Is your teen tired of school?

homework Apr 04, 2021

Is your teen complaining about school? Do they say it’s pointless? If so, I’m sure you are feeling a little nervous about what to do as a parent. A recent study by NBC New and Challenge Success, showed of high school kids 50% more than in the past are feeling disengaged from school, stress and pressure levels are really high, and peer relationships are struggling more. 

It's a really tough time for our teenagers.

We are coming up on the last marking period of school for most teens. Spring fever is right around the corner after following a very yucky year of Covid-19 restrictions and subsequent apathy. It might be hard to finish as strong as they have in the past… but here are some tips to help your teen finish well.

  • Support your teen and their struggle to figure out homework amidst this pandemic when school is online then back in person, then online, then back in person, then online, and around we go based on Covid-19 exposures… Make sure when they are at home for online school or doing homework that they have a designated place with as few distractions as possible. 
  • Fuel them up When they do go to school make sure they are going with some fuel in their belly. Many kids skip breakfast and by mid-morning they have nothing left to power their brain cells. If they don’t want a hearty breakfast at least get them to eat a granola bar, bag of nuts, yogurt, or something that keeps the energy up until lunch. When they are at home provide healthy snacks between classes. It’s really hard to sit on a screen all day. Brain cell functions start getting depleted after about two hours. It's worse being on a screen. Water and healthy snacks help!
  • Get good rest Many kids have a hard time shutting down the screens at night. Make sure your family has rules about powering down electronics a little sooner than bedtime so that their brains can produce natural melatonin and help them sleep well. Find other activities besides a screen if they need something to wind down while in their bed.
  • Keep them organized Many schools have altered schedules, switched to block classes, and implemented a variety of techniques to lessen the risk of Covid-19 exposure. This can result in more confusion and disorganization, especially for kids with ADHD or executive functioning  struggles. Help your teen have a plan to manage the changes and to stay on top of homework. Make sure you check your teen’s online portal/classroom and help keep an eye on assignments. Homework is the biggest issue I hear of right now for teens. If they fall too far behind it gets overwhelming quickly. A weekly check-in to make sure they are on top of things provides accountability and oversight. If you can help them stay on top of it, this is a huge help to getting through these last few weeks. 
  • Check in Every once in a while just check in with your teen. Ask how it’s going at school and how they are coping. With so many things still up in the air it’s hard not to feel discouraged or overwhelmed. Make sure you listen and hear what it feels like for them… and validate that feeling! Emotional health is suffering all over the place after this year long pandemic. Make sure your teen feels your support. Avoid lecturing and nagging. Instead, listen, validate, encourage, and provide incentives and support.
  • Acknowledge their effort It’s hard right now for everyone. Discouragement is being felt by many. Let your teen know you are proud of them for trying. Don’t focus on the grade, instead praise the effort. Encourage them to work with a study buddy or ask the teacher questions if they get stuck. Offer your support or find them help if needed.
  • Help them keep the balance Routines are still disrupted. When teens feel overwhelmed they can get stuck in a rut. Help them remember to keep the balance. They need to spend time doing school work, but they also need to spend time taking care of their emotional and physical health. Visiting with friends, and being involved in other positive activities are important too. If the grades aren’t as great as they used to be, but they are doing what they can and keeping their mental health in a positive place, so be it. We all need a little self-compassion during this season.

Remember, everyone is struggling a bit these days, yourself included. Compassion will get you further right now than anger. Help your teen stay afloat and finish this school year well. Summer is coming!

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