Teen sitting down with their friends and studying.

Getting into the Study Spirit: How to Motivate Teens to Study

For teens, every new school year can feel like a struggle to get motivated. The summer fun winds down and it is time to get back into the flow of being back at school. With more extracurriculars than ever, part time jobs, college applications, and busy social lives, sometimes the last thing teens want to do is study. High school can be a challenging time with so many objectives to meet. A good way to support your teen is to offer additional resources around emotional wellness, which will organically promote motivation, optimism, and positivity all around. To help, we have compiled a guide with some of our favorite tips for inspiring teens’ studying. Let’s hit the books!

Encourage Curiosity

School can often get a bad rap with teens for being “boring.” But inside every teen (sometimes very deep) there is an innate curiosity for something. It might be art, music, technology, or the environment. Keep in mind what they choose to engage in in their free time. Even if it seems unrelated to their courses, there are ways to find the links between things like music and math or political science and activism! Finding these connections can be really helpful so that young people can focus on their interests and let it guide them towards developing an enjoyment for their studies. 

To start, try offering to help your teen develop a schedule with subjects that truly interest them. Go through the course offerings together and build a schedule that your teen can look forward to. If their school does not offer classes in subjects that your teen is curious about, consider helping them take courses online or at a local community college to boost not only their college applications and resumes but also their motivation to study as they consider finding their passions for the future.

Make It Fun

The fact of the matter is, studying should be fun! But let’s face it, sometimes it just isn’t. The trick to inciting motivation in teens is helping them find ways to make it exciting. If your teen is particularly social, encourage them to start a study group. If they like to do things on their own, help them think up entertaining ways to study that work for them. 

Maybe your teen would be captivated by listening to language podcasts or playing educational games? If you have a creative teen, invite them to get artsy with their notes or to try listening to music to center their focus while they practice math problems. If your teen just wants to get it over with, help them create a reward system for themselves where they get to look forward to checking off their homework to do list. Maybe they want to watch an episode of their favorite show after each assignment they complete or play sports with friends after a long day of studying. Whatever makes your teen excited, find a way to combine it with their studies to make schoolwork seem more spectacular.

Prioritize Health

Healthy teens are happy teens! Check in with your teen on how they are keeping up with good habits that could be impacting their motivation to study. Are they eating properly and exercising enough so that they have the energy and drive to take part in school too? Just as important, sleep is essential to physical and mental health; and yet, teens seldom get enough. Adequate rest is crucial to energy and motivation, not to mention it boosts memory and overall well-being. 

Help your teen prioritize their health by ensuring they are taking care of their bodies and minds first. If your teen struggles with eating properly, exercising, or sleeping, offer to make a routine and schedule for meals, moving, and bedtimes that works for the whole family. As they try to study, remind them that breaks are essential. Encourage your teen to schedule those breaks into their study sessions at appropriate intervals so that they are more willing to get started and feel less stressed while they work.

Listen to Concerns

Check in with your teen about how they are doing in school and how they feel about studying. While teens might sometimes opt for excuses, it is absolutely crucial that the trusted adults in their lives listen to how they feel. Even the excuses can have an important reason or a call for help behind them. So, be sure to ask questions about their motivation to study, listen with open ears, and be ready to help offer solutions.

Sometimes it’s too hard to get motivated because challenges too great are standing in their way. Ask your teen about how they feel their mental health is faring. Check in regularly on their progress feeling uplifted, motivated, and happy. If you or your teen are concerned about their state of mind, don’t hesitate to offer to help match them up with the appropriate teen mental health resources.

At Tilly’s Life Center, we believe that actively supporting motivation for teens is a powerful force in helping them achieve their goals and live happy, fulfilling lives. Teens studying is crucial to their intellectual and emotional welfare. Yet difficult emotions and challenging circumstances can often stand in the way of their ability to live up to their academic potential. Our mission is to help every teen deal with those difficulties, with mental health resources that encourage motivation, healthy coping, resilience, positivity and more. To learn more about our Social Emotional Learning curriculum, visit us at www.tillyslifecenter.org.