Getting your teen to study

Children and teenagers can struggle with the connection between working hard on their studies and succeeding later on in life.  Motivated by things like playing on the computer, phones and seeing friends some children and teenagers find it hard to prioritise coursework and exam revision.   

So how do you get them to prioritise tasks?

Let your child brainstorm solutions and set out a study agreement between you and themselves. Children and teenagers are much more motivated to follow a plan they have helped create. Within your agreement discuss what times and days they are going to study according to commitments etc. Write down your expectations when they are studying for example no phone calls, playing games on the internet etc

Getting organised

Lets face it many teens and children can be disorganised. This can drive you to the point of despair. Believe it or not your child or teen is organized somewhere, in some way. Recognize the ways in which your child is organized and let them know you are confident in their ability to transfer these skills to their studies.
Eliminate phrases that label a behaviour as a person such as "Your so untidy” as apposed to ‘Your bedroom is untidy at the moment’.   It is important to separate the behaviour from the person so the person is not labelled on an identity level.  

Ask your child. What benefits would you get if you organised your school work and belongings? What would happen if they didn’t organise their school work in 1 month’s time? In 3 months time? In a year’s time?

How do you motivate your child?

Acknowledge what positive things your child is doing right now.  A great way to motivate children and teenagers is to use a skill called Descriptive Praise. This means to notice and describe the behaviour you want them to do more of. Descriptive praise recognises the positive things your child is doing. 

For example:

Thank you for tidying up I really appreciate it as it means it frees up my time to do other things.


To conclude focus on the positive things that your child is already achieving, use descriptive praise to highlight these things. To help your child prioritise tasks set goals and identify the steps they need to take to meet these goals. Focus on how your child is already organised and what they can do to make it better. Acknowledge what they do it is not easy to juggle schoolwork and all the other activities they do.  

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