Set Up “Work Hour” for the Whole Family
Establish a dedicated work hour, where everyone in the family sits together and quietly works. If possible, have it be at the same time every weekday evening (you can set an alarm to help take some of the negotiation out of it). While the kids do their homework, do your own work of the non-digital variety—sorting through mail, signing papers, writing thank you notes, journaling, drafting that novel in your head or making your to-do list for the next day.
The secret to successful day-to-day time management is identifying “production time”—the time that is set aside to work. Too often, students struggle to successfully juggle all the activities in their lives. Things that aren’t particularly fun may get lost during a busy week. By identifying a “work hour” as a family, you can send a message that production time is as much a part of the week as having dinner or movie night, and students will be that much more productive.
Let Your Kid Be Batman
As in literally let your child wear a superhero cape. A study found that while performing a repetitive task, four- and six-year-olds who pretended to be a familiar character such as Batman persevered significantly longer than those who remained themselves. The reason has to do with something called self-distancing. When kids embody a persona that is separate from their own, it helps them “transcend the urgencies of a situation and take on a more distanced perspective,” the report says. While Petey may want to crumble under the challenge of three-digit addition, Batman will surely not.
In my own life, I adapted this technique when I got too old to wear a cape. I shifted to dressing up in fancy “adult” clothes. This new sophisticated adult version of myself would of course have no problem handling something as simple as homework! And when I had a lot of typing to do, I often painted my nails because typing was more fun when my nails looked pretty! By encouraging students to literally take on a more confident persona, they will be more likely to persist and work through challenging tasks.
Have you tried any of these hacks with your students or children? Do you have any of your own hacks to share? Let us know in the comments!
- Elizabeth Ross, M.A., SMARTS Media Manager