Keep Your Teenager Focused this Holiday Season
There are a few days left until schools close their doors for the Christmas break, and it is a safe bet that students are counting each and every one of them. The anticipation of the holidays and the subsequent break from school can make it difficult for students to focus. For many students, however, dedication to schoolwork should not pall due to holiday activities. The following suggestions may go a long way to helping you keep your teenager focused and on track during the holiday season.
If kids are doing well in school, they don’t want to fizzle out now. It is important to keep the momentum going. If they have been struggling, now is the most important time to dedicate themselves to academic success.
Final exams and university applications do not vanish during the holiday season, either. Parents should watch closely to make certain their teen completes the school year on a strong note. The following suggestions may go a long way to helping you keep your teenager focused and on track through the new year.
1. Prioritize: Schedules can be frantic over the holidays. Keeping track of deadlines, assignment due dates, and big exams on the calendar can assist parents and students to prioritize their time.
Make a list, check it twice, and then create a plan! Make sure the plan allows enough time each day for studying and working on assignments. The idea is to make use of valuable time now, so students will not be overwhelmed during the last two weeks of the semester.
Some of the parents I speak to use an online calendar to keep track of their teen’s progress without nagging them. Google Calendar is of particular utility because it has a share feature. Students can indicate on the calendar what he or she has accomplished each day, and parents can easily keep an eye on things.
2. Acknowledge the spirit of the holidays: Recognize that there is a heightened excitement this time of year. Be sure to make good use of the season’s enthusiasm to motivate your teen. “Don’t ignore that the energy in the air is all about the holidays coming up,” says Megan Bradfield, a life coach and Tutors on Call parent with teenagers at home. “Surprise your teen between English and Maths with a hot chocolate or talk about what gifts they should get friends or family.”
Parents can also make good use of the holiday spirit to engage their teens in service-learning activities. Volunteering at a soup kitchen or donating gifts to a needy family gets students involved in their community and helps parents promote strong values. It also helps to generate experience for university applications and valuable source material for essays.
3. Keep looking forward: The months of December and January are often a time to reflect on the past year; however parents should also encourage students to focus on what is in front of them. For some students, this may mean earnestly starting the university search. For others, it might mean finishing university essays, submitting applications, and researching financial aid options. Finally, the holidays may be the perfect time for some students to start giving some serious thought about internships, camps, or classes they want to participate in over the summer.
In a nutshell, the holidays provide an ideal opportunity for students to reflect on how they will continue to explore themselves and their interests while building a strong collegiate profile. Parents are called upon to help keep their teens focused on the activities essential for propelling themselves toward their higher education goals.
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