Boy on phone

This can help if:

  • you're worried about your teenager concentrating on school work
  • your teenager is heading into an exam period
  • your teenager gets distracted easily

Make a distraction action plan with your teen

If you or your teenager are struggling to manage all of 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 up their energy and ability to concentrate, 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 them. In their non-study time, they can go for it and catch up on social media.

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 everyone eats together. Encourage everyone to play a role in making it happen.

Create a space they can concentrate on
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. If you have other kids, ask them to keep the noise down so their sibling doesn't get distracted. 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 and snacks
Being hungry makes it hard to concentrate and energy levels drop, so encourage them to eat proper meals and healthy energy snacks, like 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.

Exams, expectations and study loads can lead to your teenager being stressed and easily distracted. Trying even a few of these tips can help you support them to manage distractions and study more efficiently, which reduces their overall stress and improves their wellbeing. If they’re interested in reading a bit more about studying hacks, you can also share these time-management tricks with them.

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