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Making College Affordable: 5 Tips for Securing Scholarships

College planning can be both exciting and stressful. While students and parents ...

The Best Strategy for Building Strong Student-Teacher Relationships

When I had to move when I was in college, I did what most people do: I asked my ...

Freshman Social Jitters? 5 Tips to Making Friends in College

As August nears its end and a new school year waits around the corner, a certain...

The Best Strategy for Building Strong Student-Teacher Relationships

When I had to move when I was in college, I did what most people do: I asked my friends for help. And, despite the busy lives they lead, they did. (Or, at least, many of them did. That’s right, I’m calling you out, Genevieve...) Now, I didn’t offer to pay my friends, but they helped me anyway. (I mean, I did bribe them with plenty of pizza, but no one volunteers to help you to move just for a few ...

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 specific subject area or with one...

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. According to our team of Client Serv...

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 feel proud of. Let's dive right i...

Transitioning to College: What I Wish I Knew in High School

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. 

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. 

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

“If I don’t wash the towels, then make up the lunches, then go get ice for the cooler, and pack the car up tonight, we’ll never get out the door and to the beach tomorrow.” This is just the sort of thing my friend Dylan would say as he prepares for Cape Cod traffic in the summer. Usually, I reply with something like: “Could Geoff help you with some of that?” Dylan laughs and rolls his eyes as he r...

Your Child’s School is Reopening: a RoadMAP for Student Readiness

We can feel the buzz in the air and vibrance in everyone’s step. I’m not talking about spring fever, I’m referring to our hope and excitement as we begin to imagine living in a post-pandemic world. As vaccinations become more widespread, so does everyone’s anticipation for a life resembling what we once had prior to COVID-19.  But will your child be ready?  We will never forget the fear as the pan...

Treating Student Anxiety: 7 Expert Support Tips for Parents

A few weeks ago, we gathered an expert panel of behavioral science and education professionals to discuss the complex process of treating anxiety in students. Although many of the insights they shared were directed toward practitioners who work with students, we couldn’t help but notice how relevant some of their advice was for parents, too. In this week’s article, we’ll be exploring a few of the ...

Inside a Master's Mind: How Chess Builds Executive Function Skills

2020 was a year filled with discovering (or rediscovering) new activities to keep us occupied in a COVID world: the joy of baking banana bread, learning a new instrument, decluttering long-neglected areas of our homes - and, more recently, the mental workout of playing chess. Thanks to the popular Netflix series “The Queen’s Gambit,” chess has enjoyed a resurgence in popularity. And unlike the ext...

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 past year, our Client Services...

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 sigh and abandon your own pla...

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 semester can be a stressful and slee...

Toxic Positivity: Self Esteem Costs of Poor Executive Function Skills

When I was in grad school, I worked at a gym. One of the things I recall vividly about my time there were the encouraging vibes from personal trainers, group fitness instructors, and the members themselves. People clung to mantras such as “The pain you feel today will be the strength you feel tomorrow” and “The only bad workout is the one you didn’t do”, and “Be stronger than your excuse.” Phrases...

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 that I use every day to live...

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 overwhelmed?

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 subjects -- were already well-decora...

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 calm, stable, and enjoyable?  

What Will College Look Like This Fall?

Every new college semester is a transition: New classes, new teachers, sometimes even new friends. This coming fall, however, will compound all of those changes with another one: A new way of learning. Yes, students do have a few months practice with the skill of learning-during-a-pandemic, but the spring semester was cushioned by lenient (and sometimes required) pass/fail options. With a much cle...

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 downtime provides a host of new chal...

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 an infamous year in the history...

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, this may present the perfect op...

The Anxious Middle Schooler: An Executive Function Connection

Middle school. For some of us, those three syllables can elicit chills of recalling social slights, embarrassing faux pas, and other growing pains of adolescence. Decades later, things haven’t changed much. In fact, it’s still about lunchtime and who you manage to sit near. As if that whole scene isn’t stressful enough, add in Executive Function challenges for a 6th, 7th, or 8th grader and you can...

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 like to acquire. For students, th...

Why Our Words Matter to Struggling Students

When I was little, I can remember being told the old adage, “Sticks and stones will break my bones, but words will never hurt me.” While I understand that it was meant to encourage me and to make me feel better when someone had said mean words to me, as an adult and as an educator, I now find that phrase a little dishonest. Words have meaning and they can - and do -hurt. But words can also encoura...

Did You Ask the Teacher? Supporting Students When They Won't Seek Help

Opportunities for learning are everywhere — both inside and outside of the classroom. As parents, coaches, and teachers, we want our students to be able to take advantage of these opportunities. Part of that objective is to support them to be effective advocates for their own learning. My three-year old son is pretty good at this. If he needs help, he will take my hand and lead me somewhere (to th...

Talking to Teachers: Building Self-Advocacy in College Students

Visiting a professor during office hours in college can be a daunting task, especially for freshmen. Students wonder if they should just stop by to introduce themselves or if they must prepare specific questions. Anxiety might take over, with students fearing they won’t sound smart enough or seem like “college material.” Students often think: “What if I make things worse by meeting with my profess...

How to Help Students with Learning Challenges Build Healthy Self-Esteem

Editor's note: This week, we feature guest blogger Samantha Kolkey, a licensed social worker and Director of Programs at Options for College Success. Please see her full bio below. I'd like to reveal to you a few examples of conversations I have had or overheard during my six years as a social worker serving individuals with learning disabilities.  Tutor: Why didn’t you complete the assigned readi...

A Coaching Alumnus Story: How Did a Struggling Student Transform?

Editor's note: This week, we feature guest blogger Sean Potts, a student who graduated from Executive Function coaching support to full independence. I clearly remember bringing home my report cards in 7th grade: a familiar assortment of C’s and D’s that I dreaded showing my parents. Despite the deep disappointment that I felt, I was seemingly powerless to change my situation. At the time, I had t...

Academic Anxiety: How Perfectionism and Executive Dysfunction Collide

As an Executive Function coach and clinical social worker, I have had a fair amount of experience working with adolescents who struggle with anxiety. Over the years, I have observed a phenomenon that highlights the intersection between perfectionism and executive function challenges. I call it the “comfort zone of misery.”

Partnering with Parents: Finding Personal Growth at Summer Camp

Editor's note: This week, we feature guest blogger Candy Cohn, Assistant Director of Maine Arts Camp, an overnight camp for 9-16 year old boys and girls in a non-competitive, nurturing environment. Located on Unity College’s campus, the program focuses on visual & performing arts, technology and individual/lifetime sports. Please read Candy's full bio below. 

Overcoming the Challenges of ADHD: A Success Story

At the age of 30, Daniel Koh's achievements would pluck a chord of envy in professionals twice his age. The highlights of Daniel’s résumé include stints as Chief of Staff to Arianna Huffington, General Manager of HuffPost Live, and advisor to beloved former Boston Mayor Thomas Menino. The press has noted his ascent; Daniel has been featured in the “30 under 30” list by Forbes Magazine, “40 under 4...

7 Skills For Life: A Developmental Psychologist's Perspective

This week, we feature an interview with Susan Engel, a developmental psychologist and director of the Program in Teaching at Williams College (read her complete bio below). Her article, 7 Things Every Kid Should Master, was published Sunday, March 8 in the Boston Globe Magazine. While Ms. Engel agrees that measuring a child's academic progress is important, she suggests that educators shift to ass...

Do Your Child’s Academic Strengths Mask Executive Function Deficits?

In my work supporting gifted students, I see many high achieving children who make it to middle school, and sometimes beyond, without exerting significant effort.  Their cognitive abilities or remarkable memories put them in the highest reading and math groups, earn them advanced scores on standardized tests, and make completing homework packets a breeze. They often excel in afterschool activities...

Essay Test Preparation: Overcoming Test Anxiety

As both an executive function coach and a teacher, I’ve seen students stress over tests again and again.  Over the past few months, for example, I’ve been coaching a student whose emotional regulation around test preparation and peformance is nearly debilitating.  She experiences acute anxiety when a test is coming up and that anxiety carries through until the moment the test is over.  During our ...

The Importance of Building Self-Esteem in Young Struggling Readers

Editor's note: We heard about Dawn Levy's important work with struggling readers recently, and asked her to write a guest blog post about her innovations in reading support.  Students who struggle in the area of reading at an early age will often feel discouraged and frustrated. The feelings they encounter will affect their motivation to be successful, peer relationships, and their self-esteem. Wh...

An Executive Function Coaching Success Story

"If you're trying to achieve, there will be roadblocks. I've had them; everybody has had them. But obstacles don't have to stop you. If you run into a wall, don't turn around and give up. Figure out how to climb it, go through it, or work around it." - Michael Jordan

Positive Self Talk: Believing In Yourself Makes You a Victor

I recently had the thrill of a lifetime. By something of a fluke, I had a chance to play in the Grandmasters’ National Ultimate Tournament in Denver. (“Grandmasters” is a euphemism for “over 40.”) Discs floated and curved through the thin Colorado air along the sixteen perfect fields, and our humble team fought hard to try to “exceed the seed” of 16th place – another euphemism to say that we didn’...

Planning & Prioritzing: Packing 101

My oldest and best friend was turning a milestone age (use your imagination), and we headed to NYC for a quick overnight visit to celebrate her birthday. She knew I was terrified of driving in the city, so she happily took over for me somewhere in Connecticut. A crazy stroke of luck found us free parking yards away from our hotel. She expertly manuevered my car into the shoebox-sized spot. I flung...

Pick up the PACE: Positive Attitude, Consistent Effort

“Opportunity is missed by most people because it is dressed in overalls and looks like work.” - Thomas Edison

Using Household Chores as Teachable Moments

"There are three ways to win the young. You can preach at them; that is the hook without the worm; you can say, ‘You must volunteer,’ and that is the work of the devil; and you can tell them, ‘You are needed,’ and that appeal hardly ever fails." - Kurt Hahn, Founder of Outward Bound.

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