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5 Back to School Tips to Share with High Schoolers

As the winter break comes to a close, it’s the time to start preparing to get back into gear for the rest of the school year. Taking some time to strategically plan and set goals will help your student start the year off on the right foot. As our students get older, it’s important for them to learn how to think ahead and to plan for their future selves. Use this preparation period as a teaching opportunity for your student to learn how to set goals as well as objectives for achieving them.

Here are our top five tips for your high schooler to prepare for going back to school:

1. Set goals, then detail steps to achieve them.

Teach your teens how to set realistic and attainable goals not only for their academic work, but also for their extracurricular activities, clubs, and volunteer work too. Have them write out a few ideas of where they’d like to see themselves in each of these categories. Under each goal, have them identify two to four actionable steps that they can take to achieve these goals throughout their school year. They can even create a timeline with check points so that they have a plan for when they will check back in, weigh their progress, and make changes to their strategies if needed.

2. Don't procrastinate.

This is true not only for their winter homework that they should have already completed, but also for the work they will have as the semester begins. Teach them how to stay on top of their workload to make it more manageable. Waiting until the last minute is never a good idea. This is true for managing stress levels as well as for producing quality of work. Help them find ways they can stay on top of their work to pace out their year in a more practical and sustainable way.

3. Set up a study routine.

Review the course load that they will have in the coming year. Start deciding whether a tutor will be necessary for any of these classes or if any special study needs will be required. Work with your teen to map out a plan for where, when and how they will study. If they already know their extracurricular and volunteering schedules, take it one step further and start planning out the times in which they will need to utilize for studying. Help them to find a space that is quiet, well-lit, and comfortable for them to do their work.

4. Stay organized.

If you are prepping for the school year, you are naturally getting organized, so you’re already on the right track! Consider backpacks, note books, lockers and other places your student uses every day. Give them some ways to keep their spaces organized, tidy, and strategic. Suggest weekly clean-outs so that daily mess does not have a chance to compound. This will not only help them stay focused and less stressed, but also keep them more efficient when studying and moving swiftly from school to club to volunteer projects.

5. Stay positive and ask for help.

Being a teenager and going to high school bring many challenges. As their parent, stay positive to help keep them positive too. Teach them to be solution-oriented and creative thinkers so that they can pivot when needed, without getting down on themselves. Encourage them to ask for help and to utilize their support network of friends, family, and school resources.

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