If you’ve got teens that stress out over studying, you are not alone. It can be so hard as a parent to see your kids worrying about their exams and feeling helpless when you feel like nothing you do helps.
MerryCoach parents often ask about strategies to help their kids take the stress out studying and here are my top 6 tips!
Find out your teen’s preferred learning style.
Understanding how to learn makes a huge difference to improving study efficiency and learning retention. Is your teen predominantly a visual, auditory, kinaesthetic learner? Let me explain:
- Visual learners prefer to learn by reading and seeing.
- Auditory learners prefer to learn by listening and talking about what they’ve learned.
- Kinaesthetic learners prefer to learn by doing.
Getting better at studying is sure to decrease your teen’s stress levels when it comes to assessment time. Your teen can take the learning styles quiz and check out this blog post for tips on how to use your preferred learning style to achieve more from study sessions.
Create a study plan
One of the key reasons teens stress about studying is because they don’t have a study plan in place. To help your teen avoid this, at the start of every term sit down and do a study planning session with your teen. Use a calendar to block out study sessions for each subject, working backwards from the assessment due dates for each subject. This helps your teen break down the assessment into more manageable tasks and easily track progress.
Review your teen’s extra commitments
Talk openly with your teen about all their extra commitments in addition to study and whether they are realistic when considering the study plan they’ve just created. These could be extra-curricular activities, social commitments, or their part-time job. While we know that these activities are important for overall development, it’s important to ensure that your teen is not overscheduled.
All the planning in the world will not reduce the stress of an overscheduled teen and factoring in free-time to just chill out is vitally important. Taking this opportunity to review your teen’s extra commitments alongside their study commitments may lead you both to the conclusion that some readjustment of priorities may need to occur. Which leads me to my next point…
If you and your teen come to the conclusion that reprioritisation will need to happen, it can help to categorise tasks into – ‘critical’, ‘important’ and ‘nice to have’.
- These tasks are crucial. They must be accomplished first, e.g., assignments.
- These tasks are significant but don’t quite fall into the critical goal category. An example could be reading all the extra course readings. Yes, it would broaden and deepen learning but sometimes there just isn’t enough time to read them all.
- Nice to have. In comparison to the critical and important tasks they come third in the list and can be easily postponed.
Once your teen has categorised their study plan, prioritising tasks becomes heaps easier especially when the unexpected happens (as it always does).
Check in regularly and help where you can
A great way to help your teen keep on top of their study is to check in regularly on how their study plan is tracking. Some handy questions to help your teen reflect on how they going are:
- What are you doing really well at the moment?
- What do you think you’re doing ok at?
- What do you need help with?
These 3 questions help your teen structure their thinking to identify the subjects that need extra focus. The bonus is that it gets you thinking about how you might be able to help. This doesn’t mean doing the assignment for them! But proofreading assignments and quizzing your teen to help prepare for exams are fantastic ways to assist.
Recharge, celebrate and reward!
Life can be so hectic that we often don’t stop to recharge, celebrate and reward successes. But encouraging your teen to celebrate small wins can give them the momentum to stick to that study plan and keep on achieving.
And what about you? Supporting teens through study can really take its toll! Don’t forget to find ways of celebrating achievements too! It doesn’t have to be anything big – a special dinner or an afternoon off to see a movie. Just remember to factor it in. It can really improve resilience over the long run.
What’s your tip to help your teen take the stress out of studying?
About Veronica Merry, MerryCoach
Veronica Merry (MerryCoach) is passionate about coaching people to fulfil their potential. With over 16 years’ experience teaching across a broad range of subject areas including music, business, leadership and performance, Veronica helps students become better learners.