Mom, I have TOO MUCH WORK to take a holiday!

I was talking to a Mom of two teen girls the other day, and she confessed that she was DREADING the holiday trip she had planned. It was supposed to be a great getaway for her and her husband and the kids, but now she realises that this is a HORRIBLE time of year for her kids because of their school work. Over the break they have projects to complete, and finals to write just a week after they get back home.
Are you in this situation?
Here’s the reality:
Everyone needs a break! We all need to learn how to switch gears so that we can rest and relax! This might seem like a luxury, but switching to low gear and learning to rest and relax is critical to our long-term health! 
We need to set our teens up for success, so that when they’re adults, they know how  to set aside their  work at the end of the day. As adults, we have to learn how to set aside our work so that we can go on a holiday (even when the day-to-day operations of our job might still be going on without us!)
It takes SKILL to set aside our work, and TRUST that we’ll be able to cope when we get back to it again!
Here’s a 4 point plan to setting aside the work to that you and your teens can RELAX, and then come back to your work and school life feeling refreshed!
  1. Make a plan: Estimate the time it will take to complete the work (the project, the studying, whatever it is). Schedule in the time BEFORE your holiday, or AFTER your holiday. Get creative with your planning! You may have to give up watching t.v. for two days, or skip a pre-trip holiday party, but when you can prioritise your work AND your holiday time, all the “extras” really come into focus.
  2. Put the work away- physically! Get a large plastic bin, or your backpack, and physically pack away the textbooks, the binders, etc. Put a copy of your post-holiday work schedule on the top. Put a “Do not open until…” sign on it. This might sound silly, but the physical putting away can be a really great way of creating a concrete boundary on your work.
  3. Visualise: As you travel to your destination, whether by car or plane, imagine the thoughts of your work as string that physically connect you to it. Imagine your thoughts of work as string connecting you to the bin of work, and watch them stretch the further you travel. When you’re ready, imagine yourself cutting the strings of thoughts of your work, and with each snip of the strings, allow your body to release the tension of the thought. By the time you reach your destination, allow your body and mind to be in relaxation (or excitement, whatever is restorative to you!)
  4. Follow the plan! When you get home, unpack the box, and follow through with your plan! There’s no better way of developing your self-trust by creating a plan for yourself and following through!
Teens are following OUR lead. If we’re setting aside the work, putting boundaries on when and where we’re checking our e-mails, and committing to our self-care, our teens will believe us when we tell them that resting and relaxing are important!
Wishing you a restorative holiday season to set you up for success in 2018!

Time management tool for DISTRACTED teens!

Teens are more easily distracted than ever!

Once they reach high school, they’re expected to be able to study at home, on their own.

As a teacher, I know that by this time in September many high school students are struggling to keep up with their studies. Teens struggle with time management!

It is SO frustrating (for teachers and parents) to watch teens slap together last-minute work, procrastinate, or stay up late sacrificing their sleep in order to complete their work. These tactics do not lead to academic success or mental health!

The truth is that many teens have poor time management skills because:

  1. There are many tasks that they’ve never done before, so they can’t estimate the time it will take
  2. They are highly distractible (even college-aged students!)
  3. They need someone to SHOW them how to manage their time

Time management is SO CRITICAL for teens to learn so that they can create healthy habits for life, and achieve the success that they desire. Teens need to learn how to schedule in their work, so that they also have some time for PLAY (which seems like slacking off, but which actually nurtures their creativity so their school work and their problem solving abilities improve).

We all wish that teens wouldn’t be SO distractible, but the reality is that THEY ARE!

Living a mindful life is all about noticing, without judging. Instead of judging ourselves (or our teens) for being highly distractible, we need to acknowledge this distractibility and work with it!

Research Psychologist and Professor Emeritus at California State University, Dominguez Hills,  Dr. Larry Rosen taught me that teens need to work WITH their distractibility. I was so inspired by my conversation with Dr. Rosen, and his research on how teens study, that I created this planner for teens to use.  It’s a time management tool I call

The Ultimate Reading Estimate Tool for Teens

Knowing how long it’s going to take to get through a few chapters of a bio textbook, or a novel for English class is key to balancing school work with a social life, or any kind of life! Take the guesswork out of reading with The Ultimate Reading Estimate Tool for Teens.

CLICK HERE to grab a copy for your teen!

Here’s to your teen’s academic success!

Deanne

P.S. I’ve never met a teen who didn’t want to be successful. They just don’t always know how to be successful, and they don’t always BELIEVE that the smallest steps in the right direction can and will add up to success down the road. This tool can help teens to learn that small steps do result in BIG success!

Helping teens manage the READING in high school

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There is so much READING in high school!

It’s true. Most of the homework assigned in high school is READING. The amount of reading material that high school students have to get through in a short amount of time can be overwhelming. Trying to get through three chapters of biology, five chapters of a novel, and two sections of math every night can lead students to tears, avoidance, and overwhelm. The truth is, reading in high school is an endurance sport; both take skill, a daily commitment, a positive mindset, and a culture of achieving excellence.

As an English Literature teacher, I know this all too well. When we ask students to read a novel, it is like asking them to run a marathon. Most of the students I’ve worked with are walkers. We learned to walk long, long ago, and every day we walk to the car, up the stairs, and we are grateful for our functional walking ability. Students read every day. Teens are reading all the time; texts from their friends, articles on Facebook, ads on the internet, instructions on food packages. Just like some people enjoy a good weekend jog, some students might enjoy reading because they love a good story. And yet, people who walk and occasionally jog are not fit for a marathon.

When students enter an English Literature class in high school, we are asking them complete a marathon. Many students have not acquired the mindset for endurance. Even more, they know that they can read, and so they underestimate the amount of time and effort they need to continue to commit to reading.

That’s why I’m inviting you to join me for this FREE 60 minute LIVE webinar,

High School Reading Mastery: The 5 Essential Steps to Eliminate Homework Stress and Boost Your Grades.

We’re going LIVE on Saturday, December 3rd  2016 at 11:00 am MST >>CLICK HERE TO REGISTER

I’ve pulled together my 14 years of teaching English Literature into this FREE webinar designed for teens who are ready to tackle the challenge of high school reading, and for parents who are wondering how to set their teens up for success. In High School Reading Mastery you’ll discover how to help teens:

  • Develop a solid reading schedule
  • Do the reading whether they “feel like it” or not
  • Read things they’re not interested in
  • Focus on short-term daily reading goals to get to the long-term goal of good grades
  • Create a culture of reading mastery

Click THIS LINK to access the registration page now for High School Reading Mastery. If you’re not available to attend LIVE on Dec 3rd, don’t worry!  Register today and you’ll get the link to the recording. This is an opportunity you won’t want to miss!

With gratitude,

Deanne Barrett

P.S. Brain science shows that teens are not always skilled at long-term planning and anticipating the outcomes of their behaviour; teens need the support of adults to help them to plan for success. Please share this webinar with the teens and parents in your circles who are ready to make a difference. For your FREE access to High School Reading Mastery: The 5 Essential Steps to Eliminate Homework Stress and Boost Your Grades CLICK HERE