Motivating kids to organize their work

Learn about: Motivating kids to organize their work from Judy Willis, MD, MEd,...
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Motivating kids to organize their work

One of the biggest challenges we have, as parents, our children who aren't organized. When they get an assignment, whether it's in First Grade or in high school, they don't really seem that motivated to get started or to put time into it. It's some kids and some subjects, but not in others; but it's a parent problem from the start. What can we do about it? We can't keep after them all the time about it. That's just going to hurt. It's something brain now tells us. Guarantee, the brain will do anything if it expects pleasure. So, if they are not motivated, they are not going to be organized. If they are not motivated to do the work, they are not going to do the work. Children, until they are in their late teens or early 20's, don't develop the adult judgment that says, "Delay immediate gratification." There is a goal you have to reach. You want to get them motivated, and you have to make them want to do what they have to do. You can use strategies like graphs, that show them incremental goal progress. No, it's not about learning the 50 states by the time the two weeks are up. It's a matter of learning two states a day and showing them their progress along the way. I call it, "the video game effect." That releases a pleasure neurochemical. So breaking down tasks, the brain expects to be able to succeed and get this neurochemical reward, then motivation comes.

Learn about: Motivating kids to organize their work from Judy Willis, MD, MEd,...


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Judy Willis, MD, MEd


After graduating Phi Beta Kappa as the first woman graduate from Williams College, Judy Willis attended UCLA School of Medicine where she was awarded her medical degree. She remained at UCLA and completed a medical residency and neurology residency, including chief residency. She practiced neurology for 15 years before returning to university to obtain her teaching credential and master's of education from the University of California, Santa Barbara. She then taught in elementary and middle school for 10 years.

Dr. Judy Willis is an authority on brain research and its applications regarding learning. With the unique background as a parent, neurologist, classroom teacher, and neuro-educator she writes extensively for parenting magazines and professional educational journals. Dr. Willis has written six books for parents and educators about applying brain research to parenting and teaching.

Dr. Willis is on the adjunct faculty of the Graduate School of Education, University of California and gives presentations to parents and educators nationally and internationally about how to help children learn joyfully and successfully. She is on the Board of Directors of the Hawn Foundation, dedicated to helping children improve academic performance and acquire vital social and emotional skills. In 2011, she was honored by Edutopia, as a “Big Thinker on Education”.

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