Procrastinating causes stress and anxiety the night before a test. Cramming the information into one night is not an effective way for your teen to attain knowledge and perform well. Here are some strategies to help them curb procrastination:
1. Plan out your week using a calendar: Before your week begins, look at your availability, as well as your long-term assignments, and map out the small steps that can be accomplished to ease up the workload. For example, maybe you have an essay due in a month and you haven’t started. You could make it a goal to brainstorm ideas this week on a mind map then start your rough draft the next. Coming back to your assignment a few times with fresh eyes helps you see things you may miss when you do it all the night before it’s due.
2. Set aside ‘Homework Time’ each evening: Don’t set aside four hours every night because it’s too long and you’re likely to feel overwhelmed and skip it altogether. Instead, plan for an hour or two (depending on your courses and grade level) each night so you can review and plan rather than play ‘catch-up.’ Also, focus on one subject or task at a time. Swapping between assignments can make you feel stressed and it will take longer to finish.
3. Disconnect and address all distractions: Turn off your cell phone, social media accounts, and TV. Tell your friends and family when you’re going to be working so they don’t disrupt your concentration.
4. Create a realistic and manageable To Do list: Look at each individual task, break them down into small tasks and check them off as you go. Seeing your progress will prompt you to keep going!
5. Start with the most difficult task first: You will know that the hardest part is over and it will motivate you for the rest.
6. Reward yourself! Having something to look forward to at the end of a productive work session is a great motivator.
1) Get to know your child’s teacher(s)
Get to know your child’s teacher on an individual basis. Take the time to develop strong and respectful relationships with each of them. This will pay off down the road whether in resolving potential issues and/or establishing the trust necessary for a collaborative approach to your child’s success.
2) Clean slate
Do not judge your child for their indiscretions last term and give them the chance for a fresh start. Also, if you have more than one child in school, don’t show favouritism. Each child should feel they have an equal chance to learn, grow and shine at home.
3) Set learning goals with your child
Ask your child what they’d like to achieve this semester/school year and create some learning goals together. Make sure to consider all areas of their lives including their academic, social, physical and emotional. It could be anything from: ‘I want to get an A in Math’ to ‘I want to score 3 goals in one hockey game’ or ‘I want to have my first sleepover.’ It’s important to balance all areas of their life so they feel motivated inside and outside of class.
4) Provide structure
It’s important to provide your child with structure every evening. Let your child plan the evening – between when they will complete their chores, when they’ll have free time etc. Create this calendar together at the beginning of the school year and hang it up in the common area. Getting your child involved in planning the weeknight schedules helps them feel empowered. Not to mention, it’s easier to get them to work by reminding them that they created the schedule.
Remember to encourage your child to live a healthy, balanced life full of exercise, nutrition, sleep and friends. A great mental break from technology can really do wonders. Instead try a family board game night or partake in a mindfulness activity (yoga or meditation). Regardless of what you choose to do, remember that it’s important you lead by example and take care of yourself too!
Wishing you a fantastic start to the school year!
Julie Diamond is a certified teacher in Canada and the founder of Teachers to Go.
Julie Diamond speaking at the OISE conference for Alternative, Innovative and Inspiring Career Paths for Teachers at the University of Toronto.
Jenna Srigley is the administrative assistant/social media co-ordinator at Teachers to Go and offers invaluable insight as a mom of 2 teens.
Fun Fact: Her and Julie (see above) are also sisters :)