By Sam Coren
It’s pretty common for students experience an intense amount of pressure and anxiety during their last two years of high school. Between standardized tests, after school activities, college tours, applications, and who can forget all that homework, it’s easy for teens to get overwhelmed. So how can you, as a parent, prevent your teen from feeling burned out with so much going on?
Here are a few tips for helping them keep their cool:
Let them know it’s ok to vent.
After a hard day at the office it might be tough to sit at the kitchen table and hear your 17-year old complain about how bad they have it. But that’s part of the charm of being a parent! Whether they’d like to admit it or not, your teen needs your help to get through this wildly confusing time. You might not have all the answers, but in some cases, just being there to listen to their frustrations can help.
Make sure they have some alone time to unplug.
Let’s face it – we’re all constantly connected to our friends at any given moment thanks to technology. While most teenagers have no qualms hiding in their room to tune out the rest of the world, it’s very difficult for them to actually “get away” with their eyes glued to a glowing screen for hours at a time. Reading books or magazines, practicing an instrument (for fun), art projects, and physical activities such as yoga or time at the gym, are all great ways for teens to “recharge” by themselves.
Reconsider extracurriculars that cause only stress.
One of the biggest mistakes college-bound students make is overloading themselves with extracurriculars for the sake of standing out on college applications. If you notice your student’s schoolwork and general attitude being affected by their participation in too many after school activities it may be worth suggesting that they reconsider some of their memberships. Is it really worth it for them to overexert themselves to get a main part in the school play when they don’t actually enjoy acting all that much? Nope.
Doing college tours? Schedule something fun afterward.
For the highly motivated teen, finding their college match and touring campuses can be just as mentally exhausting as studying for midterms. But it doesn’t have to be all work and no play. Use your college visits as an opportunity for you and your child to explore a new city, see a live performance, or catch a sporting event together.
Don’t forget that they have friends.
It’s easy to forget that good friends are just as important as good grades when it comes to getting through high school. If you notice your teen is becoming overburdened by school work and their college search and hardly ever making time for friends, it might be worth encouraging to them to take some time out for a bit of socialization (although most teams won’t need that much coaxing!). A night out at the movies after a big exam might be just what the doctor ordered.