Boy on phone

This can help if you:

  • are worried that your teenager gets distracted easily
  • want to help your teenager study more efficiently
  • want to help minimise distractions in the home.

Make a distraction action plan

If you or your teenager are struggling to manage all the social media, gaming and other study distractions they have to deal with every day, here’s some ideas of how you can help them help themselves:

  • Set time aside for fun. They may already have a study plan, but encourage them to have a fun plan too. If they have time set aside for relaxing, social media, gaming etc, they can put thoughts of it aside while they work, knowing there’s time for doing that built in.
  • Work in 20 minute chunks. Suggest they work in chunks of time up to 20 minutes followed by a few minutes to get a drink, get up and stretch, walk around. This keeps their energy and ability to concentrate up, and makes study feel more manageable.
  • Block screen alerts. If they’re working on a tablet or computer that is linked to their messages or social media, encourage them to block the alerts. When they’re concentrating, there’s nothing like a message alert pinging up to distract you. Then they can go for it and catch up on social media in their non-study time
  • Agree on ‘no phone’ zones. Have a conversation about areas of the house that can become temporary phone-free-zones, such as where they study and where you all eat. Encourage everyone to play a role in making it happen.
  • Create a space they can concentrate in. Try and create a quiet space for them to study in. Keep the TV down, maybe record their favourite shows to watch together in a break. Some people work best with silence, others with a hum of background noise, or music. See what works for them.
  • Don’t interrupt. While they‘re studying don’t let anyone disturb them, leave it until they have a break. Did you know it takes most people around 20 minutes to get back on track with study after an interruption?
  • Ensure they get enough sleep. Lack of sleep makes you lose focus, so it’s easier to procrastinate or get distracted. Here’s how you can help them get better sleep.
  • Eat healthy, regular meals & snacks. Being hungry makes it hard to concentrate and energy levels drop, so encourage them to eat proper meals and healthy energy snacks likes nuts. Help them out by using these handy tips when cooking them food.
  • Cut the caffeine. Encourage them to drink lots of tap water; being hydrated will help them concentrate. Try to limit how much caffeine or sugary drinks they have; too much could make them feel irritable, anxious and unable to concentrate. Herbal teas are a good calming substitute.

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