PREPARING YOUR TEEN FOR A SUCCESSFUL SCHOOL YEAR.
Life is stressful for teens these days. When I was young, I had to worry about what I was going to wear to try and look cool. That was it. Now its all about AP classes, volunteering, having enough extracurriculars, and keeping up your grades so you can get into college. Not to mention, thinking about how to pay for college.
It's very important to make sure you prepare your teen for each upcoming year a few weeks before school actually starts. While you are at it, you can prepare yourself too!
First, very important tip is to stay organized. I put together a file box for each of my kids to keep all the important papers and things needed for that year, so they stay in one place, safe and sound. It makes it so much easier when you need to find their health papers for the school nurse, things that need to be signed and returned, etc.... I put file folders inside and label them with what I think we will need. Health, report cards, sign/return, to do, projects due, etc... Then I also make a file for each subject so if they want to save notes/tests for studying for midterms/finals, everything is right there. As your child gets older, have them help in keeping up the files so they learn organization skills and things don't fall apart if you are not home!
Secondly, it's very important to have candid conversations with your teens. You want to be sure that they know how much you care about their school year, friends, activities, etc. and that you are rooting for them to have the best year yet! Sit down with them casually and talk about setting some goals for the year. Maybe they want to make some new friends, or join the school paper, etc... Make sure you set some goals too, so they know that everyone can do this and this is a great life skill that they will use forever. Talk about how you will work towards accomplishing these goals and how you will support each other throughout the year to hold each other accountable. Be sure and talk about any concerns they may be having too. Your teen may act like they are not interested, but believe me, everyone wants to be heard and know people care and want to help them succeed.
Another great idea is to have them participate in the social media challenge of #100happydays. You find something positive each day to post on social media about your day and use the hashtag 100happydays. This is especially great for teens who may not like going to school, or struggle with finding the good in their days during the school year. After 100 days, it will become a great habit of looking on the bright side and always being able to at least find one positive thing in their day! Of course, it's also a great way to use social media for something positive!
Lastly, throw together a last minute back to school bash for your teen and their friends. As our kids become older, we don't always get to know who they are hanging out with all the time, so have them invite them over for a bonfire and s'mores, nice and simple. Then I have some fun back to school games that the kids can do that are minute to win it games! These are all things you can throw together easily with things from the dollar store so it's simple and inexpensive.
Here are the games:
*Use #2 pencils, and take three cups and have the kids try and bounce the pencil on its eraser and have it land in the cup. Whoever gets the most in the cup in a minute wins. They can do this one at a time and time them with a stopwatch or have several kids go at once and just see who has the most in their cup at the end of a minute.
*Blow up three balloons with regular air and write on them, one saying schoolwork, one activities, one free time, or social time. They have to keep all three balloons in the air without touching the ground for one minute.
*Type up some questions about school and cut them into slips of paper and place in a bowl. Pass it around and have the kids pick one and answer it. It's a great way for the kids to see how their friends are also feeling about school and lets them know they are not alone. Some questions could be:
What do you want to accomplish this year?
What did you learn over the summer that will make you a better student, friend, etc... this year?
What are you looking forward to this year?
What are you not looking forward to this year?
The kids will have a lot of fun with this activity!
*Use #2 pencils and have them put several on the back of their hand, palm facing the ground and try and roll them off your hand and catch them in the same hand.
I hope these tips will help you in helping your teen have a great year at school this year! It's a hard time in our world and kids deserve to be kids and to know that they have a support team who has their back!
Happy School Year To All!