Picture this: It’s football season and your son is on the high school football team. Practices are mandatory, and the team practices every school day. Your son leaves for school at 7 a.m. for weight training, and he gets home at 6:30 p.m. after football practice. After dinner, he needs to do homework for three classes and study for a test.
So far, it seems doable, but what if your son has a job and has to work that night? Or what if he has a youth activity? Or a friend’s birthday party?
Teens Are Busier Than Ever
With minor changes–your daughter is on the volleyball team and in the school play, or your son is on the debate team and works as a janitor most nights–a similar scenario plays out all across America most nights. Teens are, on average, busier than they were 20 years ago.
Something's Got to Give
Extracurriculars are important, but so is school. Do these kids need to give something up? Parents don’t want them to, because all these experiences are seen as important for their growth and development.
Sometimes Schoolwork Suffers
However, schoolwork is sometimes what suffers. After all, it’s the easiest thing to procrastinate, with teens thinking there will be a way to make up grades, turn in work late, or retake a test. That’s not always possible, though. It’s tough to find the right balance between getting good grades and doing well in extracurricular activities.
A Few Tips
Here are some ideas to help your teen do just that. It will always be a challenge, but if you do these things, keeping things in balance will be much easier.
- Make a schedule, daily, weekly, and monthly. Know what’s coming up so you can be prepared.
- Prioritize. You really can give some activities up without sacrificing too much. Help your teen see if some things are just not that important.
- Don’t procrastinate. Turning in work late always takes more effort than keeping up with the work.
- Make sure you have time for yourself. The right balance needs to include some downtime, some leisure time, and some fun time.
- Stay organized. If you can’t turn in your homework because you can’t find it, the time spent doing it is wasted.
- Contact teachers with any questions or problems. You might be surprised by how willing they are to help.
- Consider online high school. The school offers social as well as academic opportunities, but if your teen already has enough social outlets, online school can allow more time for other things.
You might be noticing your kids feeling overwhelmed at some point in their time in school. Help them be organized and balanced and see them succeed.