with them, and how it helped them to make a good decision. Send your homework along with any other comments or questions to info@fireborninstitute.org or message us on Instagram and Facebook at Fireborn Institute or tweet at us at SisuFireborn. Also, let us know if you are in need of some more shared experience examples and we’d be happy to do a follow up with some examples based on what you need!

WHAT ARE YOUR THOUGHTS?

I would love to hear your thoughts on this episode. How do you help your children study and get ready for exams?

HERE’S HOW TO SUBSCRIBE & REVIEW

Want to be the first to know when a new episode is released? Click here to subscribe to The Happy Student on iTunes!

Podcast reviews are important to iTunes and the more reviews we can receive, the more likely we will be able to get our podcast and important messages in front of more parents! I would greatly appreciate if you clicked here and left a review letting me know your thoughts on this episode!

The Happy Student # 15: It’s Paper Time
School Advice, Study Tips, The Happy Student Podcast

The Happy Student #15: It’s Paper Time

Writing papers can be super intimidating! Catchy openers, good transitions, a strong thesis, supporting evidence… That’s a lot of work. And starting with a blank piece of paper or screen doesn’t help. Fireborn’s got a few tips to help you help your kid write their paper! (One idea: offer to type up what your kid says. To your kid, it feels like you are writing the paper for them, but you are simply putting their ideas on paper, which can be a bit of a block for them otherwise.)

The Happy Student # 15: It’s Paper Time

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IN THIS EPISODE, YOU’LL HEAR ABOUT…

The school year is really in gear: quizzes, exams, and PAPERS. Writing can be a scary, trying time for kids and parents. Looking at a blank page can make it impossible to actually start writing anything. Organizing thoughts in a cohesive fashion is also really tough for kids. Coming up with a thesis can be intimidating. There are lots of difficult aspects to writing papers. You don’t want to be that parent who writes entire papers for your kid, but you do want to be a supportive parent and some kids need a lot of support when it comes to writing.

  • Make sure that they never look at a blank page and help create an outline that fits their needs as a writer. They can add in all those icebreakers and transitions later.
    • First, you want to help create a “Robot Thesis”. A robot thesis is a simple sentence. It is: This is a paper about __________________.
      • Ask your learner, “How might you fill in the blank space?” You can generate ideas together if it is difficult to answer. Your learner could even write “I don’t know what I would say.” It does not need to be an amazing, dynamic thesis, yet.
        • You may do the typing (but not the thinking) for your learner. Let them dictate their thoughts to you.
      • Secondly, you want to help create an outline.
        • Organize the outline for your learner.
        • Show your learner how to create an outline.

To create an outline:

  1. Have your learner slowly read the assignment aloud to you. While they are reading, start the bare bones of an outline.
  2. Have your learner read through the outline and check with them.
    • Ask them: Does this make sense? If we flesh out these bullet points, will we have answered all of your teacher’s questions? Do you think this is what your teacher was looking for? Adjust accordingly.
  3. Ask your learner for their thoughts on the paper. Do they have any initial thoughts about what they want to say? While they are responding, type up their thoughts in an appropriate place in the outline.
    • Outlines help non-linear thinkers organize their thoughts in a linear fashion. You are taking your child’s non-linear thoughts and showing her how to organize them. These are initial thoughts. As your writer continues to work on the outline and the paper, the ideas will mature and progress.
  4. Ask your student to find quotes that he thinks are relevant. Ask them what they think the quotes mean. Write it all down!
  5. When the research does not obviously fit with the theme of the paper, ask some clarifying questions, such as: That’s very interesting. How does it relate to the thesis? Then figure out where to put it in the outline. Maybe you need to create a new bullet point.
  6. Add in a bullet for the introduction and conclusion (and any other specific section needed) if your student has not yet said something for which you would create a bullet point.
  7. Ask if they want to update her thesis now that they have done so much research. They probably will.
  8. Now, take a break! Then let your learner take some time to write the rest of the paper without your help.
  • This outline is for your learner, so it does not need to be pretty with impeccable language and word choice. Functional is just fine – probably better.
  • Writing is a personal process. What is best for one learner, is not for another. This is one option worth trying.
  • If you want to see the outlines written out, you can view How To Start Writing a Paper.

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