by Samantha Woods - April, 2019
The Successful Six to Support Your Child’s LEAP to Junior High

1. Organization: Assist your child in getting their one (or two maximum!) binder system up and running. Frequently monitor and have scheduled organizational checkpoints. Purchase supplies with your child. It’s essential they are part of this process from the beginning. Revisiting organization needs to be ongoing, scheduled and a regular occurrence throughout the year.

2. Time management and emotional regulation: Schedule a S.P.O.T (Sunday Planning Organizing Time) meeting every weekend. This not only helps to plan out the week BUT also gives kiddos who have a hard time with flexible thinking and last minute planning an opportunity to get their brains primed for the week ahead. More planning = fewer meltdowns.

3. Study Routines: Tower of Learning. Post this mini poster and refer to it when a student is stumped on ‘what to do to study.’  Emphasize ACTIVE learning. Interval training is important - the 20/5 method. Have students share their most creative and active study technique.

4. Bain Boosters: Remind your child that growing brains need to make mistakes to learn. Along with sleep, exercise, nutrition, hydration, AND mindfulness practice…Use the ‘S.E.N.D’ acronym to reinforce the importance of Sleep, Exercise, Nutrition and Dopamine boosters. Post this mini poster as a visual reminder.

5. Technology Management: This is a must. It is not developmentally appropriate to EXPECT a developing brain to naturally ALWAYS choose the broccoli on the chocolate buffet without training and practice.  Boundaries are a must. Children need to learn HOW to self-manage their technology but these skills (like many) need to be explicitly taught and modeled. Implementing family cell phone “parking lots” is a good place to start. We’ve got to ‘walk the talk’ together.

6. Pick on the brain, not the heart. When working with your child, focus on how their BRAIN is learning...not their heart. Don’t get me wrong, hearts are important in learning (!!!!)  BUT our students so often feel hurt and deflated when we provide a critique of their personal motivation, lack of drive, laziness, impulsivity, lack of Zim Zam Zoom, etc.

As soon as we change our lingo to something like:

“Ah, your brain is struggling to stay focused during such a long study period. Let’s break things down into shorter segments so it smartens up.”


“Ah, seems your brain is playing tricks on you about this upcoming exam. Remember, F.E.A.R = False Evidence Appearing Real.”


“Ah, how can we get your brain to feel a challenge instead of taking the easy way out? It might be really bored right now and avoiding a challenge. Let’s start small, with one thing.”


“I see that your brain is having a hard time choosing the broccoli on the chocolate buffet - what can we do?”


“How can you be the BOSS of your brain right now?”


“Is your brain learning or observing right now?”

The student then begins to identify their brain as what’s in control.

Changing our language can result in less personal shaming and increased empowerment.