MyTutor for Parents

5 ways to help your teen stay motivated this summer term

It’s the last hurdle before the end of school. You know that feeling when holidays are coming up fast– how it can get harder and harder to stay motivated and focused. Well, it’s the same for your teens, and in all fairness to them, they’ve been revising and sitting exams for a while now. But it’s not over just yet. 

Here are 5 ways you can keep their motivation levels up, so that they feel good walking into their day.

  1. Let them know what they’re doing well.
  2. Encourage them to look back on their goals– and to set new ones.
  3. Remind them that the end is close.
  4. Help them balance study and down time.
  5. Plan a celebration.

1. Let them know what they’re doing well.

A lot of teens shut down when they feel like they aren’t doing well in school. The easiest and most helpful way to motivate your teen is by praising them. Give them good, honest encouragement for what they’ve been doing well. It doesn’t have to be related to school. It can be how well they’ve been playing football this season, or how their comic sketches are coming along nicely. At this time when a bad exam can knock back their confidence, praise is always welcomed. A helpful activity they can try is to list out their top 5 non-academic related achievements. That way if they’re thinking, ‘I’m not good enough,’ after a tough exam, they’ll know there’s plenty they are good at. 

2. Encourage them to look back on their goals– and to set new ones.

f they put together a revision timetable, and have been steadily working their way through it, that’s a huge win. Checking off their goals (even if they’re small) is an achievement. Remind them of the to-do lists they worked through to show them that they are moving forward. And to keep that momentum going, encourage them to make new goals between now and the end of term. They can use a goal setting template that helps them break down their goals into doable chunks. 

3. Remind them that the end is close.

By now, teens are well into exam season and it can feel like they drag on forever. 

A count down can be super motivating. It shows them that there’s an end in sight! Have them circle the end of exams on their calendar and they can check off the dates as they go.

4. Help them balance study and down time.

Your teen’s probably got their study routine down by now. But it might not be working well for them. If they’re studying for hours on end without taking breaks, they might start to feel burnt out. The Pomodoro technique is the perfect way for them to balance revision and down time. Education experts recommend it, since the brain learns best in shorter bursts of study (25 minutes) with breaks built in between. 

Here’s how Pomodoro works: 

Step 1: They’ll choose a subject to revise in. For example, GCSE English.

Step 2: Next they’ll set the Pomodoro timer (or Pomodoro app) for 25 mins. 

Step 3: Your teen starts revising their subject. It’s best if they focus on one activity. So for example, working with flashcards.

Step 4: When the timer rings they’ll take a short break (about 5 mins). 
Step 5: They’ll repeat steps 2-4 for their second Pomodoro round. It’s a good idea to do about an hour of revising (so 2 Pomodoros) and stick to the same subject. After the 2 Pomodoros, they’ll take a longer break.

5. Plan a celebration.

Exams take up a huge chunk of your teen’s time and headspace. A celebration gives them something to look forward to. It reminds them that there is an end, which can give them that boost of motivation when they’re starting to lose steam. There are lots of fun ways to help them celebrate the end of exams. It can be as simple as a takeaway and a film night, or booking a karaoke room for them and their closest friends. Whatever you plan, make sure you let them lead the way since it’s their celebration. 

They’re so nearly there! And you’ve been an amazing support through this stressful time for them. So while you celebrate your teen– give yourself a pat on the back too… you both deserve it!

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