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Smart Ways to Encourage Learning in Your Teens

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The teenage years are challenging for kids and parents alike. You want to help your child do their best in school without making them feel like you’re adding pressure. Seventy percent of teens said anxiety and depression are significant problems for them, while 61% said good grades were a source of stress. To inspire them to learn, it’s essential to ensure you’re not making them more nervous.

It’s a delicate balance between giving them motivation and enforcing rules to keep them learning. So what are some smart ways to encourage learning in your teens? Here are a few study tips you can use together.

1.  Talk With Them

The first vital step is to discuss where they’re struggling. Conversations like this could help both of you discover the root of their issues. Even if not, venting their frustrations is good. When they feel they can let out their problems to you, they’ll look to you for help and comfort. Giving them a safe space to talk can help them relax and refocus on their work.

Talking to them about school is a chance to promote the importance of learning. While they might be having a hard time, remind them to keep up their efforts and seek help when they need it. Finding new ways to teach themselves will be a helpful skill now and later in life.

2.  Use Timers

Doing homework after a long day of school can feel very tiring. Your teen might put off working until the late hours of the night or forget to do it at all. Staying up too late can tire them out quickly and not doing their work will create a destructive pattern. Give them time to rest when they get home, but try timers to form breaks in their studies.

Many people speak about the effectiveness of the Pomodoro timer. Breaking up work helps the brain focus — so while taking breaks sounds ineffective, it actually can help your kid a lot if they struggle to concentrate. The standard Pomodoro method is to take five-minute breaks every 25 minutes. Then, they can take a longer break for every four work sessions. If those time intervals don’t work, try adjusting the lengths.

3.  Have Them Handwrite Their Notes

Like many people, your children might stick to a laptop or computer to write their notes. There is a scientific reason they might find it hard to remember what teachers have told them if they do so. Research has shown taking notes by hand improves memory, focus and learning.

While at school, encourage your kids to write down their notes instead of typing them. With a pen and paper, there’s nothing to pay attention to but the information they need. The internet might be too much of a temptation for some, so writing by hand gives them a better chance of focusing. They could notice better comprehension as well.

4.  Acknowledge Failure as a Part of Learning

Be wary of promoting success so much that you make your teenagers afraid of failure. Encouraging them to do well doesn’t mean getting mad when they do poorly. Some missteps are bound to happen, even if they try as hard as possible. Scientists now acknowledge perfectionism as a significant public health issue, so helping your teen learn to keep going after experiencing a setback can blossom their self-confidence.

Tell them they’re not “stupid” or “bad at school”, even if they have difficulty picking something up. Instead of viewing a poor grade as a symbol of their intelligence, both of you can view it as an opportunity to learn. They can take time to find different study methods and ask their teachers for help. Finding active ways to overcome what they’re stuck on can be a motivating and educating experience.

5.  Celebrate Successes

You should also take some time to reward your kids on a job well done. Maybe they had a great week completing their homework or got a passing grade in a class they were having a tough time in. One way to keep them motivated is to find ways to celebrate when they have a big success.

A good time for a reward might also be when they find an effective new way to study or make progress in a difficult subject. They don’t have to be perfect for you to be excited for them — taking steps to improve themselves is a great thing. Try celebrating the effort instead of the outcome to help them curb any perfectionist tendencies.

6.  Make Rules to Create Structure

While this might not work well for all teens, some will find creating a schedule helpful. Structure and organization can help many people be productive, so trying it out at home could benefit them. If you don’t tend to enforce rules at your house, giving them some for schoolwork could motivate them to focus.

However, some kids might need a more fluid study structure to thrive. Finding out what works best will be a matter of trial and error, so let them know it’s okay if they find rules hard to work under.

Promote Learning for Your Teens

Encouraging your children to learn might start off as a challenge. When they’re already having a hard time in school, they might find more effort disheartening. However, you can use these smart tips to encourage their continued education and endeavors. It will be good for their schooling and future careers.

Jeff Campbell