If you’re the parent of an adolescent facing exam time, knowing the way to help them access practical ways to scale back the distractions is important.
Try these top tips to assist them stay focused and develop better study habits:
Understanding energy patterns is key. For most people, the best time to focus is in the late morning. For a smaller percentage of the population, that focus burst happens best late in the night. Understanding the way your teenager works best can assist you avoid many frustrating arguments. If night-time is their most efficient period, don’t fight it – instead help them create a schedule that reflects their preference, you’ll be helping them get one step closer to study success.
For great mental and physical health, breaking study into bits of chunks of 20-minute study blocks is suggested. Encourage your child to line a study goal, specialise in it, then reward themselves with a mini-break and something to urge their body to move, before getting stuck into another study session.
To help ignore distractions, some brain training can make a big difference. The ABC technique is a proven method that many people find useful.
A is for awareness – the recognition of what the distraction is.
B stands for breathing deeply – time to slow down and think about your options.
C is for choice. By choosing mindfully, the distraction can be dealt with – either by responding to it in some way or dismissing it.
One positive way to encourage your child is by using the phrase ‘be here now’, out loud, whenever you get to know that mind is wandering and each time distraction creeps in, the phrase can be repeated again.
It’s a sort of meditation which will get great results for a few people but others might find it challenging. If your teenager finds that it doesn’t work for them, don’t push it. Trying too hard to empty their mind and not feeling the results can become its own quiet stress. Best to find another way to beat the distraction that does hit the mark.
One of the most reasons that students are easily distracted during study time is that there’s often almost no difference between the space where they are doing homework and therefore the space where they relax.
If your teenager is within the habit of studying on the couch, or in bed, it’d be harder for them to feel focused on work.
If it’s possible, find a fanatical study space that they only use for his or her exam studies. It will help them have set boundaries and make it easier for them to avoid distractions. Using cork boards, or wall planners, with clear study schedules and ‘to-do’ lists they will check at the top of every day can help them keep their mind in work mode.
If your teenager owns a smartphone, you’ll understand how distracting it is often. By the time they get interrupted with alerts from Facebook, Snapchat, and WhatsApp, study time has been impacted badly.
At the beginning of every study session, they ought to put their phone on silent – and preferably out of sight. Encourage them to require it one step further by storing it in another room during their study session.
Before study starts, turning off internet access is another smart way to minimize distractions.
No more YouTube videos of kittens, or social media alerts. Consider using apps and plugins that block specific social media sites or websites to minimise distractions.
Even if your teenager’s study environment isn’t particularly noisy, it’s amazing what proportion noise-cancelling headphones can do to scale back the audio clutter of distracting household sounds, including washing machines humming, or other family members talking. For some teenagers, though, silence is often deafening and that they work better with music. Encouraging them to settle on their music wisely – music with lyrics is often an enormous distraction, especially if they’re performing on writing-related tasks. Research shows that taking note of music can improve concentration, so mention this with them within the weeks before exam preparation gets right down to serious business to assist them find a soundtrack that helps them tackle their studies in a positive way.
Making a checklist of everything they have available for an efficient study session may be a good start line. Depending on the themes they’re studying, this might include pens, pencils, rubbers, rulers, scrap paper, paperclips, post-it notes and highlighters. In terms of taking care of their own bodies, they ought to have cool, water and a few easy snacks to nibble on (dried fruit and nuts, or chopped fresh fruit are good options).
By browsing the checklist at the beginning of each study session, they’ll have everything handy to assist them grind to a halt into a focused burst of exam preparation.
Remember, every teenager is different. Some welcome tips and methods from their parents, while others like better to find their own way. Find the balance your teen must require and is able to perform to the best of his/her abilities.
Keep Shining !
Also published on Medium.