Adolescence is arguably a very tough time for kids. They are growing at rapid rates and their socially-prioritizing brains and emotions are up and down constantly. This is the time when we should be helping them to cultivate good habits: how to take care of themselves, how to treat others with kindness and empathy, and how to be able to focus on things when they are important. Digital smart devices are posing a grave challenge for us in this – while they can serve as a wonderful creative outlet for kids, if we don’t help them to understand how to use them properly and in a healthy way, they can also be a rabbit hole of distraction, or worse.
Homework time at home is likely not a favorite–for anyone in your family. There might be a nightly argument over how much screen time is necessary in order to get work done. There might be constant negotiations about whether or not the phone should be on the table, or even in the same room. The fact is, research has shown that even the mere presence of a phone or device can create a huge distraction – even for adults. Adolescent brains, however, are prioritizing their social interactions over anything else happening in their life. Which means if they see the light go off, hear the phone ping or vibrate, it will take every last drop of their willpower to leave it be until their assignment is done. In other words, that text message/Instagram like/Snap Chat post is taking priority over the math homework. Everytime.
Here a few tips to help your teen prioritize (read: to help keep you sane!):
- Reach out to others! Ask teachers how much screen time they expect the kids to have for assignments so you have a better idea of how to help your teen structure their time.
- Make a plan with your teen: ex. half hour of work, 5 minutes of phone time, repeat until HW is done
- Plan an “unplugged” time for everyone in the family with a place to deposit phones. This sends the message that everyone benefits from face-to-face connection time or quiet reading and studying
These are just a few simple tips that you can use to make homework time a little less stressful. Reach out to us at AIMEd to work with your adolescent or to set up a Parent Ed session at your school!