Maintaining a Healthy Balance Between Academics and Self-Care
As parents, it can be challenging to ensure our middle and high school students strike a balance between academics and self-care. In this blog post, we will provide you with practical tips and guidance to help you maintain a healthy equilibrium for your children. By implementing these strategies, you can support your children in achieving academic success while also prioritizing their mental and physical health.
Why Maintaining a Healthy Balance is Important?
It is crucial to strike a balance between academics and self-care for our children's overall development. Focusing solely on academics can lead to burnout, stress, and compromised mental health. By maintaining this balance, we can ensure our children's long-term well-being and success.
Top 4 Tips for Parents of Middle and High School Students:
1. Nurturing Natural Aptitudes and Interests:
If your child’s academic performance is consistently mediocre, there may be an issue not directly stemming from a lack of effort, but from a deeper-rooted lack of reward and stimulation from the content of their academic work itself. Put simply, every individual has a natural set of interests and aptitudes towards certain subjects, skills and ways of thinking. Some are drawn to logical or mathematical modes of thought, others to linguistics and communication, yet others to the natural or the social sciences, and so on. Of course, there is always room for changing interests and for picking up new skills—but despite this, there is almost always a set of interests and talents that remain more or less constant in individuals. In students, these natural inclinations, barring impediments, are usually reflected in the subjects they excel at in school.
It is important to a student’s academic development that these interests and aptitudes be acknowledged and allowed to flourish. If your child is naturally gifted and interested in the social sciences, and in turn struggles with mathematics, you may want to consider encouraging them to pursue the subjects that they are invested in, like Sociology or Political Science, while sensitively urging them to attain competency in Maths without forcing it to be their primary pursuit. This is particularly important for students in high school, who must choose subject streams; encouraging your children to study what they are good at and passionate about, as opposed to simply picking the ‘safest’ options, allows them to merge their genuine interests with their work. This is paramount to their academic success and wellbeing.
2. Building Time-Management Skills
Another prime cause for poor academic performance is burnout. This may happen when your child is overworked and mentally exhausted. Often, particularly driven students may end up spending long hours studying for weeks on end to achieve their goals, and by the end of it are too drained to continue working, and this may result in a temporary lapse in their performance. Alternatively, students may be making attempts to implement a heavy study schedule without proper scheduling, and end up tiring themselves out without achieving their goals. Situations like these can be rectified by encouraging your child to manage their time more efficiently.
Studying efficiently will always involve ample amounts of rest time. To work at peak efficiency, students must have enough scheduled breaks and leisure time to keep their energy and mental health up. Encourage your child, when they sit down to plan their study schedule, to include pre-scheduled breaks during study sessions; instead of attempting to work for five hours straight, they may find that working for three, with fifteen-minute breaks at intervals, may help them achieve more work while decreasing the chance for exhaustion.
3. Encouraging Extracurriculars:
Extracurricular activities, anything from music and dance to sports and art, are an essential part of any student’s journey through school. They give students stimulating environments to pursue their non-academic passions and serve to build their artistic skills, and are thus seen as a key aspect of becoming a well-rounded individual.
During your child’s journey through school, having a strong base of extracurriculars is not only beneficial when it comes to having an attractive profile for college applications, but can also give them an outlet to release academic-induced stress. On a daily or weekly basis, having scheduled times to engage with extracurricular activities is a highly productive way for your child to take healthy breaks from their studies.
4. Healthy Communication:
Teenagers are notorious for their tendencies toward angst and poor communication—though, of course, this is a stereotype that is often overused and inaccurate. Nevertheless, in the equation between parents and teenage children, the responsibility for working towards building a habit of fruitful communication will often fall to the parent by default.
Facilitating effective communication is vital to keep in touch with your child’s mental and emotional state, and in turn for your child to be aware of what’s on your mind. The period in which a child goes through middle and high school are often some of the most tumultuous and formative years of their lives. Being suitably aware of your child’s struggles and being honest with them regarding your own concerns will allow you to discuss issues and solutions together, and go a long way in easing the academics-induced anxiety for you both.
Maintaining a healthy balance between academics, leisure and other interests is the key for your child to begin studying efficiently and reduce studies-related stress for them—but also for you!