Most parents want their teen to succeed in schoolwork, activities & friendships with minimum stress. But, a manageable schedule often slips into a “catch-up, hurry-up” frenzy when there’s one incredible life opportunity after another.
That’s why it’s important to slow down and help your teen build a process for managing those opportunities. High school is also a crucial time for teens to learn how to manage themselves.
Here’s my favorite process – packed with tools – to help teens manage a thriving life filled to the max.
Start with a time management tool that works with your teen’s preferences.
Is your teen a technology scheduler (gi.e. Google or Apple calendar, Evernote)? Or a paper-and-pencil type of organizer (check out this Academic Planner)?
Support their passion, help them get the right tool, and then stick to it.
Continually help your teen build a realistic sense of time.
Teens often underestimate how long projects take. For example, they may budget an hour to write a paper. But, in reality, it takes an hour for the outline, an hour for the essay, an hour for proofing and a half-an-hour for a buffer. Help your teen break down their project time-estimates into smaller chunks to improve accuracy and their work plan. They can use toggl.com (free) to track their time for even greater precision.
Help your teen get in the habit of putting important dates in the calendar.
Important dates include homework, tests, quizzes, projects, appointments, sporting events, band performances, etc. The calendar will help them visualize the demands on their time and plan ahead. If you’re using Google calendar, you can share your calendars with your teen so they don’t feel alone in the effort. (Google also integrates with toggl.com.)
Regularly look ahead on the calendar.
Maybe your teen reviews deadlines on a set day of the week or makes it a daily practice. Maybe it’s part of a family meeting. Whatever you choose, look at upcoming due dates and make sure there’s a doable work plan on the calendar. Ask your teen if the assignment is really challenging, and if they need help or more time.
Take Some Pressure Off.
Help your teen find more time by noticing the small windows of “wasted” time they can use to their advantage. Like a bus ride or waiting for practice to start. It’s especially easy to use this time when they’ve broken down their work plans into small chunks.
Now your teen is ready to review the big picture.
Is it overstuffed or manageable? Can they realistically pursue all of their activities and schoolwork? For some students, having a full schedule actually makes them more productive in their down time. For others, too many activities can be overwhelming and leave little time for school work. Whenever something isn’t working, reevaluate, adjust and come up with a new routine that works again.
This process may feel like A LOT at first. Make sure you both have time set aside to write down activities, keep track of due dates and check in with each other. Hang in there – it will get easier. And, cheer yourself on for investing in your child’s independence and success.
If you’d like some individual support, please reach out to me to schedule a free strategy call. Wishing you and your teen lots of success!