How can I help my teen balance activities and school work?
Real Mom Problem
“This is the first year that my teen's grades have been good enough for him to be consistently involved in any activities.”
- 1. Help your teen prioritize among his school work and chosen activities
- 2. Many moms believe extracurricular activities help teens stay busy and engaged, and lets them make new friends
- 3. Some moms say schedules help teens fit everything in, including time to just relax
Real Mom Solutions
Some moms think it's best to limit extracurricular activities to make sure their kids get their schoolwork done, while others don't restrict activities. Read their opinions to help you decide what's best for your teen.
Some Moms Limit Activities
My kids have always been very active. In our family it's: 1) School 2) Sports 3) Extracurricular Activities. They can't do everything if they have an academic load at school. My daughter cut out choir for that reason. Colleges aren't going to give a darn about extra-curriculars if their grades are less than satisfactory. It's all a balance.
You should limit him to a couple of things. He may think he can do it all on his own but even if he does he may go through a lot of stress to get things done.
I would limit the number of activities that he can be in. Sit down with him and go over all his activities and have him prioritize the list. Then let him choose, say, three activities per semester of school. He can do more in the summer if he wants. If his grades fall then he loses an activity.
School is first, activities are secondary. You've got to cut something.
Other Moms Don't Have Restrictions
As long as my kids want to participate in extracurricular sports and activities, I will encourage them. We set money aside year-round to be able to pay for these activities for them. It keeps them out of trouble, they get to make friends they may not ordinarily make, and they enjoy it!
I don't limit my kids at all. High school is all about experiencing as much as you can to learn who you are and what you enjoy. I just tell them my expectations and leave it up to them to get the job done. It's worked for all four of mine.
Activities keep them busy and out of trouble. It gives them something to be proud of and something to work at. It makes them a part of a team and they learn that their actions affect the rest of the team. I'm a big support of sports for kids!
These Moms Believe in Schedules
Make a schedule. That's what we do. I don't think my kids get enough down time and I have tried to change that but they like it this way. They love to be on the go. We put family above everything in our home, so that includes nightly or morning time to help around the house, and dinner as a family every night. Then school work and sports, music, etc. I have my kids practice each day. If I think they are not giving it 100% I don't pay for the next lesson or event.
We had our son draw up an hourly schedule for each day of the week. We had him schedule in chill time, homework time, chores, etc. In the beginning he stuck to it pretty rigidly but as he got better and more aware of the time he needed for each activity, he became more flexible. One thing I have learned from my education as a teacher is that high school students need a break from school work at least every 40 minutes, so my son would include these breaks in his schedule. He would take a twenty minute break to chill or go for a walk or something else to relax.
I suggest making a schedule, whether it's an agenda/day planner or another system; anything that works for him. I think it's a good start to learn how to balance everything. Our high school guidance counselor has a great "time management" worksheet that she uses with students, mostly when students say they have no time to get their homework done. I think it's a great tool.