PS Smart Tip: Don’t Keep It To Yourself!

This one’s for kids: if you find you either need extra help or extra work in class, ask for it. It does no good to suffer in silence if the work’s either going over your head or you’re downright bored in class. People can’t read your mind. Find the courage to speak up – either to your teacher or ask your parents to talk to the teacher – and you will get the help or extra work you need.

This goes for all kinds of issues, problems or sticky situations. Don’t keep it all inside and get frustrated. Reach out and talk to someone about it…a teacher, a TA, your parents, your friend’s mom, your favorite coach, and together you can come up with some next steps and possible solutions. Today’s tip is all about being pro-active to get the support you need.

PS Smart Tip: Avoid Homework Meltdowns

Establish good study habits early in the school year. Set a daily expectation for your children to come home, get a snack, and get their work done BEFORE they can goof off, play with their friends or get “screen time.” Sit with them to keep them focused and on track. Be available to answer questions or go over it with them if they need to, but don’t do their work for them.

Setting the intention that “the sooner you get your work done, the sooner you can play” gives them an incentive to take care of their school business first, teaches them how to set priorities, and also lets them know it’s not ok to procrastinate. Delaying homework until after dinner or before bedtime can lead to sloppy work habits, or a full-blown power struggle with the added stress of a ticking clock.

PS Smart Tip: The GoMama Basil Gingy Gimlet

End Of Summer Sipper

This is usually the spot where I share some useful smart tip on how to make your school experience great, but this one’s for you parents. With school just started or right around the corner, can we say, you made it! Congratulate yourselves for surviving the endless summer of, “Mom, I’m bored,” or “are we there yet?” or “what are we going to do today?”

Whether you’re eeking out the final dog days of summer, or celebrating the welcome relief of getting your kids out of the house and back-to-school, this cocktail will cheer you up and cool you down. While I love a tall cool gin and tonic with a double squeeze of lime on hot summer nights, I adore this Basil Gingy Gimlet which merges the spice of the gin and ginger with the tang of fresh lime and the fresh clean scent of just-picked basil leaves. This one’s a keeper. C’mon. You earned it! Clink.

The GoMama Basil Gingy Gimlet
(serves one)

In a cocktail shaker, muddle the following:
the juice of half a lime
3 fresh basil leaves, torn into little pieces

Fill shaker half-way with ice and add:
1+ oz good gin
1/2 oz ginger liqueur such as Canton’s

Shake, strain into martini glass, and sip!

Now that’s a smart cocktail.

PS Smart Tip: Summer Strategies

testing It might be summer break but your kid’s brains don’t have to turn to complete mush. Quiz them on their addition or multiplication tables during a car trip. Give them a summer writing journal and a few creative prompts. Offer some simple math problems to solve while shopping at the grocery store, or have them pick a topic of interest to research over the summer. Even many family board games can deepen math, spacial, and/or strategy-building skills.

Another no-brainer to keep their brains sharp: keep them reading! Most public libraries offer summer reading programs with built-in incentives and free prizes. Check out:

LAPL Kids Summer Reading Club
LAPL Teens Summer Reading Club
Santa Monica Kids Summer Reading Club
Santa Monica Teen Summer Reading Club

PS Smart Tip: Socialize

Get Smart, Get PS (Public School) Smart

*Today’s public schools are full of challenges it’s true, but now more than ever is the time to work smarter, to work together to improve our school experience. In this section we’ll offer handy smart tips you can use right now to boost your school community.

Now that we’re nearing the end of the school year, many parents are downright burnt and crispy from all their efforts volunteering, fundraising, organizing auctions, carnivals, book fairs, etc. They need a little TLC. Some appreciation for all their hard work. After all, they’re not getting paid for it, and in many cases it’s the parents’ efforts that end up funding the special programs and enrichments the district can no longer provide.

While some schools are still squeezing parents for donations and to commit to next year’s committees and officer positions, a smarter idea would be to throw a big social event (think potluck or bbq or happy hour) to bring everyone together to bask in gratuitous flattery and mutual admiration. We’ll all do more for the cause when we feel welcomed, connected and appreciated. Moms and Margaritas? I’m in! Might just feel more tempted to join that grantwriting committee with such awesome compadres around me.