Academic expectations for young people have never been higher. When juggling demanding courses, attempting to stand out from their peers and preparing for tougher exams and standardized tests, teenagers can easily succumb to academic anxiety. Here are a few tips to help your child prevent and deal with school stresses.
Staying organized and staying on top of deadlines is vital; make sure your child has a planner so that they can record assignments and due dates, upcoming tests or exams and special events. The simple act of writing things down can relieve a ton of anxiety.
Know Your Available Resources
Does your teen’s school have a website and do teachers post assignments and deadlines on it? Does their school offer tutoring services? What resources are available at your local library? If your teen is stressed or struggling, find out where they can go to get assistance.
Being aware of deadlines is step one; prioritizing is another. You don’t have to do everything at once and some assignments will require more time and energy than others. Examine your workload and try to begin the most urgent or time-consuming tasks first. Time management is a tricky thing to master—be there for your teen as they attempt to prioritize.
Psychology Today asked a high school teacher for back-to-school tips; one of these was to set personal goals for each class and to share these with their teacher. This shows forethought and initiative and gives your child something to strive for. That said, make sure these goals are reasonable and don’t stretch your teen too thin.
This is a tough one because it’s so easy to put off the not-fun stuff. Your teen should study for that test or start writing that paper, but would much rather go to the movies (obviously). But, as your child delays, they shorten their time to get a project done, which increases stressful deadline pressure. Procrastination is also a dangerous habit that teens take from high school to college, where academic demands can be much more challenging and require serious time management. Moral of the story? Get started on that project as soon as possible!
Surround Yourself with Good People
A supportive network of friends is important. Talking with a peer (someone who is going through the same things as them and who understands their perspective) can be hugely beneficial for your teen. It’s always good to know that you’re not alone when you feel anxious or stressed.
While the occasional sick day might be a relief, missing multiple days of school can cause extra stress. Make sure that your child is getting enough sleep and all the nutrients that they need. The easiest way to stay on top of schoolwork is to make sure that your kid is both alert and in class.
Ask for Help
Along with knowing your available resources, it’s important to know when to ask for help. Sometimes the workload is just too much or your teen really doesn’t understand a concept. In this situation, some teens (particularly the over-achievers) might equate needing help with failure. Make sure that your teen knows that everyone needs help sometimes and that asking for help when they need it is the smartest thing they can do.
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