Mastering Concentration: 2 Parenting Techniques for Homework Success

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How to Concentrate, Focus, and Achieve

Is homework time turning into a daily battle with your child? It's not a clash between you and your child; rather, it's an internal struggle within their mind to concentrate. We understand the challenges of maintaining focus, and that's why we're here to share two effective strategies with you.

Imagine your child, let's call him Jonas, eagerly yearning for video game adventures while his homework languishes in his backpack. Here's what you can do:

The Homework Station:

Create a designated homework haven away from tech distractions.

  1. Organize supplies within easy reach - computer, paper, pencils, and pens.
  2. Be nearby to offer support and guidance.
  3. Set a consistent homework time each day.

Concentration Technique - The Tent and The Torch:

Assist Jonas in crafting a positive affirmation to combat distractions. For instance: "My torch is in hand. Let my mind expand." or "First homework, then my video game." Then, guide him through this visualization:

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First Homework, Then Video Games


  1. Close his eyes.
  2. Envision the study space as a protective tent, illuminated by a small flashlight (the torch).
  3. Direct the torch's focus onto the homework.
  4. Prioritize tasks and re-visualize when distractions arise.
  5. Recite the affirmation to dispel disruptions.

Practice this technique together daily until Jonas internalizes it. The Tent and The Torch not only enhances concentration but instills valuable self-discipline, paving the way for future success.

The Focusing Technique - The Puzzle List

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Now, imagine your daughter, Maria, who despises homework even more than Jonas but adores her cell phone. Here's a tailored approach:

  1. Discuss homework as a puzzle with a list of tasks.
  2. Guide her in creating a puzzle list for her essay, breaking it down into manageable pieces.
  3. When tempted by her phone, encourage Maria to touch the part of the puzzle list she's working on and recite her chosen affirmation.

4 Sample Affirmations:

  • First homework, then my cell phone.
  • My phone I resist. I'll work on my list.
  • My homework’s in hand. Let my mind expand.
  • I am diving right in. Let the learning begin.

Conclusion for 2 Concentration Techniques:

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Her Well-Deserved Reward


Both Jonas and Maria are on a journey of self-discipline, the cornerstone of success. Jonas's Tent and Torch shield him from distractions, while Maria's Puzzle List keeps her on track. After completing their homework, both can enjoy well-deserved rewards—Jonas with a video game and Maria with her cell phone.

Learning to concentrate is a lifelong gift. By guiding your children to develop this skill, you set the foundation for their future success. Start today!

Puzzle Time:

Unscramble - ncoonictenatr, khroomwe, ssetraegti

Tongue Twisters for your family to say 5 times as quickly as possible:

  1. Kids with grit get a kick out-witting clever quirky homework.
  2. Cleverly crafted assignments create capable, confident kids.
  3. Happy homework helpers help heroes here at home.
  4. Homework habits help me show that I make my skills grow.
  5. Sunny students seek success through their steady homework.


 Short Video Reinforcer: How Parents Motivate Children's Brain Power (just 1 minute, 13 seconds)



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Jean Tracy

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Answers - Puzzle time Unscramble - Concentration, homework, strategies

AI assisted.

The Power of Listening: 6 Ways to Build a Strong Bond with Your Child

Why Listening is a Parenting Superpower

Listening is a powerful parenting tool that can help you build stronger relationships, solve problems, and create compassion within your family. Here are six reasons why listening counts:

1. Listening Cares

1499707_happy-woman 450

 My listening is caring.

My kids love our sharing.


Listening Is the Caring Connection Between Parent and Child


"When you listen, you sprinkle caring into the conversation."


When you listen to your child with care, you show them that you value their thoughts and feelings. This helps them feel loved and supported, which is essential for their emotional well-being.


Listening Understands

Black Dad Thinking

I listen with understanding,

And my mind is expanding.


Listening Boosts Understanding Between Parents and Children


"When parents listen, they give children the gift of their time and attention."

When you listen to your child with understanding, you try to see things from their perspective. This helps you build trust and rapport, and it makes it more likely that your child will come to you for help when they need it.

3. Listening Heals


My listening is healing.

It's a beautiful feeling.


Listening is the Superpower to Healing Your Kids' Emotions


"Your listening is the silent kiss your child loves." 

Listening heals. When you listen to your child with compassion, you help them to feel validated and understood. This can help them to heal from emotional pain and to cope with difficult experiences.

4. Listening Supports


My listening is supportive,
And the results are effective.

Listening Gives Your Child the Support System They Need

"Love is heard through the ears, not just the lips."

When you listen to your child with support, you offer them encouragement and guidance. This helps them to feel confident and capable, and it makes it more likely that they will succeed in life.


5. Listening Encourages


My listening is encouraging,
And my children are


Encouraging Parents Boost Their Children's Belief in Themselves

"Your listening is like a warm hug in your child's heart."

When you listen to your child with encouragement, you let them know that you believe in them. This helps them to develop a positive self-image and to achieve their goals.


6. Listening Bonds

My listening is bonding, 
And my children are responding.


Children Who Feel Heard and Respected by Their Parents Bond with Them


"Parents who listen are like hearts beating in harmony with their children."

 When you listen to your child with empathy, you create a strong connection between you and them. This helps your child to feel safe and loved, and it makes it more likely that they will thrive.

Based on this article, here is a little Quiz. Pick out the best answer:

When you listen to your child with care, you show them that you:

    1. Value their thoughts and feelings
    2. Love and support them
    3. Understand their perspective
    4. All the above

When you listen to your child with care you show 'd' All the above. 

Conclusion for Listening - Your Parenting Superpower

Listening is a skill that takes time and practice to develop. But it's one of the most important skills a parent can have. By listening to your child with care, understanding, and compassion, you can build a solid foundation for a happy and healthy relationship.

Your call to action: Pick out one of the 6 listening techniques to practice. Add a new one each week. Let me know the results.

This 50-second video The Key to Family Closeness is helpful when you don't have time to talk. Its tip is priceless.

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With warm wishes, 

Jean Tracy

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15 Engaging Car Chats for Your Family Vacations

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Car Talk: Building Memories on the Road


Family vacations are an excellent opportunity for meaningful conversations with your children. Engaging in conversation starters allows your kids to express their thoughts. They give you a chance to understand their perspectives. Likewise, it provides a platform for your children to hear your thoughts as well.

In this blog post, we will explore a family's car chats. Use them to make your family vacations memorable and enjoyable for everyone. Pick up our fifteen conversation starters with your special code before you go.

Boy Watch Timing
Timing Family's Thoughts


Kickstart your conversations with a little friendly competition. Set a timer and allocate a specific duration. Two minutes for each person to speak is good. The rule is simple: "No Interrupting!"  These two techniques ensure that everyone gets a turn to express themselves.

Fact: Research shows that active listening and effective communication within families can strengthen bonds and enhance understanding.

Quote: “Family is not an important thing. It’s everything.” –Michael J. Fox

First Conversation Starter:

Boy Thinking Chin
Making Memories Together


Encourage thoughtful responses. Urge your child to think before they speak. This prompts the child to take a moment to organize their thoughts before starting the timer. It helps develop their communication skills and encourages mindful expression.

Metaphor: Just as a sculptor meticulously shapes their creation, let your child carefully sculpt their words before sharing their thoughts.

Quote: “The most important thing in the world is family and love.” –John Wooden

Second Conversation Starter:

Girl looking up Thinking
Using The Power of Visualization


Stimulate the power of visualization by asking your child to imagine their response before speaking. This technique allows them to tap into their creativity and promotes imaginative thinking. It adds a fun twist to the conversation, making it engaging for everyone involved.

Conversation Tip:

If a member wishes to choose a previous person's topic, time them for two minutes to provide equal speaking opportunities. This fun twist adds a touch of excitement and ensures everyone's ideas are heard.

Quote: “To us, family means putting your arms around each other and being there.” –Barbara Bush

Third Conversation Starter:

Fostering Family Communication and Interest


Reflect on your earliest memory and share why it has remained significant to you. This question allows Mom to take a nostalgic journey, reminiscing about a special moment from her past. The family gets to learn something about Mom they never knew.

Quote: “Family gives you the roots to stand tall and strong.”

Fourth Conversation Starter:

 Uniting Families through Shared Stories



Explore what Dad loves most about the family and why. This prompt encourages Dad to express his appreciation for the unique qualities and bonds shared within the family unit.

Are you going on a family trip, enjoying a car ride, or spending a cozy night at home? These conversation openers can create a warm and engaging atmosphere within your family. Remember, the key is to have fun and cherish the moments spent together.

To make our fifteen conversation starters (below) easily accessible, consider placing them in an envelope, a glove compartment, purse, or a backpack. Why? To ensure they are within reach whenever a conversation inspiration strikes.

Enjoy our enhanced conversation starters. Explore the enriching conversations that await you!

Conversation Starters Conclusion:

Utilizing conversation starters during family vacations can create cherished memories and foster meaningful connections. They give each family member an equal chance to express their thoughts. These conversation starters enhance communication within the family unit. So, make sure to pack the free conversation starters below for your next trip or even a cozy night at home. Remember, a happy family vacation is all about having fun together.

Fact: Engaging in regular family conversations has been linked to improved child development and overall family well-being.

Quote: “The only rock I know that stays steady, the only institution I know that works, is the family.” –Lee Iacocca

Don't miss out! Visit and enter the code "CAR" to download all fifteen conversation starters for free. Also, feel free to comment and share this post with your friends on social media.

You might also like to learn more about travel benefits for children from my friend, John Bramer:

Family Travel: The Positive Developmental Impact of Travel on Kids

It's an easy delightful read and matches our ideas nicely.

With warm wishes,

Jean Tracy

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Turn Your Sad Child into a Happy Thinker – 5 Easy Steps

Frustrated boy SMALL
"Nobody likes me."


This sad boy talks to himself constantly. He tells himself self-pity thoughts. Find out how to help him.
People talk to themselves a lot. Often, they’re not aware of what they tell themselves.
When their thoughts are happy and healthy, they feel strong and positive.
When their thoughts are sad and filled with self-pity, they feel weak and miserable.

Girl laughing
You CAN help your child choose how to think.


How can you help your child become

a strong happy thinker? Here’s how:

Pick up your free Happy Thinker Exercise at  Insert the code word - THINKER and download your gift.

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Bullying - Stop Your Child from Being Bullied!

Hand to Boy SMALL
You Can Help Your Bullied Child


The Bullied Child - How Parents Can Help

Bullying is a big deal. When a bullied child fills his mind with revenge, bad things can happen.

Or he thinks thoughts like:

  1. Nobody likes me.
  2. I’m so ugly.
  3. I’m stupid.

His mind recycles many painful thoughts. He may turn his pain into self-shame.

In this post, I will share how a parent of elementary age children can counsel their bullied child with ideas that work.

How Your Bullied Child Is a Big Deal for the You

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Raising a Bullied Child Hurts You Too


Imagine your child, Samuel, hates school. You talk to his teacher. She says, “Your child is being bullied and he has no friends.”

You learn what kids yell at him and it breaks your heart because the name-calling happens over and over.

Now Sam avoids eye contact. He doesn’t talk. He stays alone in his room. Lately, he pouts, grunts his answers, and often cries. His behavior hurts you because you love him so much.

Parents and Son
Parents Comforting Bullied Son

What can you do?

  1. Go to him. Hug and hold him gently. Say, “I know something is wrong.”
  2. Tell Sam what you’ve noticed about his behavior that tells you he’s unhappy.
  3. Ask him, “What’s going on, Sam?”

The Pillow Punching Technique

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Teach the Pillow Punching Technique


If Sam cries or just grunts say, “Here’s a way to let your feelings out. Take this pillow. Punch it as hard as you can. Do it over and over until you feel better. I’ll be here if you need me.”

When Sam’s done ask, “What was that all about?”

Listen without interruption. When he stops talking say, “Tell me more.”

The Stress Drawing Technique

Boy drawing
Guide with the Stress Drawing Technique


The painful picture:

Tell Sam to draw a picture of his feelings. The picture could be dark scribbles, a stick picture of himself, or something else. Say, “Tell me about your picture.”

Appreciate what your child told you. Say, “Thank you for sharing your pain with me.

The positive picture

Ask Sam to:

  1. “Draw a picture of how you would like things to be.”
  2. “Brainstorm 3 good ideas to try for making your positive picture come true.”

The Bullying Plan

Because bullying is a big deal, include your child in the plan. Make sure he will cooperate. Tell him, “No one deserves to be bullied and that means you.” Here's How:

Make a Bullying Plan with Your Child  - Read How

In this article you'll also find important tips to help your bullied child make friends.


Watch this short video together. 

Bullying – How Parents Help Kids Choose Kindness 


Related Product: Social Skills Kit for Kids

Social Skills Kit Best


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Family Vacations - 15 Conversations for Carefree Travelers



Conversation starters are perfect for vacations. Children get to speak, and you get to hear what they really think. Your kids get to hear what you think too.

Boy watch time
"One, Two, Three -GO!"


Time how long each person speaks. One minute is good for starters. 

Rule: No interrupting!

The first speaker picks his conversation from an envelope (see below). No peeking!


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This child is thinking before he speaks.



The timer starts only when the speaker starts. When the speaker is finished, the group may ask him questions or give their opinions.

He then chooses the next person to speak. (Make sure everyone has a turn.)



This girl is visualizing her answer first.


If a member wants their turn to be a previous person’s topic, time them for one minute. Then that person picks the next speaker.


Mom is thinking whether to answer this question or the
previous one.


Note. The group can use the same conversation opener for everyone. Otherwise, each member can pick their own conversation. .


Dad is smiling as he thinks.


Put the Conversation Starters in an envelope, purse, or backpack. Make them easy to find.

Whether you're going on a trip, a car ride, or a fun night at home, use these conversation openers. They're a great way to feel warm and cozy as a family. Remember, if f your having fun, your doing it right.

Get all 15 conversations starters. Insert code: CAR and download at  - They're FREE!


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Judging - Skin Color or Character? Teach Your Kids This

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How the Family Makes His Dream Come True


August 28, 1963, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. delivered his “I Have a Dream” speech. He told the crowd he wanted his four little children to be judged by the “content of their character,” not by the color of their skin.  You can make his dream come true.

Today, my new video will share 2 simple activities to teach your children. It promotes judging others in a way, I believe, Dr. King would approve.

Family Talk Asian 830

Teaching Children To Find the Good in Each Member


First Character Building Activity

Gather your family together once a week. Pick a member's name from a special bowl. Each member tells the person with the name they picked an honest compliment. What's this got to do with judging character and Dr. Martin Luther King?  'Judging' includes the good qualities you see in each other. 

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"Gabby, I like how nicely we talk to each other. You're
the best sister ever."


Second Character Building Activity 

Each member looks for the good in friends, classmates, and teachers. You'll see in the video how simple it is. Your children pay forward what they learned within your family. Imagine them sharing their experiences at your next family dinner.

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Toby, your speech about Dr. King was so interesting.


Hopefully friends, classmates and teachers will also spread the good they find in others. Why? Because to 'judge' by looking for the good in others makes both the giver the receiver feel great.

It all starts in the family.

Enjoy this video now.  How Children Promote Dr. Martin Luther King's Dream



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Jean Tracy, MSS


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Invitations - How Diverse Families Make Friends



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How Diverse Families Make Friends


Our Melting Pot Culture is filled with racial and ethnic treasures. When we extend a hand in friendship to one another, opportunities flow-in. But it can be scary.

Cross Cultural Invitations

A Handshake Woman 461
Extend a Hand with an Invite


Making friends can be risky.

Don’t be shy. Just be frisky,

Smile kindly big and bright.

Extend your hand with an invite,

That crosses cultures and you will see,

Your new friend is filled with glee.

Once that door is open, barriers can be overcome, friendships can begin, and appreciation for our sameness and differences can blossom.

Friendship Ice Breakers 

Girl Flowers
Invite Friendships with Flowers

Everyone is responsible to extend a hand in friendship. There are fun and easy ways to break the ice with invitations like:

  1. A neighborhood party
  2. A plate of cookies
  3. A bouquet of flowers
  4. More Invitations Ideas

Racially Diverse Friendships Enrich Us When We:

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Arrange Neighborhood Sports 


  1. Teach each other our languages
  2. Exchange specialty recipes
  3. Share family traditions
  4. Play board games
  5. Eat dinners at each other’s home
  6. Organize potluck dinner parties
  7. More Cultural Enrichment Ideas

All these ways and more help us love our neighbors as treasures. We grow and they grow.

For more ideas on how to connect with others go to:

Diverse Friendships - How Families Come Together

Diverse Heart 450
Loving Each Other As Treasures


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These 7 Parenting Questions Turn Tattletales into Problem-Solvers - Video Included

Listening 800 H
Listening Is the Key to Stopping the Tattling


Parents yell, “Stop Tattling!”

Listening to tattling is like scratching a swollen mosquito bite. If you listen to it over and over, it will get worse. Tattling becomes your child’s  habit.  Screaming becomes your cure, but only for the moment.

There is a better way. Today we’ll show a video to stop the tattling. You’ll see within the video a father who asks his daughter,

“Are you trying to help or hurt your sister?”

If she’s tattling to get her sister in trouble, he tells her:

“Please try to solve the problem yourself. Then come back and tell me how you solved it.”

Two Parenting Goals for Problem-Solving

  1. To increase problem-solving with your positive attention.
  2. To decrease tattling.
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Listening Is the Gift Your Child Wants


The Problem-Solving Gift

Imagine you’re the girl’s father. When she returns to share her solution, listen. Good listening is a hug without words. It is filled with your attention. It is peaceful and loving. It is your gift to her.

How Listening Shows Caring:

Good listening avoids judging or arguing. It really wants to know your child’s thoughts and feelings. If there is something you don’t understand, ask questions after she’s done speaking.

Here is what you might say when your child shares her solution:

  1. Let’s talk about your solution.
  2. What voice did you use and what did you say?
  3. How did it end?
  4. How did you feel after you solved it?
  5. What do you need to do to avoid a conflict next time?
  6. What do you think of your becoming a problem-solver?
  7. Can you guess how proud I am of you?

In the end, you want your child to be able to say, “ You really listened. You really care about how I think.”

Listening is a gift that can be used over and over in many different situations, not just tattling. Why? Because listening with love is what your child wants.  It creates a bond with your child and harmony in your home. Yes, it takes more time and it is rewarding. It is a great way to teach problem-solving. 

This brief video shares more ways to stop the tattling: 

Tattletale Kids: 10 Tips for Frustrated Parents



You might also like this article:

How Parents Stop Kids from Tattling on Sibs

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Jean Tracy, MSS


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The Virus - How Parents Calm Children in 9 Easy Steps

Scientist 800
This Drawing Technique Helps Kids Overcome Fear


The coronavirus scares your child.

“Mom, are we safe?”

“What do you mean?”

“Will we get sick too?”

Disaster news is everywhere. TV, newspapers, social media and even billboard reminders are appearing in some places.

Children are home. Parents are home. Everyone is scared.

Today's 3 Practical Parenting Steps:

  1. Review the 9 listening skills.
  2. Learn the drawing technique by using it to calm yourself first.
  3. Teach the drawing technique to your child. 


9 Listening Skills Effective Parents Need

Review the following listening tips:

  1. Listen with direct eye contact, a caring smile and both ears.
  2. Ask questions to be sure you understand.
  3. Be patient. Give enough time for your child to form thoughts.
  4. Repeat your child's ideas in your own words. Follow up with, “Is that correct?”
  5. Encourage continued sharing by saying, “Tell me more.”
  6. Walk in your child's shoes. With empathy try to feel what he’s feeling.
  7. Avoid interrupting or jumping to conclusions. Listen to the end.
  8. Share your thoughts after your child's finished..
  9. Begin by reflecting feelings. “It sounds like you’re (upset or sad or confused, etc.).”

You Are the Best Counselor for Your Kids

Asian Mom and Daughter
Kids Trust Parents to Help Them


As a counselor for many years, I’ve used the drawing strategy below with children and adults. It works. Why? Because it's a unique way of understanding feelings, especially fears. 

When you listen well, teach practical skills and show caring, your child trusts you and feels loved. Love and trust make you the most powerful counselor of all.

9 Ways Parents Can Calm Themselves and Their Children

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Drawing Calms Your Kid's Anxiety


  1. Ask your boy or girl to, “Draw a picture of the fear.”
  2. Probe Gently: “What does your picture mean to you?”
  3. Say, “Tell me more,” several times until you hear all the anxious thoughts.
  4. Say, “Draw how you would like to feel.” Then say, “Tell me about your new picture.”
  5. Suggest, “Let's brainstorm what you could do to make your picture come true.” Wait patiently for your child’s ideas first.
  6. Say, “Write down 3 small ways you can make your positive picture come true.
  7. Say, “Pick one little step to try now." 
  8. Instruct your child, "Visualize your new picture clearly. Feel it and give it a positive title. Then post it on the fridge." Give your child all the time he or she needs.
  9.  Praise your child for calming his fear.

Discuss the second and third small steps in the following days to reinforce over time what has been learned.

Drawing an optimistic picture gives your child power over the fear. By visualizing it, feeling it and giving it a positive title, your child changes his scary mindset. Posting it on the fridge becomes a strong reminder to "stay calm and carry on." Use this technique as often as your child needs.

Consider applying it for any painful emotion your child may experience. You could even use it as a home schooling strategy.

You might like this video because it also reinforces the steps:

How Parents Help Anxious Kids Feel Confident


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Jean Tracy, MSS


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