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Parents, here’s how to help your student finish fall semester strong. (NOTE- In-depth, free webinar coming soon on my site to help you help your child at end of semester.)
If your child is struggling at this point in the semester, it WILL NOT FIX SELF. Don’t give up, and pick your battles wisely. Here are some quick notes:
- Know it’s EF: they want to do well but don’t know how. Compassionate support.
- RELATIONSHIP: 3:1, fun, connect first, encourage them, know when to let things go. Realistic expectations of your kid, not A’s but about the actions that get good grades: org, planning, asking for help, buy-in.
- MINDSET: discuss resistance openly, show understanding.
- CLARITY: email teachers now, look at portals, syllabi.
- OVERHAULS: SSS, Locker, backpack, take your time, fun.
- HABITS: routines, plan day, sleep, the more stable the better.
- OTHER PEOPLE HELPING: tutor, proactive, email teachers for office hours, friends, you.
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Hey, what’s up, parents? It’s the end of the semester. It’s Fall 2019, and this is what I call ‘Hail Mary time.’ Basically after Thanksgiving break and before Winter break is Hail Mary time. The reason that I call it that is because a lot of students this time of year struggle with executive function are going to fail classes at Hail Mary time if they don’t do what they need to do. What do they need to do? Well these are kids with missing, incompletes, late works, zero’s, test corrections, they have all this stuff going on and they don’t know how to manage the workload. They’ve got their current work, they’ve got their makeup work, and now the end of the semester during Hail Mary time in particular, they tend to have finals and final projects, final large reading assignments, some final large papers to write, and they don’t understand that they can’t just do it the night before at 8 pm on a Sunday night with something that’s due on a Monday or study for an exam the night before and that does it. They haven’t wrapped their head around this. If your child struggles with executive function, these sort of things, in this video I’m going to tell you about how to finish strong during Hail Mary time, how to help your child. I have seven ideas for how you can help your child, and then I’m going to do a webinar on this where I’ll go into depth and have some PDFs for you and stuff where I’m going to involve the kids so that you’re not the one telling them.
Anyhow, my name is Seth with SethPerler.com right here. Go ahead and check out my website to sign-up for the freebies that I have for parents and kids to help your student navigate school. So, I’m an executive function coach. I focus on helping struggling students day in and day out. This is what I do. This time of the year is really important for me with my clients to do things right, and for me to know and for me to convey to my students and families that this will not fix itself. To convey to them, do NOT give up. And for me, with the students that I’m working with to pick our battles wisely. Where are we going to put our energy? Because they’re not going to get straight A’s most likely, we’re not going for that. We’re going for the things, the actions, the behaviors, the actions to take that produce good grades. That’s what we’re really looking for, that’s what really matters. Who cares about the results? We’re worried about the process, worried about the habits that we want our kids to build so that they apply skills. So here are the seven things that you can do.
Number 1: Parents, know that this an executive function issue. It’s not a matter of willfulness, it’s not a matter of they don’t care. Your kid wants to do well, they just don’t know how. So compassionately approaching them with that sort of an attitude, “Look, I know that you just don’t know what to do or where to start, I’m here to help you.” I know that every parent watching this, you all have different dynamics in your family. Some of you have homework battles all the time, some of you do not. Some of you are pushing, pushing, pushing. Some of you are really laid back and watching. There’s the whole gamut of parenting styles and relationship styles. That doesn’t matter, you need to know that no matter who you are, that it has to do with legitimate executive function struggles, brain development, and that your child wants to do well but they don’t know how and don’t have the tools yet to do this.
Number 2: The most important thing is the relationship, that you’re building happy and healthy relationships. Your kid is everything in your life, you know, you want to have a great relationship with them. If you want to get buy-in from your kid to allow you to help them, to listen to the suggestions or advice that you have, to work with them on their projects or what they’re studying, things like that, if you want to be able to help them with those things, you have to have the relationship. Be there, where your kid feels emotionally safe enough to come to you to tell you these things. So one thing I talk about is the 3:1 rule, where you give your kid three positives to every one perceived negative. Can you give your kid three positives to every one negative. Can you do 1:1, to some families this is a stretch. That is a good thing, that is forward motion. So does your kid feel like, “Oh you never notice what I do right, blah blah blah,” if they feel like that, then you want to reverse that feeling where they really feel seen, okay. So they relationship. Connect with them first. If you want to help them with stuff, help them get reorganized, work on homework, connect first. Don’t go straight into it. Connect with them, have fun with them. Remember they’re your kid and enjoy them. Encourage them. And know when to let things go, a lot of times might be like, “Oh you got an 89%, why didn’t you get a 90%?” Or, “Oh you cleaned up your room, but you left that sock on the floor.” Know when to let things go and to see all the effort that they’ve put into certain things and have realistic expectations. If your child has D, getting a C is a success. It’s growth, it’s progress. You know, not worrying about all A’s and everything perfect, and every problem perfect. What is good enough? Know when to let it go, have realistic expectations. These kids feel a lot of pressure, a lot of pressure. It doesn’t motivate them, it doesn’t make them want to try harder because they’re feeling so much pressure, especially at this time of year. So really compassionately building the relationship and try to get by and trying to help them get to want you to help them. Relationship is key.
Number 3: Mindsets. You, them, we all have to have mindsets. So your kid has the resistance mindset. The resistance mindset is, “ah, I don’t want to do this, I’ll do it tomorrow, I’ll do it later, I’ll do it in the morning, I’ll do it in five minutes, this is stupid, why do I have to do this, when am I ever going to use this. I don’t wanna. I don’t feel like it.” These are all resistance mindsets. The mindset that we want to have is, “okay, I can do this, I can figure this out,” and I want you to have a realistic with your kid about mindset too. What’s your mindset about this? I want you to hear them. Don’t try to change them. Don’t say, “oh well you should feel this way, oh you shouldn’t feel that way.” Instead be like, “oh that’s an interesting mindset, tell me more about that. I really want to understand.” And then you can say, “my experiences, I try to have this type of mindset when I have big things to accomplish like that.” You’re not trying to convince them to have your mindset, but you’re trying to tell them what you do. I don’t try to convince my kids, okay, I do try to encourage them and tell them what I think and what I see. But I really want them to feel heard. The power of just feeling heard is so big and when my kids can feel like, “oh, Seth just heard me, he understands, he gets it.” Then I can get moving into a, “okay, now let’s get to work,” on whatever the schoolwork is.
Number 4: Clarity. You need clarity, number 4 is clarity. How are you, the parent, going to get clarity if you can’t rely on your kid to be clear about what’s expected. If you can’t rely on the portals or teacher communications, or you can’t rely on looking in the backpack to figure it out, or you can’t rely on looking at your kids planner to figure it out. How are you going to get clarity regarding what needs to get done realistically? Well, email the teachers, now, today. Look at the portals, look at the syllabi, those are the three main things you’re going to do to get clarity. Connect with the teachers, look at the portal thoroughly, and look at the syllabi if they even exist thoroughly. That’s how you’re going to get clarity. So just hit up the teachers, be like “hey what’s up, I need some clarity. We have three weeks until winter break, I need to know what’s coming up. Are there any exams, are there any big papers or are there any projects I should be aware of. What do I need to know?” Don’t wait on it. Your kids going to tell you, “Don’t email my teachers, teachers hate it when you email them, they don’t like it.” I hear the same stories over and over and over and over and over and over. Okay, look. You’re not stepping on your kids’ toes even though they’re at an age when they’re going to say anything to get you to not email them. But, you need clarity. You don’t even need to tell them you’re going to email the teachers. You can also tell them, “Look, I love you. I love you enough to figure out what’s going on so I can help you, even if you don’t like it.“
Number 5: Overhauls. If your kid is going to figure out what they need to do in the next few weeks, they need to first get a clean slate. They need to do some overhauls. They need to overhaul maybe their locker, their secret study space or their study area, their backpack. There are three main things. The backpack includes the folders and papers and everything like that. So you need to overhaul their lockers, their study environment, and their backpack so that they can sort of get to reset because they have so much clutter and stuff in their lockers, on their desks, and in their backpacks right now that they don’t even know where to start, they’ve lost track of things. If your kid is one of the kids like I work with who struggle with executive function, you have to start with a clean slate. So go ahead and do an overhaul, clean slate of some things.
Number 6: Habits. Habits and routines. One of the most important habits your kid should have, this I can talk about more in-depth during the webinar, is a daily plan. If I had one thing that was the biggest game-changer of all, and I’ve worked with hundreds and hundreds of students, the number one biggest game-changer is when the kid really understands habit. Chunk down and make a daily plan. They need habits and routines for sleep. The more stables their habits and routines for sleep, exercise, nutrition, getting up, getting out the door in the morning, doing their homework, planning their day using their planner, checking their planners, the more that they have habits and routines the more stable they are, the better off they’re going to be.
Number 7: Finally, connection with others. So if you want your kid to succeed during Hail Mary time, there are three suggestions that I have, technically four, in terms of connecting with others. What do I mean by others? Well, one, you, the parent. You helping your kid through the Hail Mary time, you connect with them in a way where they will actually listen to you. Now I know a lot of you have homework battles and again, some don’t. But you may have to back up and slow down, really create a safe place so they can receive your help first. Anyhow, connecting with you to get through Hail Mary time. Getting a tutor proactively at Hail Mary time. If you get a tutor a few times before Hail Mary time and spend the money on it, but that saves your kid a whole other semester where they’d have to have retaken it if they failed it, that can be well worth it. So proactively getting a tutor, proactively emailing the teachers, finding out when their office hours are with clarity. Can your kid go in before school, after school, during office hours, or during some other special time to see the teachers so that you actually know from the horse’s mouth when your kid can get help and support from the teacher. So getting your kid to go to the teacher to connect with the teacher so that they can get help during this time. And finally, friends. Friends where they can together to study, to work on their homework, have study parties, have their friends come over on the weekend to work on their projects or papers, or things like that. Even though you may feel like they get off task, if they’re generally on task it’s totally fine, if they get off the task, if they’re working on it, they’re gonna get more out of it and enjoy it more, resent it last, things like that. So others, get others involved with your kid through the Hail Mary time so that they can successfully go through it. Get a tutor, you work with them, email the teachers, see how they can work with them, and friends working with them.
Anyhow, again, my name is Seth with SethPerler.com. If you haven’t signed up for my freebies and weekly updates, check it out on my website, SethPerler.com. I put something out for families every single week. This is what my life is dedicated to, to serving kids, to helping kids who struggle with executive function have a better life. And I will do a webinar soon, probably next week. A free webinar going in-depth where you can really sit down and give you some great strategies for getting through this. Be well, take care. Oh, and if you want to give it a thumbs up, leave a comment, tell me what you do to help you get through the UGYG or Hail Mary time.
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