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OSU Extension

College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences

January 23, 2015 - 1:44pm --

Hopefully all teens have gotten back into school mode now that they have been back in school for almost a month after their winter break.  As a parent, it has been a challenge to get my own kids back on a good study pattern.  Most parents today have busy work schedules loaded with many daily tasks to complete.  Some parents even bring work home with them.  Our teens have lots of sporting activities afterschool and they seem to be challenged with how to complete their homework.  Some of our teens catch the bus as early as 6:30 am.  At the end of the day both parents and teens are simply worn out.  After families have dinner it is time to get our teens focused on studying.  I hope the four tips in this article will guide your teens to better study habits that make them smarter.  

1.      How they approach studying matters  -  Too many teens look at studying as a necessary task, not an enjoyment or an opportunity to learn.  Researchers have found that how teens approach something matters almost as much as what they do.  Teens should be in the right mindset in order to study smarter. 

Here are some ways kids can improve their study mindset:

Aim to think positively when you study - and remind yourself of your skills and abilities

Avoid catastrophic thinking – Instead of thinking, “I’m a mess; I’ll never have enough time to study for this exam,” look at it like, “I may be a little late to study as much as I’d like, but since I’m doing it now, I’ll get most of it done.”

* Avoid absolute thinking – “I always mess things up.”  The more objective view is, “I didn’t do so well that time, what can I do to improve?”

Avoid comparing yourself with others – because you usually just end up feeling bad about yourself.

2.     Where you study is important  -  When it comes to selecting the best area of the house to study, here are some things to consider as it relates to hearing, sight, touch, taste, and smell.

*  How important is hearing, you might wonder?  Our teens love to listen to their music all the time.  Teens need to consider the level of noise that they can tolerate when studying.  Some teens work best in total silence or with low to moderate noise level, and others can listen to a jack hammer right outside their window. 

*  Sight is also important because in many cases today, our teens are using a laptop or tablet to study.  Adequate lighting is a must and direction and intensity of the lighting are important factors.  Poor lighting is a chief cause of eyestrain and headaches and improper lighting can also lead to fatigue.  Coverage of study materials should be even with no shadows or glare.  Shielded full-spectrum fluorescents may cause you to be calmer, steadier, and less easily distracted. 

*  The sense of touch is related to how comfortable our teens are when studying.  Their environments should be comfortable but not too comfortable. 

* Taste and smell are also senses teens must consider when studying.  The aromas from the kitchen can be a distraction when studying before dinner. 

Such distractions, though pleasant, may interfere with concentration.  A move to another area might allow for more efficient use of time.

3.      Teens need to have everything for study  -  If your teens are using their computer, please make sure you set limitations on website usage.  Teens today enjoy using all the social media outlets, but they should only be allowed to do this after they have completed a good study session and completed their homework.  Checking out facebook during study time or checking the latest college hoops scores this time of year is simply not wise use of their time.  Study time is for completing homework in a timely manner.  In order to use their study time wisely, they need to have paper, pens, pencils and their backpack in their study area.  And finally, parents should periodically check on their teens to ensure study time is being used appropriately.

4.     Rewards for their study efforts  -  After parents have ensured their teens have completed a great study session, it is only fair to reward them for a job well done.  These rewards might include 15 minutes on their computer, texting their friends, watching television, or simply enjoying a healthy snack, like a peanut butter and jelly sandwich.  And let’s not forget the glass of cold milk.  We need to make sure to keep up their strength so they can be prepared for cleaning the driveway and sidewalks the next time we get a couple of inches of snow.

I hope this list of tips will help your teens to have a great school year and just maybe they will pick up some extra hardware at the end of the school year at their awards program. 

Good luck parents and as always, GO BUCKEYES!

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News Release provided by Kevin Harris.