Whenever I stand on the edge of a lake or river, I find myself picking up small, flat rocks to skip across the water.  I have a very special memory of my dad teaching me to skip rocks at Yellowstone Lake when I was probably 7 or 8 years old.

Father’s Day is coming up, so first and foremost, Happy Father’s Day to all the dads!

Dads Like FUN!

Many dads kid that they are just little boys at heart.  They need their toys and play time.  There are some lessons to be learned there for students, especially those who struggle in school.

When school is difficult, it may not be a whole lot of fun for kids.  They often miss recess or playtime at home just trying to get their work completed.  Parents find it frustrating that their child won’t just sit down and get his homework done rather than dragging it out all afternoon.

Maybe what the brain needs is a break – a little bit of fun, laughter, or movement – to re-energize it.  Parents can structure Brain Breaks so that kids get the little reboot that they need without losing their momentum with homework.  Try something like:

  • Going outside and shooting (attempting) 5 baskets a piece
  • Turning on music and doing silly dances for 5 minutes
  • Chase the dog around the yard for 5 minutes
  • Play a 5 minute game of UNO or some other quick, fun, card game
  • Have a Stacking Cups competition

These little Brain Breaks are a fun way to spend a few minutes together in a positive way, change attitudes, and increase energy.  If a student knows he has a 5-minute Brain Break to look forward to at the end of the task, it may increase his motivation and productivity.

Boys Need Approval

Boys need approval.  Little boys, big boys, boys who have grown up to be dads – they tend to be hard on themselves and operate best with approval.  Boys won’t generally play a game they don’t think they can win, but they do like to play games.

Try breaking challenging tasks into small little competitions that the student can win:

  • We just did this stack of flashcards in 2 minutes. Let’s do them one more time and see if you can beat your time!
  • You got 9 of these math facts correct last time. How many do you think you can get this time?

Validate the performance:

  • When you wrote out this answer, your words gave me a really good mental picture!
  • Wow! These three words are the stars of the page. They are so neat and easy to read!
  • That was a good connection that you made between those two events in the story.
  • Asking your teacher to clarify the assignment shows maturity and that you’re taking responsibility for your work. I’m really proud of you!

Many of our boys won’t take a compliment, but they feel proud of an accomplishment that is noted specifically.  And, that validation will encourage them to repeat it!

Dads Like to Nap

My dad loved taking a nap on a Sunday afternoon.  I often find my husband “watching a game on TV” AKA napping on the weekend.   I think a lot of dads enjoy a good nap.

Personally, I find it really hard to nap.  It makes me feel like I’m being lazy.

I think there are some real misconceptions about the word lazy – especially in light of learning and attention problems.

I heard the mom of a 3 ½ year old boy with unclear and limited speech say that he was just being lazy.

What I have found is that people of any age do not want to fail or be misunderstood.  Children with speech or learning problems do not have them because they are lazy.  They have them because there are underlying skills that are not supporting them well enough.  In the case of speech and reading issues, the problem is often rooted in weak auditory processing of sounds.  If the brain cannot think about all of the sounds in words, it will be difficult, if not impossible, to reproduce and decode those sounds when speaking and reading.

Parents who find themselves describing their child as lazy, need to explore the real root of the problem.  Lazy can be a symptom, but is almost never the reason why a student struggles.

Do you or your child struggle with speaking, reading, learning, or attention?  These challenges can be changed.  While there are no simple, overnight solutions, most learning and attention challenges can be dramatically improved or completely corrected through developing the weak underlying skills and remediating the affected academic areas.  Ready for a change??

Do you want to better understand your child’s learning or attention challenges and what can be done to make a real change?

Click HERE for our Parent Information Video!


“Helping smart but struggling students dramatically improve or completely correct their learning and attention challenges by developing the underlying learning skills that are not supporting the learner well enough.”
We serve children and adults with diagnosed or undiagnosed learning and attention challenges including learning disabilities, dyslexia, ADHD, auditory processing disorders, and autism spectrum disorders.
Jill Stowell, M.S.
Author:  At Wit’s End A Parent’s Guide to Ending the Struggle Tears, and Turmoil of Learning Disabilities
Founder and Executive Director – Stowell Learning Centers


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