Reduce parent and child arguments: How a pen and a blank piece of paper can reduce stress and increase evening productivity

Over 200 people have now completed the in-depth Tougher Minds Parent Training programme, hosted at our partner schools in the London area.

One strong and consistent finding from parental feedback is the huge benefit of helping children to make a detailed time plan of each of their evenings. We refer to this as a timeline.

Parents have found that if they help children to plan out when school work will be completed, as well as the timing of other activities, including going to bed, a very positive effect is seen. In fact, the beneficial impact goes beyond improving the quality and quantity of homework and revision.

Some pupils and parents report difficulty in finding time for both schoolwork and extracurricular commitments. Others identify disagreement about when work should be done and what time to go to bed. These things can be a significant cause of stress and bad feeling in the family. Creating a timeline in advance, which maps out how the evening will progress, addresses and de-escalates issues such as these.

Developing a timeline for an evening is a simple process but one that is easy to skip. Children and parents should work together to make it a habit by finding a consistent time and place for it. Planning could even take place over the phone.

All you need is a blank piece of paper with a single line drawn down the middle. At the top, write the current time, then at the bottom of the page, write the time at which the child will be asleep.

Once this is done, the child can add the time of the evening meal and any other fixed commitments. Homework tasks should then be inserted into appropriately sized blocks of time between these points. This process only takes between five to ten minutes and yet it saves hours of procrastination and disagreement. Spending minutes to save hours is a deal well worth making!

In our work with families we have observed the benefits when children complete their homework earlier and to a better standard, whilst also having longer for sleep, music, sport and exercise. They are also able to spend more time with family and address any problems they have with individual subjects or indeed pursue an interest in those they most enjoy, beyond the bounds of the syllabus.

As a result, they are better placed for all the challenges that lie ahead of them. Just as importantly, they are happier.

Tougher Minds Training for Parents – Learn to help your children
Tougher Minds is staging a bite-size training event for parents this Thursday (10th March), at the UCL Institute of Education in central London. It will show simple and practical techniques that can be used in the home to help families with issues like those discussed in this blog. It will also show how parents can help children to improve their confidence and other key attributes, including concentration, motivation and self-control. The event consists of two separate sessions for parents with children of different ages.

Session One (6.45pm-7.45pm) Support children with entrance exams / 11 plus or transition to senior school.

Price: £49 per attendee.
*How to reduce stress and build confidence.
*Truly effective revision planning and goal setting.
*How to boost concentration in class.
*How to deal with the big step up in homework.
*How to maximize your learning, and have quality downtime.

Find out more here.

Session Two (8.15pm-9.15pm) Improve GCSE and A Level exam results: parent and teenager session.

Price: £49 per attendee.
*How to maintain motivation and manage stress when exams are approaching. (Iceberg)
*Truly effective revision planning and goal setting.
*How to keep track of your revision progress.
*The 20:20 rule – spend the right amount of time per topic, and maximise learning.
*How to think clearly during exams.

Find out more here.

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