As kids get older, they have to take on a lot more pressure from the world. School work gets harder, they start to have job expectations, and let’s say nothing of the social world they’re trying to fit into! And as a parent, it can be hard to stand back and let them find their place; you want to swoop in and help them out where you can, while reminding them not to grow up too fast.
But seeing how complicated teenagers can get at this time in their life, all you can do is offer a bit of support here and there. And while you can’t make friends for them or ensure they’ll always have a clear cut career path, you can help to take the school pressure off their shoulders. You can make this time in their life more structured and even more fun, and we’ve even got plenty of tips below to help you out.
Design a Timetable for Them
You shouldn’t just railroad your teen into following a study schedule that doesn’t work for them, but you can help them to come up with a timetable that actually works and doesn’t overwhelm. As an adult you often make much better use of time, and you can help them to allocate equally spaced blocks and plenty of breaks to their day to day routine. This also takes the pressure of time management off of your teen’s shoulders whilst they can’t handle it.
Indeed, if they’ve got exams approaching, this is key to helping them stay on task and not losing time to stress and anxiety. When they know they can tackle each subject on time with enough room to fully explore the topic, they’ll feel much more secure. So take a look at what they need to do, take into account their familiarity and skill with the lessons they’re taking, and place them in blocks down on paper. Then colour it in and stick it up somewhere it can be easily seen!
Make Use of the ‘Protégé Effect’
Did you know we learn through teaching others? So if you come along and ask your teen about a subject they’re studying that they seem to be struggling with, ask them to go through it with you. Commonly known as the ‘protégé effect’, talking through some kind of concept with someone who knows nothing about it helps to reinforce information we’ve just learned.
As human beings we’re natural mentors, and we can use this innate talent to help us learn the same information in turn. It all comes full circle, meaning you can really help your teen to excel by just showing an interest! Ask an initial question, pay attention, and when they’re done ask them to expand on a certain area. If you can hear that they’re not concrete with what they’re explaining, you can ask them to go over it again.
Make Educational Resources More Accessible
A lot of teens can struggle to access the right resources that’ll make studying easier. As such they can fall behind their peers, especially if they miss a day or two of school due to illness. And you can never be sure that their friends will pass on the missed work to them either! Which is where you can step in to help out.
To start with you can get in touch with their teachers to ask for the things they missed, or for recommendations on how to boost their usual studying habits. You can also look into online platforms like the oxford scholastica academy that can help teens to build core knowledge and other useful skills outside of the classroom. Get your teen’s class schedule and do a bit of research – it can go a long way!
Go on a Few Field Trips
Field trips are incredibly fun, simply because they get you out of the house or the classroom. They allow students to experience more of the world, even if they have to head back to school and write a report on it. And if you’re noticing your teen struggling to get to grips with a concept, you can apply a physical learning approach and take them out.
Of course, this approach isn’t one-size fits all, but for subjects such as English, history, classics, science and geography, it’s an effective way to put all that learning into practice. You can have your kid take you around a museum or an ancient site and explain things to you, once again applying the ‘protégé effect’, but in a more natural environment. At the very least it’ll get your teen out of their head with worrying about everything!
Schedule Weekly Relaxation Time
And finally, once your teen has gone through the schedule you’ve helped them set up, and they’ve been studying their heart out or completed all of their homework, make sure they take a break. It’s so important to have some time to calm down and get your head on straight, especially if your teen hasn’t eaten in a few hours.
Get them to put the pen down and turn the computer off and then ask them to put some popcorn in the microwave, then sit down to a movie together on the sofa. Take them out to their favourite fast food place and get a meal they love and then go eat it on the beach. Get them out of the house to simply have a moment to themselves and they’ll come back to the timetable completely refreshed and ready to learn more.
School can put a lot of pressure on a student; be there to help them pick themselves up and keep going. Stress can affect us at any age, and you certainly don’t want it turning them off from following their dreams at such an early point in their life! Support them using the tips above, offer a shoulder to cry on, and make sure they take a little break every now and then.