The role of a parent or carer is of crucial importance in helping teenagers succeed in school and life beyond school. Even though some teenagers may make you feel they want little to do with you and are finding their independence, parental involvement is still key in assisting your child to reach their potential. Here are five ways to help your teenager during their school years.
- Send them to school ready to learn
A healthy breakfast can go a long way in helping improve a teenager’s attention span, concentration, and memory.
The right amount of sleep is also important in helping teenagers to be alert and ready to learn. If your teenager doesn’t get enough sleep, this can lead to decreased attentiveness, decreased short-term memory and inconsistent performance.
- Help them to be organised and to manage their time effectively
This is not always explicitly taught in senior school, so parental input and guidance can be a huge help. Your child may need help with buying folders/binders and notebooks, or plastic sleeves/envelopes for all the paper handouts they are given. Students still need these things even with having their own laptop, as teachers will still hand out sheets of paper that they will need to be able to find again in a following lesson, or to complete homework/assessments.
They may also need help in knowing how to create folders for each subject on their laptop and the best way to save their work (title and date).
Check HQ for assessment schedules, so you are aware of what assessments your child has coming up and help them to complete a study schedule. The study schedule should include both school related and outside school commitments, such as sport training, casual job, youth group. This can help ensure they are not trying to complete multiple assessments on the same night.
- Offer to help with study/homework
It is essential for your child to plan their time well, especially when completing multiple assessments in different subjects. Most teenagers will still need some parental help with organisation of their study time.
Some techniques you can use to help your child study include simple questioning, fill in the missing word, creating flash cards and practice tests. The more ways their brain processes information, the more likely it is they will remember it. Techniques such as re-writing notes, re-reading passages aloud, repeating words, visualising or drawing information all help the brain retain information.
Also remember the importance of a good night’s sleep! Encourage your child to get a good rest. This can be of greater benefit than madly cramming for a test the night before.
- Be involved at school and communicate with their teachers
Some great ways to stay in touch with what is happening at the school is through the newsletter, attending information nights (such as the transition to Senior School night on July 3rd) and attending parent/teacher/student (PTS) conferences. PTS conferences are a great opportunity to discuss how your child is going at school, teacher expectations and to address any issues that may have arisen. Keeping in touch via email is also an effective way to communicate on a more regular basis with your child’s teachers, especially if there is a concern that needs attention. Research shows that teenagers have higher success rates when parents support their academic efforts.
- Make time to talk
It is important to stay connected with your teenager. This can become more difficult when they have extra commitments such as part time jobs and more social engagements. However, it is vital that parents provide love, guidance and support and remain someone your child can rely on. Listening carefully and talking with your child, not at them helps to keep the lines of communication open. Ask questions that require more than a ‘yes’ or ‘no’ answer. Choose good times to talk when you are less distracted by other things, such as car trips or walking the dog. School and the challenges it brings can be easier to handle when teenagers know they can talk with their parents about what is happening.
Mrs Debbie Hall / Senior School Support Coordinator
Adapted from an article ‘10 Ways to Help Your Teen Succeed in High School’ by the Kids Health Organisation.
More details at https://kidshealth.org/en/parents/school-help-teens.html