Author: JoAnn Crohn

JoAnn Crohn, M. Ed is a parenting educator and life coach who helps moms feel confident in raising empowered, self-sufficient kid while pursuing their own goals & passions. She’s an accomplished writer, author, podcast host of the No Guilt Mom podcast, and speaker who appears in national media. Work with her personally in Balance VIP
The ONE Thing you can do this summer to help your middle schooler succeed this school year

The ONE Thing you can do this summer to help your middle schooler succeed this school year

As a parent, I dreaded my daughter entering middle school.

Middle school was the most trying time of my childhood.

I came from a rather strict and sheltered elementary school. There were 10 students in my sixth-grade classroom. We were taught by Sister Mary Clare and I wore a uniform every day.

And puberty hit me hard. I gained 50 pounds in what seemed overnight.

I felt uncomfortable and awkward in my own body.

Middle school was like throwing me to the wolves.

I prepared my daughter for how mean kids could be.

And I taught her to always wear deoderant (because I made that mistake).

I made sure she was always in a physical activity so that she’d know her body was strong.

But the mental overwhelm caught me by surprise.

Could this be why you’re so frustrated as a mom?

Could this be why you’re so frustrated as a mom?

Do you feel like you’re too nice?

One of my students called me out for that my first year of teaching.

In her very astute, wise little fifth grade voice she told me, “Mrs. Crohn, you are too nice”

But wait… don’t you want to be nice? Isn’t that something to aim for?

Kind yes. But nice…nice is taking on the full responsibility of other people’s feelings and adapting your behavior to make others happy.

That’s what I was doing when an 11-year-old called me out.

Creating A Bare Bones Budget When You’re Not Making Much Money

Creating A Bare Bones Budget When You’re Not Making Much Money

In the midst of this strange season of social distancing and change, money may well be a scary topic for you. Maybe you’re like my family and you’re working through a big loss of income due to the pandemic? Maybe overwhelm and anxiety define your money situation in this season of uncertainty? Maybe you’ve decided to keep your head down and eyes closed, playing the “if I don’t look at it, then it can’t be real game” that our kids played when they were little?


5 Mistakes Parents will Make with Crisis Homeschooling (and how to fix them)

I get a panic attack every time I open up Facebook. Well-meaning parents post activity after activity to do with your kids at home.

Some take massive amounts of set up.

Others take enormous time.

Is this what I’m supposed to do when my kids are schooling from home? Is this my duty as a parent to set up these structured school days, intricate lessons and devote most of my waking hours to my kids education?

Nope. Flat out no.

3 Simple Ways to Make Homework Fun

3 Simple Ways to Make Homework Fun

I’m going to be blunt.

Right now, your child’s homework time just plain sucks.

It does.

You dread it every night. “Hey, have you done your math homework yet?

“NO! I can’t do my homework. I don’t want to do it yet. Can’t I watch TV? I’ll do it after dinner.”

So much back and forth and back and forth. It’s become too much.

The question is, how do you make your child want to do homework?

How do you make homework less boring?

How to Help Your Middle Schooler Organize with this Simple Checklist

How to Help Your Middle Schooler Organize with this Simple Checklist

It’s 6pm on a Thursday and I get a frantic text from a friend. Her daughter goes to the same school as mine.

“Hey, does your daughter have the math test from 2 months ago? The teacher is letting Celina retake it but she can’t find it.”

“Yeah, hold on, let me ask her.”

My daughter does have the test – which she doesn’t hand over right away because she wants to know exactly why she needs it, what it will be used for… third degree basically.
Satisfied with all my answers,she opens her binder to the math section, pulls out the test and hands it to me.
“Thanks,” my friend texts back, “I don’t know what Celina did with it.”

Natural Consequence For Hitting
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Natural Consequence For Hitting

Not more than 2 seconds after they hop in the car, the screaming begins.

“No, that’s not what happened Erik. My lunch is at 11:35am, not 11:30.”

I brace myself.


And then, WHAP!

He reaches his little arm across the space in the bucket seats between them and hits her.

“Erik, DON’T HIT ME!!!”

That’s when I intervene.

I don’t know how school bus drivers do it. How do you discipline 30 kids when you’re trying to keep safe and focus on not veering your large yellow, monstrosity off the road

I’m in a Toyota Highlander with only two children and I’m ready to lose my mind.

How To Wake Up Kids

How To Wake Up Kids

It was 6:30 AM on the first day back to school last year. I put my hand on my daughter’s fluffy floral comforter and shook her.

Gently, of course.

OK… OK… it was harder this time.  Because this was the fifth time I walked into her room that morning to pull her from bed.  This morning was close to becoming a chaotic mess.

Child Crying During Homework
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Child Crying During Homework

“Noooo… I can’t do it. I don’t have the time!!”

Have you heard this from your child when she sits down to do homework? My gosh, it wrecks me.

I can feel her overwhelm and so relate to it.

I know what it feels like to have so much to do and what seems like no time to do it.

So, I jump in and try to help.

“It’s ok sweetie, let’s write down all the things you have to do to get it out of your head.”

“NO!” she pouts back, “That won’t help. I don’t know any of this and I have to get started now.”

What do you do with that? You see the problem, you know the steps to take to fix it and yet your child pushes you away like you couldn’t possibly know what she’s talking about or what she’s dealing with.

How To Get Your Child To Help Around The House
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How To Get Your Child To Help Around The House

Picture this.

You come home to dishes piled on the counter, your child’s clothes hamper overflowing with dirty clothes and the dog staring at you. telepathically trying to tell you she’s hungry.

No one else in your family seems to see it.

Your kids happily walk in after school, throw their stuff on the floor and think that the magical cleaning fairy somehow cleans it up.

Why can’t anyone in your family take the initiative to clean up but you?

I get that. I’ve felt that.

It’s not like you haven’t tried either. You’ve tried the pretty chore charts. You even offered to pay them!

But, nothing’s worked.

You may have been making the same mistake I was…

How To Overcome Mom Burnout

How To Overcome Mom Burnout

You’re sitting on your couch, playing on your smartphone and you just want to be left alone.

There might be a small amount of guilt lurking under the surface. But not much.

Your kids ask, “Can you play this game with me?”

Nope, not right now, you reply.

You’re burned out. Every bit of energy and motivation has left your body. It disintegrated with that last tantrum or vaporized after your tween daughter gave her characteristic shrug when you asked how her day was.

You’re done and frankly, don’t really see a point in this whole parenting thing anymore.

I see you. I’ve been there.

How To Get Kids To Clean Up

How To Get Kids To Clean Up

Ever walk in your house and become immediately overwhelmed with the stuff lying around?

Its bad enough when you have a kitchen junk counter stacked with 3 layers deep with kid’s artwork, random books and those gadgets for your door that you don’t want to throw away but you don’t really know how to install.

But then is all the stuff your kids leave laying in the living room or crammed onto the top of the family room game shelf.

4 Steps to Take When Your Child Says “I Hate You”

4 Steps to Take When Your Child Says “I Hate You”

Children can say some pretty hurtful things.

As my kids perused the LEGO aisle in Target one day, I spied on a mom and her little girl.

They were picking out a birthday present and the mom tried to convince her five-year-old daughter to choose a small LEGO friends set.

The daughter agreed, but then… went one step further: she asked for the same set for herself.

“No honey, we’re buying birthday gifts today.”


Mom still tried to explain, “Sweetie, its not your birthday. We’re just getting something for your friend.”


Why Do Kids Fight

Why Do Kids Fight

My son stomps into my office upstairs. I’m staring at the computer trying to figure out what to write next.

His face is full pout.

“MOM! I told them I need a break!”

Uh oh. Usually when this happens, he’s prepping me for something – trying to convince me that he’s on the right side.

It’s a fight. I can feel it.

Why Does My Toddler Apologize For Everything

Why Does My Toddler Apologize For Everything

My nine-year-old daughter sighed and stared out the car window at the glow of the street lamps. I could hear the annoyance in her voice.

“I don’t want to talk about it”

Ugh… roadblock. And it had been such a tame conversation.

She told me about how the class had to write a lot that night. Writing during dance class? Totally weird to me. So, I asked her,

“What did you have to write during dance class?”

Bam Total shut down. She clammed up. I had asked one too many questions.

“Ok. That’s fine.” I clenched my jaw. I asked one simple question. Why did she have to treat me like this?

Then, she turned me and said, “I’m sorry.” Not a heartfelt, “I’m sorry.” Rather, the apology dripped with guilt and fear that she had deeply offended me and didn’t want me to be mad at her.

Wonder Park Full Movie

Wonder Park Full Movie

Kid movies – that also entertain you as a parent – are almost impossible to find.

There are times when all I want to do on a Saturday afternoon is sit in a dark movie theater with my kids happily by my side.

But usually, that experience starts well and then 30-minutes in, my five-year-old son tells me he’s bored.

Or, I start mapping the plot points in the movie calculating when it will be over.

(Yes I think, here’s the rising action and this is the climax. We have 15-minutes until closing credits)

But, Wonder Park from Paramount Animation and Nickelodeon movies is a film that we all enjoyed. I highly recommend it.

How to win at allowance by NOT paying for chores

How to win at allowance by NOT paying for chores

I stared at the complicated chore chart that my dad placed on our refrigerator.

42 cents for washing dishes. 20 cents for picking up my room.

When he first pitched this idea to my 10-year-old self, I wanted to do all the chores immediately.

This was my chance to earn $5 a week. Yes, I could do this!

So, I did the dishes. It took me 20 minutes and I didn’t even get enough money to buy a can of soda. Wouldn’t it be simpler to pull that red can of Coke out of our fridge?

That week, I completed a few boxes of chores from that monster list, collected my $1.15 and then ignored the list the next week.

Soon, the chore chart disappeared.

11 Year Old Mood Swings

11 Year Old Mood Swings

You walk in the door from school. Your nine-year-old comes in after you.

Everything seems fine. She’s happy. All is well and good.

Then, you remind her that the dishwasher needs unloading.

Boom. It’s like something inside her detonates.

“Noooo… I don’t have time to do that. That’s so unfair. I can’t believe you’re making me do this!:

She glares at you, stomps over to the kitchen sink and starts crying.

WHA-ATT just happened? She was happy. I didn’t blame her. I just had a simple request.

Are My Kids Spoiled

Are My Kids Spoiled

Walking past the Disney store, I see a kid in mid-breakdown.

Her face is red, her eyes are wet.

The woman -I can only assume is her mom – stands above her and repeats, “No, you can’t get a toy from the Disney store.”

“WHY?!?,” the little girl screams, “WHY! It’s not fair! You said we could. It’s not fair!!”

Is this little girl spoiled?

Want more quality time with your kids?  Here are 30 days of simple ideas

Want more quality time with your kids? Here are 30 days of simple ideas

We all worry about whether we spend enough time with our kids.

On the phone with my mom one night, she said to me:

“You’re such a good mom. You spend so much time with your kids. I never did with that you.”

My mom worked as an administrative assistant at the hospital 4 miles down the road. Every night, she came home around 5:30pm, cooked dinner and then we all relaxed while watching Murphy Brown or Friends.

Truth is: I thought she spent enough time with me.

I felt pretty happy and content.

And frankly, I feel like a failure with this whole mom business.