As summer winds down, your teen is probably beginning to think about the inevitable – going back to school. With any luck your teen is excited about the upcoming year, motivated by the promise of challenging academic pursuits and days spent studying instead of hanging out in the sun. Ha!
If that describes your teen, please thank your lucky stars. Because about this time of year, most parents are devising plans about how to persuade (or in some cases, bribe) their teen to start the school year with a positive outlook. The reality is that most teens look forward to the start of a new school year with an attitude of impending doom and are motivated solely by the satisfying chime of the 4pm dismissal bell. That’s the bad news.
The good news is that there are some ways you can help your teen get more excited about the upcoming school year and help them start the year off right.
1. Take your teen back-to-school shopping – No matter your budget or your kids’ preferences, you can find something to help them get excited for the new school year. Whether it’s a new outfit, a new notebook or pen, or new snacks for the week that they get to pick out themselves, a fresh start to the school year deserves a fresh something for the student!
2. Plan extracurricular activities – Help your teen get signed up for something they’re passionate about, like an after-school sport or art class. If the first day of school also means the first day of something they’re excited about, it can help motivate them to get out of bed in the morning!
3. Host a back-to-school BBQ for your teen and their friends – Get your teen excited about the social aspect of school by planning a gathering with their school friends. Whether you host a BBQ in your backyard or invite students and their families to a potluck in the park, seeing the friends they didn’t see over the summer reminds them that school is about so much more than studying.
4. Help your teen define their goals – Most teens have very little direction about where they want to do tomorrow, much less five years from now. They may have some idea of which academic subjects they’re interested in, but without the ability to apply those to a real-life situation, their interests may fall flat. Have your teen take a career aptitude test to find out where their skills and interests may lead them in the future. With a larger goal in sight, teens can begin to understand how school leads them to achieve this goal. With this understanding, school assignments have new meaning and students have renewed motivation.
Looking for more? From first day prep (including overcoming first day nerves) to managing their academic workload, here are 10 Tips to Ease the Transition Back to School for Teenagers.
Struggling with more than motivation and preparation when it comes to your teen? From behavioral issues to family dynamics, learn how Excelsior can help you, your teenager and your family speak the same language and address more significant challenges at home.