07 Feb Say Goodbye to Homework Fatigue & Frustration
“That’s not the way you’re supposed to do it Dad. They want us to do it this way,” explains Dash.
“I don’t know that way. Why would they change math? Math is math!,” roars Mr. Incredible.
– The Incredibles 2
The super-dad in the animated blockbuster The Incredibles 2 can thwart enemies and save the world, but conquering elementary math problems is a feat beyond his powers.
I can relate to Mr. Incredible’s exasperation. Many of the math techniques my son, Ace, learns in school are different than the methods I learned at his age. Luckily, he picks up math pretty quickly, but on the rare occasion that he gets stuck, he will ask me for help. This is where it gets tricky.
Ace is learning concepts for the first time, while I’m trying to re-learn subjects in the ways they are taught today! Things can become stressful in situations where we repeatedly try and fail to solve complex equations. If we’re not careful, we can become trapped in a vicious cycle of attempting the same operations and repeatedly yielding incorrect results.
In instances like this, we run the risk of becoming emotional, irritated, and unproductive. However, we have both learned to recognize the signs and course-correct our actions, no matter what subject Ace is tackling. Here are a few secret weapons we use to combat homework fatigue and frustration.
RE-ENERGIZE YOUR BRAIN
Sometimes, your brain needs a break to replenish mental energy. When you focus too hard on a problem, you can become unable to see the solution in front of you. Fend off frustration by stepping away for a few minutes to concentrate on an activity that evokes positive feelings. Then, return to the problem and try again! Actions that get your heart pumping have added benefits. According to edutopia.org, physical activity breaks are beneficial to learning, memory, creativity, and mood.
Our favorite brain break activity is to have a 5 to 10-minute dance party. We crank up Prince, Michael Jackson, Queen, or another favorite artist and have a mom-son jam session. Somehow, dancing around destroys the tension in the room. If dancing isn’t your thing, try something that appeals to you, like taking a walk, playing with your pet, or having a Nerf battle. You’ll return to the task at hand with renewed focus. Just be sure to stick to a predetermined time limit so that your progress does not get derailed.
REFUEL YOUR BODY
When I wait too long to eat, I get hangry – a dangerous combo of hungry and angry. Likewise, when Ace’s patience is short, and his energy dips, it usually means his tank is empty. There is actually a physiological reason that hunger affects attitude. According to WebMD.com, unstable blood sugar can cause mood swings. With that in mind, the health site recommends eating small meals and snacks and staying hydrated throughout the day. So, if your preteen is extra angsty during study sessions, offering a healthy spread may improve the situation.
Ace has developed the maturity to recognize when he’s low on brain food – at least most of the time. To keep moodiness at bay, I stock a selection of grab-and-grub munchies that are easily accessible to him during homework time. Our favorites? Fruit, nuts, cheese, and salad!
REFOCUS YOUR ENERGY
When vexing problems frustrate us, stress rises, and our problem-solving skills take a nosedive, says an article on WebMD.com. Well, our youngsters are just like us! They cannot think clearly enough to find the correct homework answers if their energy is consumed by anxiety and perceived failure. That is when you know it’s time to help them shift focus.
If tensions rise during study time, encourage your “Mini Me” to acknowledge the pressure they feel and discover healthy ways to cope. With the right tools, they can refocus their energy on the task at hand and successfully employ strategies to reach their academic goals. Some constructive methods to refocus energy are yoga, meditation, prayer, positive affirmations, mindfulness exercises, brainteasers, and power naps. Get a jump-start on refocusing your energy with Ace’s Yoga For Students video HERE!
Your son or daughter will feel like a superhero when they re-energize, refuel, refocus, and vanquish homework woes. Will your family give these techniques a try? Leave a comment and join the discussion.