A new blog series featuring tips to help lower stress levels and improve academic performance.

Did you know that simply reading to your children and talking with your children could help boost their IQ by as much as 20 percent? Research shows that providing relaxing home and school environments that are print- and material-rich are likely to reduce stress and, in turn, boost children’s achievement in a range of academic subjects, such as reading, writing, arithmetic, literature, science, and civics.

So how do you lower stress levels, better your family’s health, improve your child’s academic performance, and even potentially boost their IQ? By incorporating some simple solutions into your lives starting today.

There is no need to change your life dramatically. As a human behavior expert with a Ph.D. in Psychology and a Doctorate of Education, I’ve developed a set of Seven Simple Solutions for Smarter, Less Stressed Kids. This is a set of easy-to-follow tips that you can do with your family to help alleviate stress, strengthen focus, and improve academic performance. Try incorporating one new Simple Solution into your family routine each week for a month, and see what a difference small steps can make.

Each Simple Solution includes:

Did You Know? The research, statistics, and some helpful information about how and why each Simple Solution can help your child.

Simple Solution.  One general, simple, easy-to-follow activity that families can do together.

Make It Your Own. Specific tips and ideas on how to adjust each activity based on children’s  ages and alternate ways of doing the activity.

The Rules

There are just a few rules that apply to each of these Simple Solutions:

• Turn off all televisions, laptops, tablets, and cell phones for the duration of each activity.

• Remember to treat each family member with deep respect and love.

• Build trust by making eye contact with family members and show you are giving full attention.

• Remember there are no hard rights or wrongs. Each family is different, and each activity can be adjusted to suit your family.

Ready to begin? I will share one new solution in each new article here over the next month. Be sure to follow along, and try out my suggestions with your family. It’s incredible what a difference small changes can make!


  • Dr. Gail Gross

    Author and Parenting, Relationships, and Human Behavior Expert

    Dr. Gail Gross, Ph.D., Ed.D., M.Ed., a member of the American Psychological Association (APA) and member of APA Division 39, is a nationally recognized family, child development, and human behavior expert, author, and educator. Her positive and integrative approach to difficult issues helps families navigate today’s complex problems. Dr. Gross is frequently called upon by national and regional media to offer her insight on topics involving family relationships, education, behavior, and development issues. A dependable authority, Dr. Gross has contributed to broadcast, print and online media including CNN, the Today Show, CNBC's The Doctors, Hollywood Reporter, FOX radio, FOX’s The O’Reilly Factor, MSNBC, The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post, Times of India, People magazine, Parents magazine, Scholastic Parent and Child Magazine, USA Today, Univision, ABC, CBS, and KHOU's Great Day Houston Show. She is a veteran radio talk show host as well as the host of the nationally syndicated PBS program, “Let’s Talk.” Also, Dr. Gross has written a semi-weekly blog for The Huffington Post and has blogged at EmpowHER.com since 2013. Recently, Houston Women's Magazine named her One of Houston's Most Influential Women of 2016. Dr. Gross is a longtime leader in finding solutions to the nation’s toughest education challenges. She co-founded the first-of-its kind Cuney Home School with her husband Jenard, in partnership with Texas Southern University. The school serves as a national model for improving the academic performance of students from housing projects by engaging the parents. Dr. Gross also has a public school elementary and secondary campus in Texas that has been named for her. Additionally, she recently completed leading a landmark, year-long study in the Houston Independent School District to examine how stress-reduction affects academics, attendance, and bullying in elementary school students, and a second study on stress and its effects on learning. Such work has earned her accolades from distinguished leaders such as the Dalai Lama, who presented her with the first Spirit of Freedom award in 1998. More recently, she was honored in 2013 with the Jung Institute award. She also received the Good Heart Humanitarian Award from Jewish Women International, Perth Amboy High School Hall of Fame Award, the Great Texan of the Year Award, the Houston Best Dressed Hall of Fame Award, Trailblazer Award, Get Real New York City Convention's 2014 Blogging Award, and Woman of Influence Award. Dr. Gross’ book, The Only Way Out Is Through, is available on Amazon now and offers strategies for life’s transitions including coping with loss, drawing from dealing with the death of her own daughter. Her next book, How to Build Your Baby’s Brain, is also available on Amazon now and teaches parents how to enhance their child’s learning potential by understanding and recognizing their various development stages. And her first research book was published by Random House in 1987 on health and skin care titled Beautiful Skin. Dr. Gross has created 8 audio tapes on relaxation and stress reduction that can be purchased on Amazon.com. Most recently, Dr. Gross’s book, The Only Way Out is Through, was named a Next Generation Indie Book Awards Silver Medal finalist in 2020 and Winner of the 2021 Independent Press Awards in the categories of Death & Dying as well as Grief. Her latest book, How to Build Your Baby’s Brain, was the National Parenting Product Awards winner in 2019, the Nautilus Book Awards winner in 2019, ranked the No. 1 Best New Parenting Book in 2019 and listed among the Top 10 Parenting Books to Read in 2020 by BookAuthority, as well as the Next Generation Indie Book Awards Gold Medal winner in 2020 and Winner of the 2021 Independent Press Awards in the category of How-To. Dr. Gross received a BS in Education and an Ed.D. (Doctorate of Education) with a specialty in Curriculum and Instruction from the University of Houston. She earned her Master’s degree in Secondary Education with a focus on Psychology from the University of St. Thomas in Houston. Dr. Gross received her second PhD in Psychology, with a concentration in Jungian studies. Dr. Gross was the recipient of Kappa Delta Pi An International Honor Society in Education. Dr. Gross was elected member of the International English Honor Society Sigma Tau Delta.