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Friday, October 21, 1994 - Page updated at 12:00 AM

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Strategies For Juggling School, Sports And Fun

Colorado Springs Gazette Telegraph: Knight-Ridder Newspapers

Q: I have a question. What are you supposed to do when you've got wrestling (or any other sport) right after school? Then when you get home, you have to do your chores and eat. Now it's getting late and you still have homework. How can you get everything done? - Ryan, Grade 6

A: What a great question! This is something I discuss often with my own students, because it seems that almost everyone struggles with this issue - adults as well as kids.

Here are some tips from my students - the true experts - that help them juggle all the pieces of their busy lives. I hope their advice will help you, too.

-- Analyze your schedule and notice which days are lighter than others. Try to work ahead on assignments you know are coming up during the week. For example, I give my students a homework calendar that shows their daily grammar, spelling and vocabulary assignments for a month at a time. Many students tell me they double up on nights when they have extra time.

-- When your schedule is busier than usual, such as on a night when you get home late from a wrestling meet, make a deal with your brother or sister to do your chores for you. Then, be sure to return the favor the next day when your load is lighter.

-- Sometimes the hardest thing about homework, especially when you are very busy, is just starting it. My students suggest this trick: Begin with one easy task that you can complete quickly and that will give you a sense of accomplishment. It works!

-- If you have a limited amount of time to spend on homework, keep distractions to a minimum. You'll discover that you can stay on task much more easily if your mind is not on a television program, music blaring in the background, tempting video games, phone calls or messy snacks.

-- Don't forget to reward yourself after you accomplish each goal, big or small. Did you finish your five toughest math problems? Take a short break and shoot some baskets. Did you review your notes for tomorrow's science test? Treat yourself to a snack. You've earned it!

-- Ask your parents to hang a calendar in the kitchen where you and other family members can list not only sports practices and games, but test dates and upcoming deadlines as well. If it's right there where everyone can see it, you will remember to give your homework the priority it deserves.

With advance planning, you'll quickly see that you'll have plenty of time to honor your commitments - and to have a little fun, too!

Glued to the tube

Computer games can be as addictive for your children as drugs or gambling are for adults. The games can be habit-forming and "addicted" children enjoy the same euphoria from them - and go through the same withdrawal symptoms - as do smokers or alcoholics. So British researchers told a conference of the British Psychological Society. The researchers surveyed 147 11-year-olds and found 48 percent played computer games most days.

In the same vein, a health study by Prevention magazine reports that American children still eat too much fat and sugar and, instead of working off the calories, watch enough television to steal two months out of each year. Prevention says two-thirds of U.S. children fail its Children's Health Index, an annual measure of good health and safety.

Material from Knight-Ridder Newspapers is included in this article.

Copyright (c) 1994 Seattle Times Company, All Rights Reserved.

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