Kids and Homework – Ending the Homework Wars

As a parent, you know that homework is important for tweens – after all, this is the time when the stakes at school amp up – and setting the foundation for good study habits is crucial.  But getting this high energy to sit still can be a real challenge.  If you feel at a loss about how you can help your kids with homework, here are some some tips that may ease the homework challenges.

Kids-and-homeworkKids and Homework – Not an Oxymoron

1. Schedule it in

Let your kids know that you think homework is important by scheduling it in. One way to do that is to have a designated “homework time.” This kind of routine can be very helpful for kids, and also establishes homework as an important task with its own allotted time.

Having a designated homework time also gives you more flexibility. That may seem ironic, but you and your child get to decide how many hours are needed, and what time of day those hours can come out of.  Involve your tween in the decision as well – this can be very motivational – and makes it less about the parent telling the child what to do and more about the child working with you to solve a problem.

Another tip about the scheduling – consider setting aside an “academic time” rather than just “homework time.” For example, if your child knows he or she has to spend an hour doing something learning-related, he or she will probably be less likely to hurry carelessly through a homework assignment just to get it done.  If she finishes homework early she must still use the rest of the time for academic “stuff” – not getting to watch TV or surf the Internet.
2. Check it over

Make it a routine to look over your kids’ homework assignments. You don’t have to nit-pick, but just see that the homework is completed and that there are no glaringly obvious errors.

3. Get to know the teacher

Try to find out your child’s teacher’s expectations regarding homework, so that you can help your child reach those specific goals. It may be surprising how much teachers can differ in their homework expectations.

4. Quiet time

Homework/academic time should be free from noisy distractions if at all possible. Don’t settle down with homework assignments near the telephone, television, or computer, for instance (unless the homework assignment requires research on the computer).  At the same time, most tweens still need some guidance when doing their homework  – so sending them to their room unsupervised is not a good idea.  If younger siblings are around, have them do something quiet at the same time.

5. Quiet place

Choose a special place for homework. Your tween will look forward to her homework nook if it’s set up right. While guarding against distractions, you can set up the area to have snacks, drinks (even a mini fridge), comfy chairs or cushions, a special desk or table, and so forth.


Andrea Stein is a tween parenting expert and girl power coach.  Check out the GirlMoguls – a New Adventure Series for Tween Girls here:

Get Fit America for Kids – Scott Cole Gets Kids Moving

Get Fit America for Kids: Inspiring Conscious Happy Active Children

By Scott Cole


Hey Moms – it’s no secret – America’s kids, on average, are less healthy and more overweight than in the past.  As a nation, we have outrageusly high rates of diabetes and heart disease among adults – and it’s trickling down to our kids.  So what can parents do?  Read on for tips from one of America’s top fitness instructors who is passionately committed to helping kids get healthy!

Get Fit America for Kids – By Scott Cole

I have been working with children since 1986, and in those early years I worked with suicide prevention teens in the Dallas area—to this date the toughest audience in my career.  I mention this because sometimes adults feel that a child may just be “lost” and that what we are doing for them is perhaps not “breaking through” and never will.

Believe me, that is a common feeling to have, and certainly faced with what we see in America today—children who are morbidly obese, diabetic, medicated, and experiencing ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder), it is no wonder that adults and parents feel frustrated, which seems to be pushing us farther from what we need to be doing—and that is reversing this ugly sad uninspired trend of cutting time and funds for music, art, and physical education.

I can share unequivocally that when given the chance to move, express, and learn something new and different like Yoga and Tai Chi, children respond, not always when and how you want them to, but trust me, the seeds are planted and these mindful movement programs make a huge difference.  By the end of my term with the suicide prevention teens, I remember one girl coming up to me, hugging me crying, “Don’t leave, I love it when you come see us.” I never forgot that.

Let us consider what are children are NOT getting:

1)     Healthy, organic, soil-grown food that for the most part could prevent adult-onset diabetes and obesity.

2)     Movement in all forms: Dance, Yoga, Tai Chi, Physical Education and PLAY every day.  Children NEED to breathe, move, express, scream, and ultimately experience healthy quiet time.

3)     Nature Experience: Outdoors, or certainly learning about Nature through “field trips” as we used to call them.

4)     Healthy levels of TOUCH, both from adults and their peers.  Activities that involve touch and physical/social communication are needed now more than ever as children bury their heads in video games, computers, cell phones, instead of looking into the eyes of their friends and touching each other in healthy play or activity.

5)     Support at home and in school: The United States is #36 on the longevity list worldwide (tied with Cuba according to the United Nations list), and is the most obese nation on Earth.  This translates into adults who have the same issues in charge of making decisions to prevent the current generation from having the problems we have.

America’s current in-home and educational landscape isn’t coming close to any viable solution until concerned adults (WE) take charge of it at ALL levels.

Let us consider addressing what children today NEED:

Read Part 2 Here:


Scott Cole is a former National Aerobic Champion, star of Abs of Steel, and creator of the top-selling Discover Tai Chi series for adults.  His work with children began in 1986 with suicide-prevention abused children, which won him an AFAA Notable Award.  Cole continued to fine-tune his in-school assemblies and has taught children in Texas, California, Florida, Connecticut, Maryland, and Wisconsin.

Get Fit America for Kids original NAPPA Award-winning workout DVD and the ALL-NEW Get Fit America for Kids LIVE!!!  Adults for Kids Educational DVD is available through and .

Get Fit America For Kids – Part 2

And Now – Part 2 of from Scott Cole, Kid Fitness Guru and creator of Get Fit America for Kids

1) fitness-for-kidsFirst off, we need to make it MANDATORY that organic REAL food is served in schools, and have the children take an active part in learning about food, crops, and conscious farming.  No more corn subsidized fructose corn syrup in drinks and fruit cocktails, no more packaged nutrient-less slop, no more low-quality after-thought beef and chicken fingers, and all soda machines should be eliminated.  Not the most popular decision I know, but AMERICA IS ADDICTED to this “STUFF” that isn’t real food, and our bodies are in rebellion.  If children had normal levels of blood sugar, and are not doctored up by medication or addictive fast-food and sugars, ADHD would be reduced and we would start to see healthy alert, active children re-emerging.  The problem arises in budget and corporations that bid for these contracts, promising more for less dollars, and inevitably it is about profit, not about providing great food for our kids.

If anything should be subsidized by the government, it should be food for our public schools, but organized by a non-corporate committee of nutritionists, parents, organic farmers, and educators.

2) Next, we need to implement all forms of movement and PE in schools: Yoga, Tai Chi, Sports, Kickball, and Creative Play.  We just need to get our kids moving and playing again!  Whoever decided that eliminating PE would make our children “study more” has never dealt with children.  Once children play, emote, and express, they are more likely to actually WANT to sit down and read a book, study, or be quiet.

3) Children need to learn more about their surroundings, from farming to crops to geography to nature.  Whenever I do the Get Fit America in-school assemblies, I teach barefoot, and if allowed by the school, the children are allowed to take their shoes off too.  This ALONE is a big adventure that gets the children excited to play and learn.  It still amazes me that something so natural and simple is not the norm anymore.  We talk about feeling the earth, listening to and becoming aware of Nature, and how our bodies are designed to touch and feel through the feet and hands, all incorporated with the movement and exercise.

4) Touch is vital for any person.  Touch deprivation can contribute to depression, loneliness, and anti-social behavior that can manifest in a lifetime of discomfort around others.  After I have the children moving for awhile in the school assemblies, I then introduce a Partnered section of the program where the children get to touch, do mirrored-image movement, and learn to stretch and trust each other.  I tell them, “If you let go of your partner you are letting go of yourself.”  Most of them get the lesson.

5) Adults need to do their part and understand that even if we don’t get the lessons of healthy living, it is VITAL for us to make choices that will influence our children for the better.

American obesity is an addiction, and adult onset diabetes is preventable, so unless we want to watch people age, become medically dependent, become lethargic, depressed, and inactive, then we need to turn this big ship around and get back on course to dock in an environment that will have clean pure water, organic healthy food, mindful exercise and creative encouragement as standard fuel for a healthy life.

Parents, teachers, educators, and concerned adults need to play an active part in each community, as part of an expressive society that both honors and cherishes our children enough to give them the tools to become the healthiest, most mindful, articulate, compassionate generation ever.


1)     Walk: Anywhere, anytime, with friends and supervised if needed

2)     Jump Rope: Great for coordination and fun to do

3)     Dance: Learn a new Hip-Hop routine and perform it

4)     Play Sports: Solo and interactive, wonderful for social skills and self-esteem

5)     Stretch or Do Yoga: Different poses are fun to try, learning proper breathing and focus

6)     Learn Martial Arts: Tai chi, taekwondo, karate, judo teach self-respect and discipline

7)     Garden and Build: Dig holes, build a flowerbed, create a stone pathway, plant, get your hands in the soil

8)     Get Active Outdoors: Create an obstacle course, hopscotch, climb trees, hike

9)     Play in the Water: Lakes, beaches, and pools, enjoy swimming, building sandcastles, tromping through the mud

10) Sketch, Draw, or Create: Draw your favorite Yoga pose, sketch your feelings, see to see other children’s drawings from the school assemblies


Scott Cole is a former National Aerobic Champion, star of Abs of Steel, and creator of the top-selling Discover Tai Chi series for adults.  His work with children began in 1986 with suicide-prevention abused children, which won him an AFAA Notable Award.  Cole continued to fine-tune his in-school assemblies and has taught children in Texas, California, Florida, Connecticut, Maryland, and Wisconsin.

Get Fit America for Kids original NAPPA Award-winning workout DVD and the ALL-NEW Get Fit America for Kids LIVE!!!  Adults for Kids Educational DVD is available through and .

Happiness Tips for Moms

Happiness Tips For Moms – From Life and Success Coach Karen Elizaga of Forward Options

A moment of gratitude for you mothers out there who are pulled in a million different directions! I think there is no harder job than that of a mother. You work tireless hours, you don’t get paid for those hours, and the moments of gratitude from those around you (your husband and your kids) are few and far between. Come on, you’re supposed to know that they love and appreciate you, right? Hmmm.


Well, let’s take some time to think about how you can take control of your own happiness and fulfillment. If you don’t, who will?
Here are five tips for your deep satisfaction, contentment and balance in your life:


1 – Make the first choice a loving, happy one. Sure, you could start your day overwhelmed by all that you have to do. You could get bogged down with what you haven’t achieved. But how about starting your day with a positive thought of gratitude to set yourself up for a happy and fulfilled day. Instead of thinking about what a chore it is to do all the things you have to do, shift the filter that you see your day in. “I am so happy and fortunate that I get to spend my day taking care of my family.”


2 – Take time for yourself – first! There is not a mom out there who won’t be happier, more patient or more understanding if she takes time to indulge in the things that she enjoys before tending to the needs of others. I know it sounds selfish, but it’s not! Think of it as filling your own gas tank before driving your kids to school. You need a full tank, otherwise you won’t get there! Love yourself (really, think about what it is that is uniquely loveable about you). Exercise. Meditate. Have that slow cup of tea. Take a long, hot shower. Shop for yourself. Do the work that you want to do.


3 – Enlist support from others. There’s no rulebook that says you need to approach mothering and working all on your own. Rely on the people around you to help you get things done! Coordinate afterschool activities and carpool the kids. If you have the resources, hire a babysitter or nanny. Be specific in what you want and need your husband to do. Bottom line, ask for help! No one is going to take the time to think about what you need to get done – the onus is on you to tell them.


4 – Nurture your village. Every mother needs to blow off steam. We also need to be able to understand that our everyday challenges are entirely normal. Make sure you surround yourself with good friends whom you like, love and respect and who are taking on a similar journey to yours. Budget time for regular drinks or tea or lunch so that you can vent and laugh over the stuff that we can otherwise take so seriously.


5 – Be a woman. Don’t forget your feminine self! It’s very easy to get caught up in the routine of running your household and focus purely on checking those tasks off the list. But it’s really important that you don’t forget that you are not only a mother, but a wife or a woman who wants and deserves the kind of attention that makes you feel beautiful.    Make time for date night


These five tips, plus eating regularly and nutritiously (organic as much as you can!), will help fuel your happiness and fulfillment everyday! Enjoy!


About Karen Elizaga:

Executive Coach Karen Elizaga and Forward Options Founder, had always wanted to be a lawyer – a decision which led her from her childhood home in Honolulu to Barnard College in New York City, followed by a law degree from American University. By the time she was 27, she had landed a job at an international law firm, worked at innovative companies in London, England and was happily married. Five years later, she was blessed with a beautiful daughter.

But despite her career and personal success, a lifetime of questioning herself and the inescapable conviction that she wasn’t good enough had led Karen into a pattern of self-limiting behavior – where she felt both perpetually dissatisfied with her job, her looks, and her life. And the realization of how destructive this outlook was truly hit home when Karen realized that she was in danger not only of sabotaging her own happiness and success, but of passing on that same mindset to someone else: her daughter.

Realizing that it’s never too late to go in search of personal fulfillment, Karen left the corporate world and got to work simultaneously helping herself and others… by founding a business that encourages others ditch the self-doubt and be their best selves. Beginning as a series of seminars for teen girls and having evolved into executive coaching for women and men, Forward Options was created around the idea that love for the self begets great achievements – giving people the tools to acknowledge their strengths, forgive their faults, and use that confidence to envision a future full of wonderful options.