Blog

Check out our variety of resources and tips on Executive Function support, ADHD, mental health, and more

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By Sean Potts | Oct 30, 2023

22 ADHD Coping Skills That You Need to Learn

In a world that rewards peak productivity and efficiency, living with ADHD can feel like you’re swimming upstream against a powerful current. No matter how hard you try to fight the current with willpower alone, you end up downstream from where you wanted to go, exhausted and discouraged from your failed efforts. Despite decades of research showing that ADHD is a very...

By Sean Potts | Oct 30, 2023
By Sean Potts | Sep 14, 2023

How To Parent A Child With ADHD: Helpful Tips For Parents

It’s often said that there’s nothing that can fully prepare you for becoming a parent. Although we may never know precisely who said that quote originally, I strongly suspect that they had at least one kid with ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder). Having once been one of the 6.1 million kids and teens with ADHD, I know firsthand how difficult it is to grow u...

By Sean Potts | Sep 14, 2023
By Jackie Hebert | Apr 20, 2023

Thriving with ADHD: An In-Depth Look at ADHD Coaching

Have you or someone you know been diagnosed with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)? If so, you're not alone. Millions of people worldwide face the challenges that come with ADHD, including difficulties in focus, organization, and executive functioning. While medication can help manage some symptoms, ADHD coaching is an alternative or complementary approa...

By Sean Potts | Feb 17, 2023

Executive Dysfunction 101: How to Treat ADHD's Most Difficult Symptom

Regardless of age, learning that you or a loved one has ADHD or experiences symptoms of Executive Dysfunction can be difficult to process. One of the reasons that this news can be so overwhelming is that there's simply so much information out there on the subject that it can feel like an impossible task just to decipher what's true or important (let alone decide what ...

By Sean Potts | Feb 17, 2023
By Hannah Choi | Feb 10, 2023

Learn to Love Life Again: 5 Coping Tips from a Grief and Loss Expert

Grief, loss, and emotional trauma are really hard to think about or talk about. Because our podcast, Focus Forward, aims to tackle these things that are hard to talk about, I reached out to Dr. Lisa Shulman to explore the topic of how the experience of loss impacts our brains and our executive functioning. You can listen to that episode here.

By Hannah Choi | Feb 10, 2023
By Jackie Hebert | Jan 03, 2023

Is Executive Function the Missing Link to Your Kid's Success?

You’ve puzzled over plenty of life’s mysteries. Why does food taste better outdoors? Why did that weird ad show up in my feed? Where’s my other sock? When it comes to our kids’ academic performance, one mystery we hear from parents is: “Why is my smart kid struggling?” I mean, your kid can talk your ear off about black holes, or the Ming Dynasty, or Shakespearean subp...

ADHD Child Refuses to Do Schoolwork: Top Tips to Help | Beyond Booksmart

Let’s be honest… No student loves homework - and for good reason. When we consider the full school day, extracurriculars, and various social components that are all part of a typical school week, it’s no wonder why students want to relax and recharge when they finally get home. However, part of growing up is learning to roll up our sleeves and do those essential thing...

By Hannah Choi | Oct 20, 2022

4 Coping Skills Teens Need to Build Lifelong Resilience

By the time the semester hits mid-October, college and high-school students are really starting to get into the thick of the school year's demands. And although getting through all the deadlines successfully may seem most important, it's also critical to remember that burnout is real and emotional well-being is often more important than checking off another item on th...

By Hannah Choi | Oct 20, 2022

Failure to Launch: How to Nudge Your Young Adult Toward Independence

Although parents have many responsibilities, the greatest one of all is to equip our kids with the skills they need to grow into successful, independent, and happy adults. However, when we find that our kids’ transition into adulthood isn’t happening the way we hoped, that responsibility can suddenly become a terrible burden. Whether it’s around the end of high school...

By Jackie Hebert | Sep 01, 2022

3 Life-Changing Tips for Parents of College Students

Exactly a decade ago, I found myself trundling toward Louis Armstrong Airport on a crowded shuttle of folks like me who were eager to evacuate New Orleans before Hurricane Isaac made landfall. My mental checklist ticked off all the items I needed to have with me: wallet, ID, tickets, carry-on bag. Hmmm - I seemed to be missing one important thing. Oh yeah, my kid! I h...

By Jackie Hebert | Jun 27, 2022

8 Things You Need to Know About ADHD After a Diagnosis

Editor's note: This article has been reviewed and verified for accuracy by Theresa Cerulli, MD., a nationally certified neuropsychiatrist with over 20 years of expertise in diagnosing and treating ADHD in children and adults. It can be overwhelming when you learn that you or a loved one has ADHD, whether they're an adult or a child. There’s so much information availab...

By Jackie Hebert | May 19, 2022

4 Life Skills For Teens That Help Them Do Anything

We’ll start this essential topic with a little pop quiz. How would you complete this statement? When my kid starts living on their own, I worry that they won’t be able to ____________. Chances are, your answers were pretty similar to what we hear from the thousands of parents we talk to every year. Perhaps you listed numerous concerns like making their own medical app...

By Sean Potts | May 05, 2022

What Should You Treat First: ADHD or Mental Health Challenges?

Over the last few years, you may have noticed that there are more conversations happening around mental health, and for good reason. Whether it's primarily due to pandemic shifts, the prevalence of technology, or a combination of factors, more people than ever are feeling anxious and depressed. Although the suffering caused by these challenges is difficult to adequate...

By Sean Potts | May 05, 2022
By Hannah Choi | Apr 20, 2022

3 Strategies to Cope with Failure on the Path to Self-Improvement

As Executive Function coaches, we find that many of the people we work with feel disheartened or stressed when they fail to reach their self-improvement goals. After all, when you work to change your habits, you're putting yourself in a vulnerable position where you're trusting that you are capable of making a change. This is why it's often so upsetting, particularly ...

By Hannah Choi | Apr 20, 2022
By Brittany Peterson | Apr 07, 2022

A Day in the Life of a College Student with Executive Dysfunction

Picture this: You go from a 6:30am wake-ups 5 days a week to 10:00am ones. You go from six intense hours of learning to a 50-minute class followed by a three hour break. You go from abiding by a curfew to being able to stay up as late as you want. These are the kinds of transitions that college freshman eagerly look forward to (and make all of us wish we were still in...

By Jackie Hebert | Mar 16, 2022

Overwhelmed by College? Here's How to Regain Control

The college environment presents greater demands for self-management than most young adults have ever experienced. Add in the fallout from pandemic disruptions and we really do have a perfect storm of circumstances that have left many college students anxious, depressed, and overwhelmed. Why are college students struggling? Consider a few of these scenarios to give yo...

A Day in the Life of a High Schooler with Executive Dysfunction

Living with executive dysfunction makes life infinitely more difficult - especially for high schoolers. For the first time in their lives, struggling to manage time, stay organized, resist procrastination, and study effectively all begin to have meaningful consequences. Even so, it's also the perfect time to build these skills before their demands ramp up in college a...

By Sean Potts | Jan 24, 2022

When Getting Started is Impossible: 5 Procrastination Hacks that Work

Of all the Executive Function-related challenges we experience, procrastination is most pervasive. Even the most successful students and adults can struggle to initiate a difficult or less-than-exciting task. So what can they do about it? Plenty, it turns out. This week, we’ll be sharing the 5 best strategies to conquer procrastination, all of which have been tested b...

By Sean Potts | Jan 24, 2022
By Sean Potts | Jan 10, 2022

What College Students Struggle with Most (and what you can do to help)

When you’re struggling with self-management, every day can feel like an uphill battle. Not knowing how to manage time, effort, or emotions - or to organize and plan in order to meet demands, is an exhausting way to live. And although it can feel isolating for those who are struggling, these problems are far more common than most of us might think.

By Sean Potts | Jan 10, 2022
By Sean Potts | Dec 15, 2021

A Survival Kit for the New Year: Our 21 Best Tips from 2021

Somehow, we’ve reached the final chapter of 2021. It's safe to say that this year was one giant learning experience as we all have tried to adapt to a world that was unrecognizable just two years ago. We've been lucky to have so many brilliant individuals share their wisdom with our community and contribute to this year of learning. Between the dozens of teachers, the...

By Sean Potts | Dec 15, 2021
By Jackie Hebert | Dec 01, 2021

What You Don't Know About 504 Plans

If you’ve worked hard to get your child approved for a 504 plan for their ADHD, there can be a “phew!” moment after all those documents are signed. And while it’s a good move forward in leveling the playing field for your child, it’s really just the first step in a more comprehensive process of supporting your child’s academic performance. Wait - what? (In case you’re...

By Sean Potts | Nov 11, 2021

Student Stress: Untangling the Anxiety & Executive Function Connection

Have you noticed that almost everyone seems to be talking about anxiety lately? It may be because mental health, in general, is becoming less stigmatized, but it’s also clear that anxiety is simply becoming more prevalent in our world. This is especially true for students. According to the National Institute of Health, nearly 1 in 3 adolescents aged 13-18 will experie...

By Sean Potts | Nov 11, 2021
By Dr. Eva Benmeleh | Oct 28, 2021

Why Your Executive Function Challenges May Be Rooted in Perfectionism

Editor's Note: In this week's blog, we invited clinical psychologist, Dr. Eva Benmeleh, to share her unique perspective & expertise on perfectionism - an area that her practice focuses on treating. --- As a psychologist who specializes in perfectionism, parents often ask me whether or not their children could have ADHD. It may be because their room is a total disa...

Exhausted by the School Year (already)? How to Get Back on Track

The school year that seemed brand new just one month ago is now entering the “routine” phase that tends to make the weeks and months fly by. But before we’re transported to the June finish line, our kids have a lot of school to get through - and now that we’re past the cautious optimism of the first few weeks, you may have noticed that your student’s bright-eyed optim...

By Lindsey Weishar | Jul 21, 2021

Helping Your Child Find Fun in Summer Reading

Though summer hopefully has been a time for rest, relaxation, and reset, it’s also perhaps had some required summer reading for your student (whether they’ve started it yet or not...) This type of homework can feel like the antithesis of fun, especially during summer vacation, and your student may feel like putting it off until the last minute. This is often the momen...

Build Your Student’s Self-Worth: 3 Tips to Conquer Imposter Syndrome

If we were to eavesdrop on the inner thoughts of some students, we might hear something like this: "There is no way I belong in this honors-level class with all these geniuses!" "I got into jazz band on a lucky break. Once they hear me play, they'll know I don’t deserve to be here." "Why did I take AP Art? This class is for real artists, not me." Whether it’s in a spe...

Awkward Adolescence: 4 Tips to Help Your Student Master Self-Care

For most of us, simply thinking about our early teen years can quickly produce cringe-worthy memories of awkward social interactions, questionable fashion choices, and hormonal chaos - all of which feel best left in the corners of our middle school locker. But what can often be equally uncomfortable is the tough landscape of actually parenting adolescent kids. Accordi...

By Lindsey Weishar | May 27, 2021

Blank Page Panic? 4 Simple Steps to Write an Essay that Impresses

Does your child start to panic when they get an essay assignment? As coaches, we see this frequently. Writing can be hard for students, especially when they have challenges in Executive Function areas like organization, planning, and task initiation. Here's a useful guide to help your student overcome that hesitation and write a paper they (and their teachers) can fee...

By Sara Sullivan | May 12, 2021

4 Tips for The High School to College Transition

Editor's note: This week, we invited Sara Sullivan, a rising senior at Brown University, to share her experience transitioning to college, and the advice that she wished she had known in high school.

By Lindsey Weishar | Apr 28, 2021

When Perfectionism Paralyzes: 4 Steps to (Actually) Get Writing Done

Put yourself in your student's shoes: You’ve got an essay due in a week, and perhaps you’re not particularly looking forward to it. You set up your study space, turn on your computer, open a blank document, curl your fingers over your keyboard, and…nothing. You’ve got nothing.

Answers to Parents' 5 Biggest Questions (From Student Success Experts)

One benefit of having over 400 coaches at Beyond BookSmart is the ability to gather insights from such a wide field of Executive Function experts. And given how chaotic this past academic year has been, our coaches have become accustomed to answering some of the most pressing concerns that parents have about their kids’ learning. In this week’s article, two of our coa...

By Laura Thoresen | Jan 27, 2021

How to Keep Your Kids On Track (Without Being a Helicopter Parent)

Picture this - you just finished your second Zoom meeting of the day. Your daughter is in the kitchen attending school remotely. She is a bright kid, but tends to be get distracted and off track during her remote classes. You walk into the kitchen to refill your coffee, but really your objective is to check in on her. As you walk in, she frantically closes a couple ta...

By Jackie Hebert | Dec 30, 2021

1000 Calls in 2020: Insights from Frontline Executive Function Support

Moments of quiet and calm - and eruptions of tears and frustration. At night, a tangle of worried thoughts instead of restful sleep. While this could describe daily life for many of us in 2020, our team has been particularly attuned to the new challenges that parents and professionals have been facing this year. How have we kept our fingers on the pulse? During the pa...

Why You Should Stop Rescuing Your Teen (and what to do instead)

It’s 7:45 on a Thursday night and your son finally gives his eyes a break from the TV just long enough to remember that he has a major essay due for English tomorrow. He might not admit it, but the frantic pacing and backpack digging already reveal everything you need to know - it’s not the first time he’s had a last-minute cramming crisis. Without asking details, you...

By Emily Toffelmire | Nov 30, 2020

What High School Juniors Can Do Now to Make Senior Year Less Stressful

Editor’s note: This week, we feature guest blogger Emily Toffelmire, Senior Manager of Educational Counseling for Bright Horizons College Coach. Please read more about Emily below. Senior year of high school can be one of the most memorable and fun times in a young person’s life. But for students who put off all things college-app related until then, that first semest...

By Diana Horan | Oct 16, 2020

6 Simple Motivation Hacks for a More Productive Life

“Not another meal to prepare!” “I wish I was motivated to work-out.” “I just didn’t have the time to do that today." Sound familiar? You're certainly not alone - getting motivated isn't always easy. We all have those days where the routines get stale and even getting out of bed becomes an arduous task. In this article, I'm going to share my six simple motivating hacks...

By Diana Horan | Oct 16, 2020
By Diana Horan | Sep 30, 2020

The Best 15-Minute Strategy for Overwhelmed Parents

Ah, the pandemic... Overnight, many of us parents became a nurse, a short-order cook, a guidance counselor, a teacher, and - most of all - a multitasking pro. From worried, sleepless nights to tired workdays, life as a parent in 2020 has been a challenge with seemingly no end in sight. How can we as parents possibly help our children when we are feeling totally overwh...

By Diana Horan | Sep 30, 2020
By Brittany Peterson | Sep 16, 2020

Executive Functioning Isn’t Just Kid Stuff: A New Resource for Adults

Mia, a curious 6th grader who was into dinosaurs and art class more than anything else, had been working with me for about two months when she finally settled on her organizational system: Triceratops stickers on her math folder, Ankylosaurus stickers on the English folder, and Velociraptor stickers for the social studies folder. Science and art -- her favorite subjec...

By Lisa Gurdin | Jul 23, 2020

How Establishing Routines Helps Students Cope with the Pandemic

Predictability. Just the word itself provokes a sense of calm. Unfortunately, the world we live in at the moment is probably going to be the most unpredictable we have and will ever experience and none of it is in our control. We have a choice to allow this fact to overwhelm us or we can focus on what we can control. What can we do to make our personal worlds more cal...

By Lisa Gurdin | Jul 23, 2020
By Brittany Peterson | Jun 25, 2020

Activating Teens with a Summer Project to Build Executive Functioning

This turbulent school year has finally reached its end! But now that summer is here, many of you may be shifting into this new season with some concerns: What will my teen do if they’re not returning to camp? Will my teen be screen-bound for hours on end? Will my teen sleep all day and stay up all night, messing with their circadian rhythm? All of this upcoming downti...

By Talia Zito | Jun 20, 2020

Gaining Calm by Organizing: How to Clear Your Space & Mind

We are living in an unprecedented time. As easy as it is to become overwhelmed amidst the chaos, there are things we can do to take control of the world around us in order to bring about a sense of security and calm. One of the most effective steps we can take to do this is by first getting a grip on our organizational skills. With so many of us being stuck at home, t...

By Talia Zito | Jun 20, 2020
By Sean Potts | Jun 11, 2020

Adulting in 2020: 5 Key Tips for Resilience from a Recent College Grad

We’ve finally reached the halfway point of 2020, and I think I speak for just about everyone in saying that these past 6 months have felt more like 6 years. A global pandemic, widespread economic uncertainty, mass unemployment, and now, historic protests against police brutality and racial injustice in every major US city - all of which have already cemented 2020 as a...

By Sean Potts | Jun 11, 2020
By Brittany Peterson | May 28, 2020

Managing Loneliness While Working From Home

By now, some folks might be going back to work on site -- whether in full force or in a hybrid model. Many of us, though, are cruising past the two-month mark of working from home. If that’s you, you’ve probably gotten into somewhat of a groove. You’ve got the right mindset for working remotely and you’ve got your distractions managed so you can stay productive. But j...

By Angela Molloy | Apr 21, 2020

5 Survival Tips for Working From Home With Kids

Being a working parent is a difficult job - especially when you have a 4th grade son with ADHD and a 4-year old daughter with more stamina than the Energizer Bunny. Now with COVID-19 forcing many parents to work from home, the fragile balance between our career responsibilities and duties as parents has been destabilized, transforming one difficult job into two seemin...

By Jackie Hebert | Dec 05, 2019

Why Smart Kids Can Struggle in School

The first part of the school year is almost in the record books, and already you see the writing on the wall. Your bright, funny, curious child brought home a backpack crammed with crumpled worksheets, last week’s hummus snack, and teacher comments that were less than stellar. You know she can do better. Her teachers know she can do better. Your child wants to do well...

By Wendy Gordon-Hewick | Sep 30, 2019

Time for Bed! Why Sleep is Essential for Executive Functioning

“But I don’t want to go to bed!” Pretty much every parent has heard these words, or some variation, as early as...well, my three-year old says it, so let’s go with that. Usually one more story suffices at this age, but as children get older, the pleas often become more difficult to navigate.

By Alisha Kowsky | Aug 30, 2019

6 Steps to Successful Goal Setting for Students (and Adults!)

Did you ever notice that September, the beginning of the school year for most students, shares something in common with January, the beginning of the calendar year? Both present a great opportunity to start anew, wipe the slate clean, and make positive changes. For some of us, these starting points might inspire setting goals for fitness, knowledge, or skills we’d lik...

By Hannah Choi | Jan 04, 2019

The Life-Changing Magic of Going Analog in a Digital World

Everything these days seems to be going digital. Apps for this, websites for that, Google Home or Alexa taking up residence in our living rooms. It can be helpful for planning and keeping track of our busy lives, but can also a bit overwhelming and distracting. For those of us who prefer paper and pen as opposed to a digital calendar, using a day planner can be one of...

By Hannah Choi | Jan 04, 2019
By Pia Cisternino | Aug 15, 2018

Back to School Tips for the Family with Executive Function Challenges

The lazy days of summer are nearing an end and the kids are finally heading back to school. This time of year can be a relief for many parents, but it can also feel overwhelming: How will we be ready for that hectic first day? Where is that school supply list? Did my child complete their summer reading log? If your child has Executive Function issues, much of the burd...

By Lindsay Schelhorn | Jun 08, 2018

How to Memorize More Effectively (When Technology is Not an Option!)

Do you ever run into the grocery store with a short list in your head and leave with only half of what you went in for? Does your son have to memorize the names of the planets in order, numerical operations, science classifications, or the beaches of the Normandy D-Day invasion - and does he always forget one or two? Does your daughter “cram” the night before a vocabu...

By Pia Cisternino | Mar 27, 2018

A Day in the Life: Parenting a Child with Executive Function Challenges

No matter what the age or disposition of your child, parenting is a tough job. Add Executive Function challenges to the mix and life can go from joy to confusion in a matter of minutes. If your child has Executive Function challenges, your entire day is a potential minefield of frustrating scenarios — but hold on, your friendly neighborhood Executive Function coach ha...

By Lauren Saunders | Feb 28, 2018

Yoga and Executive Function: A Combination for Student Success

Lately yoga has been paired with everything from goats to beer, but the most natural pairing may well be yoga and students. For a fun activity that has no specific goal, yoga can certainly pack a punch when it comes to helping with self-management skills. How could a non-competitive exercise help students to sharpen their Executive Function skills? Practicing yoga not...

By Leora Tanzman | Dec 28, 2017

Sleep Deprivation: A Roadblock to Improving Executive Function

Here's a glimpse into a typical morning when I was in high school... My sleep fogged brain hears my alarm as if from a distance. I had stayed up until 2:30am finishing a paper for history that I should have started weeks ago. I gather up enough strength to make the noise stop by snoozing my alarm until my mother encourages me out of bed. After dressing, I can’t rememb...

By Lindsay Schelhorn | Jun 07, 2017

Overcoming End of School Year Procrastination & Lack of Motivation

"Help! My child has senioritis — and she's only a freshman (or a 7th grader, or a 4th grader...)!" Has your child spent hours staring at a piece of paper, futilely attempting to start some dreaded piece of homework? Has your daughter declared that she is “so over school"?

By Maria Harlow | Apr 10, 2017

What do Marathon Training and Good Study Habits Have in Common?

This is the second entry in a 3-part blog series highlighting my preparation, process, and reflection for the upcoming Boston Marathon. My first entry was back in October of last year when I was nothing but sunny and optimistic in preparation for marathon training. One thing I'm discovering is that when I coach my students to develop good study habits, I'm preparing t...

By Maria Harlow | Apr 10, 2017
By Dan Messier | Mar 06, 2017

Build Better Work Habits: How Your Brain Changes with Practice

When you work out your body, it’s usually because you’re looking to drop some fat. But when you work out your brain, you’re actually gaining some extra fat. Don’t worry, it’s not likely to register when you step on your scale. This fat operates at the microscopic level to help lock in skills and routines. How does your brain help you build better work habits? Well, he...

By Dan Messier | Mar 06, 2017

What are Executive Function skills?

Executive Function Skills are a set of cognitive skills that help individuals plan ahead, stay organized, regulate thoughts and behaviors, stay focused, and achieve their goals. Each of these skills can be taught, learned, and applied at any stage of life.

  • Time Management
  • Maintained Focus
  • Task Initiation
  • Stress Management
  • Organization
  • Prioritization
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