10 Surprising Reasons Your Teenager Can’t Focus
Focus takes more than willpower.
Most students want to improve their focus. They want to reduce their homework time. They want to retain more information from their study sessions. They want to perform well on exams.
But many well-intentioned teens sabotage their focus without realizing it.
If your teen is struggling to stay on task, ask them to consider these potential focus-destroying factors and pick two to work on this week:
1. Studying at the dining room table
It’s hard to focus when family members are constantly passing by or starting conversations. A dedicated study space minimizes disruptions. Pick a quiet room or corner and create a welcoming atmosphere with comfortable furnishings, good lighting, and a few plants.
2. Tackling the easy subjects first
There’s no need to make hard subjects harder! Approach them with a fresh, energized mind and save the easy stuff for later. If math is your most difficult subject, work on that homework first before moving onto English or history.
3. Studying for hours without a break
Instead of pounding out a three-hour study session, take a break every 30 minutes. You will work through the material faster and retain more of it long term. The breaks don’t have to be long. A few minutes of listening to music or stretching is all it takes to reenergize the brain.
Slouching is as bad for your brain as it is for your back. At SuperCamp, we teach students to sit up and lean forward as part of our SLANT protocol. Good posture triggers the mind to be more alert.
5. Not asking questions in class
Instead of glazing over during lectures, ask the teacher questions and participate in discussions. This helps you engage with the material on a deeper level. (Plus, you will score brownie points with the teacher!)
6. Procrastinating until the last minute
Anxiety is the enemy of focus. Avoid feeling overwhelmed by planning study sessions in advance. For example, on Monday list all of your assignments for the week, and then decide when each one will be completed. Having a plan in place reduces procrastination.
7. Jumping right into writing assignments
Avoid writer’s block—and the distractions that come with it—with a quick brainstorming session. You will be less likely to drift off or get distracted if you have a clear plan.
8. Sitting in an uncomfortable chair
Nagging discomfort distracts even the most focused student. This is yet another reason to have a dedicated study space—one that accommodates an ergonomic office chair and desk set up.
9. Arriving late to class
It disrupts other students, it annoys the teachers, and it leaves the offender feeling flustered long after the class resumes. Arrive early and take a few moments to review your homework, especially on test days.
10. Thinking negatively
It’s hard to focus when negative thoughts are flying through our heads. This is doubly true when those negative thoughts are personal! Celebrate your abilities and accomplishments on a daily basis. As you become more confident, the self-criticism will fade away.
These are just a few of the strategies teens learn at SuperCamp to help them focus at school and at home. For more information about our academic summer camps, please call 800.228.5327. Ready to sign up? Call us or enroll online.