When my son entered fourth grade, the school switched from textbooks to iPads, the teachers stopped sending home assignment lists, and my stellar student became a confused mess. He simply could not keep track of the workload. So out came my homework charts and reminder sticky notes. Days went by, and my happy child became an anti-homework bundle of stress, overcome by the complexity of charts and motherly help.
So I released control and gave him a challenge no child could refuse: "Plan out your day like your favorite video game." My son enjoyed playing a certain world-building game where he had the responsibility of organizing steps, completing tasks, earning rewards and avoiding negative consequences. By starting with the familiarity of a game he loved, he was able to use his imagination to plan steps for completing his real-life homework and chores. Creativity trumped the old, tired homework chart!
This article appeared in the August/September 2014 issue of Thriving Family magazine. Copyright © 2014 by Dr. Saundra Dalton-Smith. Used by permission. ThrivingFamily.com.
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