This week, children across the UK will start returning to the classroom after the much-needed summer break, facing the first academic year for over two years to hopefully not be effected by closures and classroom disruption. Nationally representative research from leading online tutoring platform MyTutor has found that as a result of the pandemic, 42% of parents feel their children are the most stressed they’ve ever been, with over a quarter reporting a visible decline in their educational progression. With this in mind, this generation may not feel best equipped to make the step up to A Levels as they contend with learning gaps and uncertainty over examination processes. In light of this, MyTutor has curated their top tips for teens to make the most of the Autumn Term.
Find a routine that works
Lock in a solid routine at the start of the year. As challenges swing in your teen’s way, having consistency when they get home will help will help them keep their head together.
After school: There’s no one set way for your teen to spend their time when they get home. But if it’s consistent day-to-day, then they’re more likely to feel calm and in control. This way, as homework deadlines and mock exams approach, they can reassure themselves that they’ll have time to do it.
Before bed: There are few things more stressful than chaos in the morning. Running around the house for a missing folder, book, shoe or art project – toast-in-hand – tends to set the day off on the wrong note. Avoid this by getting everything ready the night before. After dinner’s a good time for them to get their bag ready and list everything they’re doing the next day. That way, they’ll down their cornflakes a bit more calmly and head off to school in the right frame of mind.
Tidy desk, tidy mind
By GCSEs it’s ideal if a teen has their own desk space somewhere at home. Even the most disorganised teens benefit from keeping the place where they study under control. They should start by getting their books and notes organised by subject. That way, when they sit down to study they can grab what they need and get their head down straight away.
A teen’s biggest enemy when it comes to studying is also their favourite thing – their phone. Videos, games, memes and apps all battle for their attention from dawn till dusk. Learning to control their screen time now will help them loads at exam time, and for the rest of their lives too.
When they’re doing homework, their phone shouldn’t be on them or near them. If they’re working on a computer, they should turn off desktop notifications too, as Whatsapp, email and messages can all pop up on their screens when they’re trying to work (and look like they’re working!).
This is another nice way parents can set an example – by doing the same. It’s true that kids are more likely to do what you do, not what you say. If you show how you don’t need to be glued to your phone the whole time, then it’s much easier for you to encourage the same behaviour from them.
Help them find a positive frame of mind
Sometimes a teen’s harshest critic is themselves. If they convince themselves early on that they’re not good enough, it becomes much harder for them to excel. Start the year with a big focus on reinforcing their confidence. Emphasise what makes them special, and that they can achieve anything if they put their mind to it. Whatever gets them down at school, having an encouraging environment at home will help them grow resilience.
If you think they could do with some more encouragement and help through their study struggles, MyTutor’s online tutors are perfectly placed to help. They studied the same courses as your teen in the last few years (and got top grades), so they’re up-to-date with the curriculum and explain things in a way teens find relatable. They double as confidence boosters and friendly mentors, giving their students the support they need to enjoy school and achieve their potential. You can have a search for a tutor or book a call with one of our Tutor Experts who’ll set you up with a free meeting.
Suggest that they set a goal for the year
As well as focusing on every deadline that comes their way, it’s important to focus on the bigger picture too. As Michelle Obama once said to a group of high school students, “Every single one of you has something to offer. Something that only you can bring to this world,” and she asked them to set one big goal for the year.
Ask your teen to have a think about what’s unique about them, and what mark they want to make on the world. Focussing on one big thing to achieve by this time next year can inspire them with the little things too. It could be a set of top grades, to run a sponsored race or even to help a certain number of people by volunteering. Finding their individuality and growing their self-esteem makes a more motivated teen who’s ready for anything. With a bit of confidence, organisation and inspiration they’ll make this school year their best one yet.
“The last 18 months have been unbelievably tough year on teens and parents alike with months out of school, exam cancellations, not seeing friends and worrying about Covid-19. With schools open again, catching up on lost learning and prepping for exams this term has undoubtedly brought another set of challenges for teens.
They’re in more need than ever for some support and reassurance with their studies, and that’s exactly what our tutors offer. Our tutors are all from UK universities, and because they’re just a few years older they can easily relate to what teens are going through. With their dedicated one-to-one support, teens get some much-needed reassurance and come out with a stronger self-belief – 88% say that lessons made them feel more confident.”Bertie Hubbard, CEO of MyTutor comments on the difficulties faced by school children during the pandemic: