How to Keep Your Kids Out of Your Hair and Make Them Smarter at the
You’re a parent and you adore your kids. You want them to be as
smart and successful as they possibly can.
Of course, you do. But, you’re also busy. Whether you’re a
stay-at-home parent or work outside the home, you have little spare
time. If any. In fact, the days aren’t long enough to do all that
you need to do. And, you’re exhausted. It’s difficult, therefore,
to make the time to sit down and engage your kids in constructive
activities. It’s so easy to turn on a T.V. or a computer and let
electronics do the job, giving you a few minutes of peace.
scenario: It’s 5:30 p.m. You’ve had a
long day at the office and you’ve picked up your kids from day
care. You’re headed home. Great. Except for the accident on the
highway. You inch along in bumper-to-bumper traffic. The kids are
tired and cranky. They’re picking at each other. “”Mom!” one
yells. You’re tempted to scream at them to be quiet and turn on the
T.V. in the SUV. But, what if you consider this time to be an
opportunity rather than a curse? And instead of relying on
electronics, you ask qwerky questions?
·How many different ways could you use this steering
·How many things are inflated other than a tire?
·If we could go anywhere in this car, where would
you like to go? Name all of the places you’d like to see.
·Had you rather ride in a car or a boat? A
submarine or the space shuttle?
·Tell me a story about this car from a tire’s point
·What if Jack from Jack And The Beanstalk had
owned this car? How would it have changed the story?
Your kids are out of your hair. And you don’t feel guilty about
it because you’ve motivated them to think tall, which means thinking
analytically, critically or creatively.
If you engage
your kids frequently in thinking exercises like this, thinking tall
will become a habit. Unlike many habits, this one is constructive
in that your kids will need to be creative, analytical thinkers,
problem-solvers and effective communicators if they are to be
successful in the 21st century workplace.
Not only that,
your kids love to have your attention. When you take time to ask
them a question, you’re implying without even saying it, “I care
about you.” You’re giving them the attention they need. At the
same time, you’re giving yourself a break from fussing and whining.
“Are we there yet?” Instead of allowing their restlessness to get
on your nerves, you can turn the table and challenge them to think.
You can ask these
questions anytime, anywhere. No preparation is needed. All you
have to do is choose from the multiple lists of qwerky
questions/activities in this book whenever you need them whether
you’re in a waiting room, in the car or at home on a Saturday
afternoon. The questions were designed not only to generate
thinking but to foster discussion and family interaction as well.
They’re appropriate for kids in grades K – 5 and are grouped
according to grade levels: K – 2 and 3 – 5.
questions generate different types of thinking. Prior to using the
suggested questions/activities in this book, I invite you to become
familiar with the types of questions used and the thinking skill
each type elicits. These are discussed in The Parent’s Guide found
in the book’s appendix.
So, sit back,
relax, and engage your kids with questions and activities that will
get them to think tall. You’re happy. They’re learning. It’s a
win-win for everyone.
Annotated Table of Contents
Chapter One: QWERKY QUESTIONS/ACTIVITES To Use In EVERYDAY
People typically consider time spent in the car, in a doctor’s
waiting room, at an airport, or waiting for a meal in a restaurant,
a waste of time. This chapter provides a guide for you to recycle
this time and use it productively to challenge your kids to think.
The chapter is divided into four different sections, each one
containing lists of qwerky questions/activities appropriate for a
specific setting. The lists are divided into two different
categories: Qwerky Questions To Discuss and
Clip-Board Activities To Draw, Write, Figure Out.
Chapter Two: QWERKY QUESTIONS/ACTIVITIES To Use On FAMILY
Though a family excursion can be an exciting activity in and of
itself, it still provides an opportunity for kids to engage in
thinking. Field trips to museums, zoos and historical sites are
more meaningful if kids are giving a purpose for their visit.
Questions can spark family discussion during the visit and on the
way home as well.
Visiting family members is a great opportunity to motivate kids
to dig into their family’s history. Not genealogy, but history in
terms of family stories and traditions. The questions/activities in
this section will guide kids to interview family members; use
photography/video to record family events; and create family albums.
Chapter Three: QWERKY QUESTIONS/ACTIVITIES To Use AT HOME
Studies indicate kids spend six hours a day sitting in front of a
T.V. or computer screen. As a result, they’re used to sound-bytes,
thrills, action. Many of them have difficultly adapting to the
slower pace of a classroom and turn out during lessons. To them,
learning is a drag, boring. To avoid this, they need to discover
that learning can actually be fun. This chapter lists qwerky
questions/activities to motivate your kids to turn off the T.V. and
turn on their minds. It is divided into four sections. Each one
focuses on activities appropriate for specific locations in the
Kids who grow up in “library” homes become excellent readers.
This chapter features a parent’s guide to promote reading adventures
at home. It includes questions for family book discussions and
reading activities which challenge kids to explore a story beyond
the ‘who, what, when, where and why.”
It’s important for families to spend time talking together.
Years ago, a study was made to determine the factors leading to
student success. Merit scholars across the nation were surveyed.
The results were surprising in that these students had only one
thing in common: everyday, their family sat down together for the
evening meal. And, sitting around the table, they discussed the
events of the day and things they had learned. This chapter
includes qwerky questions designed to elicit great family
discussions about current events and things that happened during the
Chapter Four: QWERKY QUESTIONS/ACTIVITIES Pertaining to
Kids frequently come home and announce they have a school project
due the next day. Though they had known about the assignment for
weeks, they had never bothered to mention it. This chapter focuses
on school projects and how you can effectively help your kids with
them. It also includes questions you can use when helping your kids
review for tests.
In the 21st century, creative thinkers and
problem-solvers will be the ones who find success in the global
marketplace. Yet, in this era of high-stakes testing, schools have
shelved creativity, considering it “fluff.” This chapter provides a
guide to help you develop your kids’ creativity and problem-solving
The guide identifies four skills associated with divergent
thinking and includes questions designed to develop each one. In
addition, this chapter provides an introduction to SCAMPER, a fun
strategy for creative thinking, along with ideas how to use it with
Writing is actually thinking on paper. This chapter includes
questions you can ask your kids when working on each step in the
writing process. It also features a guide to set up a publishing
center at home where kids can write and publish their own stories.
Chapter Five: QWERKY QUESTIONS About The Six Selves
In working with your kids on school projects and various learning
activities, it’s helpful if you’re aware of the six “selves:
self-control, self-discipline, self-confidence, self-reliance,
self-esteem, and self-efficacy. Like the pieces of a puzzle, all of
these “selves” fit together to make the whole child.
This chapter contains groups of questions you can use to guide
your kids to think about the work (activities, assignments,
projects) they are doing in terms of these six “selves.” The
questions focus on the task they are doing; how well they are doing
it; problems they are encountering; how they feel about doing it;
and their reaction to the final product.
A PARENT’S GUIDE To Questions And Thinking
Questions are the key to critical, analytical and creative
thinking. This guide defines the different kinds of questions used
in this book and examines the thinking skill that each type