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How to Give Your Kids a Leg Up During Senior Year
Senior year is truly a special time for your teens; a mixture of a “last hurrah” and excited preparations for their future. Despite all the fun, the last year of high school also comes with some unexpected stressors — and your kids will be looking to you to help them through whatever trials they may face. Here are a few ways you can guide them through the uncharted waters of senior year.
Limit After School Commitments
While extracurriculars look fantastic on college applications, they won’t cancel out a rock bottom GPA. School administrators don’t care how well your child played football, how many debates they won, or how loud the applause was at their last play. The only factor that has any bearing on whether or not they graduate high school is their grades.
Your teen needs time to focus on homework and study for tests. In order to give them a window in which to work, after school activities should be kept to a minimum. However, that doesn’t mean they should be cut out altogether. Let your child choose one or two extracurricular activities that they truly enjoy — activities that relieve stress rather than creating it.
As long as they’re happy, healthy, and have opportunities for uninterrupted focus on schoolwork, a couple of extracurriculars will give them a much-needed break in which they can socialize and blow off steam.
Homework, book assignments, group projects, senior papers, pop-quizzes, midterms, finals, and of course, the dreaded ACTs — this is just a taste of what your child will face during their senior year of high school. It’s a lot of pressure, especially for teenagers. If they have advanced classes, that pressure only increases.
If your teen is struggling with certain classes, or has a teacher who simply doesn’t have time to work with them, it might be helpful to hire a tutor. Tutors that come to your home and work with your child’s busy schedule are the best option, as it offers a comfortable learning environment and doesn’t require dropping any extracurricular activities. Try Philadelphia tutoring.
Teach Them How to Deal with Stress
Stress is inevitable, but it doesn’t have to stop your child from enjoying life. The pressures of school, work, and relationships are bound to get to your teen now and again, so it’s important to teach them how to deal with stress constructively. Meditation, mindfulness, deep breathing, reading, hobbies, and exercise are all ways they can release tension and worry, and relieve anxiety. Encourage them to talk to friends, mentors, or you when they need someone to vent frustrations to. Create a safe space, free of judgement or ridicule so that they always feel comfortable coming to you with their problems
Look to the Future
A large part of senior year is preparing for what comes after high school — whether that be college, vocational school, or work.
If your child plans on going to college or a vocational school, they will need to set aside a decent amount of their time to write scholarship essays, fill out applications, and visit schools. You can help them along this path by making sure they have time on the weekends free of other demands. Taking trips to schools is a great way to spend time together before your child moves away from home.
If your teen plans on entering the workforce, take time to walk them through job applications, carry out mock interviews, and talk to them about what kind of behavior companies expect from employees. Knowing how to carry themselves in the modern workplace will take them a long way.
Let Them Be Kids
Despite the fact that they’re starting to look, sound, and sometimes act like adults, teen’s still need time to be teens. With adulthood approaching fast, senior year is your child’s last shot at being reckless, rowdy, and just plain silly. Let them enjoy school dances and events, go to parties, spend evenings with friends, and do all the other things that teenagers love to do. You don’t have let them off their leash entirely, but a little more freedom is well deserved.
Senior year is bittersweet. Watching your teen make the transition from child to adult can be both wonderful and heartbreaking. Regardless of any protestations, they still need (and begrudgingly appreciate) your support, so make sure you’re there to guide them when need be. And don’t forget to hug them close every chance you get.