Watching your teenager struggle to prepare for exams can be stressful for parents. Parents want to help, but help can be perceived as nagging by their children. Many parents may need to step back and let their child make their own decisions about studying. Here are some tips to help your teenager develop their study strategy so that they can make their own, positive choices regarding exam preparation.
1) Develop a Positive Study Area
Keep one area of the house devoted to studying. This could be the kitchen table, a desk in the den, or your child’s bedroom. Your study area should have good lighting, be free from other distractions such as the tv, and have a comfortable chair. Encourage your teenager to leave behind their cell phone or other distractions when they use the study area. When your study area is pleasant and inviting, your teenager will be more willing to sit down and focus on their work.
2) Offer Encouragement
Every time you see your teenager making a choice to study offer positive reinforcement. “Good job working hard to prepare,” or “I see that you really care about this exam coming up,” are nice ways to recognize their efforts without adding too much pressure. The more their efforts are praised, just as much as the scores they receive, the more they will value the preparation itself.
3) Coordinate Calendars
Have family meetings to coordinate calendars. Include big events, work schedules, project due dates, exams, and homework and study time on your family calendar. Then, you can be on the same page as your child. Don’t plan events that will interfere with their planned study time. It will also help your child prioritize study time in their busy schedules. Setting the expectation that there will be planned study time in your teenager’s schedule will help them know how important it is to study and prepare.
4) Just Ask
Asking your child what their study strategy is, will inspire them to think about it. You don’t have to tell them exactly how to study. Asking will help them think through the methods they use for studying and whether or not they are the most useful. If you teenager doesn’t have a study strategy, you can offer to help them create one. Work together to decide on goals and a plan of action.
These methods for helping your teenager develop a study strategy will help you gently encourage and support your teenager. You can be your teenager’s best encouragement. Use gentle encouragement, positive environments, thoughtful conversation, and time management to help your teenager discover the positive outcomes that come with a great study strategy.