In this new world we live in where teenagers are constantly distracted, it can be quite difficult to get them to learn. Having to compete with their mobile devices and friends, both parents and teachers are struggling to get their child’s attention.
Attention and concentration remain the foundations of learning and memorization . However, contrary to what we imagine, our brain has not been transformed into a multi-task machine. When there is too much stimuli, your teen is unable to handle it. He juggles between one activity and another. Hence cognitive fatigue, and the inability to complete the task, is causing a great deal of concern in keeping kids focused at school.
Staying focused on one thing at a time is difficult
“We underestimate the difficulty of concentrating for teens” recalls teen life coach Sam Miller from Parenting Teenagers Academy. “However it is not a natural thing to do for most kids, to stop on something a little unpleasant for which, we do not always have motivation.”
More naturally, kids tend to pay attention to what gives them quick pleasure. Distractors (cell phones, screens of all kinds …) are “candy for our brain “. Often close to us, it is difficult to detach from it.
Parents, it’s up to you!
For concentration, contrary to popular belief, parents have a role to play. Attention and concentration are things that can be learned. Young people must be helped to put strategies in place and parents must take an active role in this.
Keep mobile phones away
They are believed to be independent, but teens still need the help of parents. They are not yet able, when they are doped up with the smartphone, to remove it alone. Kids are getting addicted to their phones and it is becoming harder for them to not want to be looking at it all the time.
Organize your office and your bedroom
Mr. Miller believes that the place of learning should have the least possible external stimulation, and advise against, for example, keeping any form of reminders for your child around their work area that can easily distract them. “It’s important to create a space for your child to study where they have no distractions whatsoever.”
Set clear goals
Some youth experts suggest that school is the place that makes the link between learning and the professional future. Even if it puts pressure on the child, it gives meaning to what he or she is learning.
Mr. Miller advises to make a small card with the long, medium and short term objectives of the child: “I want to be …, for that, I have to do such school, to enter such school, I must go to such a preparation,” etc. By having a reminder of the goal on a card, it can help to keep your child motivated to study.
Accept that learning is not always fun
Some experts suggest that we must detach ourselves from the idea that learning is effortless. Otherwise, we will look at all costs for a strategy to learn effortlessly when it is impossible.
But the adult can also make the child touch the idea that if he suffers today, he will suffer less tomorrow and that learning makes it possible to automate, thus reducing the effort to come.
And if there are negative thoughts about studying, it is because there are parasitic emotions: anxiety (“I’m not going to get there ..”.), Fear of failure (“What will my parents think if I fail? “). Helping your teen to ask himself the question: “What is blocking me emotionally?” Is helping him to get rid of his negative emotions which will distract him from the task on which he must focus.
Some also think that they should understand immediately what they are taught: no, it is the slowness and the good assimilation which makes progress. Some students are embarrassed because they see the head of the class respond instantly. They did not see the work he did with his uncle the previous weekend!
Put things into perspective: learning is only behavior
Particularly anxious teens often say to themselves before starting a school assignment: “Am I going to do well?” And behind it is the idea that the mark awarded will be its value. We must decorate the academic result with self-image: a good mark does not mean, “you are intelligent”, a bad one, “you are stupid! ” It’s too risky!
The day the good student gets a bad grade, it is not just an accident that can happen due to lack of preparation, but it is a judgment on oneself. Hence the motivation collapses and the concentration with it. Hence the importance of praising the effort more than the result.
Help them gain confidence
A teenager aware of his or her potential allows them good concentration and good attention.
Mr. Miller believes that if we do not introduce displeasure into the life of a teenager, they will become fragile and vulnerable when obstacle arise. This happens often because many parents have taken the habit of protecting their children. They became taxi drivers, bankers, restaurateurs, or hoteliers from their offspring. So the teen does nothing at home. But if they do do not experience negative consequences, how can they accept frustration at homework?
In short, if you want to help your teen to learn, it is not important that you take an active role in helping them establish good habits, but you also must allow them to start experiencing some of the pain from their poor efforts.