This post: 8 Tips to Help Your Teen Fight Senioritis and Finish the Year Strong
By Katy M. Clark
My teenage son (who happens to be a high school senior), has come down with a curious affliction this spring. His symptoms include increased indifference and frequent use of the snooze feature on his phone’s alarm clock.
My suspicion? He’s suffering from Senioritis, a common condition that strikes a lot of seventeen and eighteen-year-olds in the waning days of their senior year.
I get it. These kids have worked so hard for so long and they’ve all but checked out. Pile on the fact that they’ve had to endure in the midst of a global pandemic and it’s easy to see why Senioritis has a way of creeping up on even the most diligent, focused seniors.
In fact, I bet my son, like so many other seniors, wonders why these last few weeks and months even matter at all.
But, they do. In fact, they matter a lot.
Senioritis can have real consequences for teens. Students who are afflicted with even a moderate case might see their grades plummet, which could affect merit aid or even an offer for admission at colleges that require a final transcript. They might stop preparing and studying for AP exams, which means they may miss out on potential college credit, not to mention that they could lose out on overall learning and increase their odds of a challenging transition to college or the workforce after graduation.
How can seniors like my son finish the year strong? Check out these 8 tips to help your teen fight Senioritis, keep the momentum going and finish the year stronger than ever.
8 Tips to Help your Teen Fight Senioritis and Finish the Year Strong
#1 Keep the Good Routine Going
By the time teenagers reach their senior year of high school, they’ve put in years of effort to get where they are. Now is not the time for them to throw in the towel and check out. The bottom line is, teens should keep their good routine going. Go to classes (virtual or in-person), keep up with homework assignments, and attend activities such as club meetings and team practices. Try to maintain a good sleep routine, too. Staying busy with day-to-day activities, staying focused and getting enough sleep can do a world of good and help them avoid the desire to check out.
#2 Stay Organized
It’s all too easy to throw caution to the wind and slack off during these last few months of senior year. But, it won’t do our seniors any good in the long run. It’s important they keep track of test dates, homework assignment due dates, meetings with their guidance counselor, and other events including cap and gown fittings as they move toward graduation. Encourage them to use a planner, whether in hard copy form or through an app on their phone, to log deadlines and other important events.
Remember, too, that your child has a ton going on both in their life and in their mind right now, so you may have to offer a few gentle reminders and nudges along the way to help them stay on track.
#3 Celebrate and Enjoy this Special Time
Yup, having fun is a reward for hard work. Plus, a good shot of fun can motivate your teen to stay the course and finish strong.
After all, life shouldn’t always be serious, right? Give your senior something to look forward to. Maybe they can attend prom (some schools are offering modified prom celebrations) or host one last epic, COVID-safe get together with friends. Or, try planning a special family event, such as a weekend road trip or decadent dinner from your teen’s favorite restaurant to enjoy in person or at home.
#4 Focus on Finalizing College, Trade School or Career Plans
Focusing on the future will not only help your child prepare for the next phase of their life, but it can also help them power through the sluggishness that accompanies Senioritis.
Most colleges require a decision on attendance (as well as a deposit) by May 1. And once your teen has decided which place of higher learning will be their new home, they will need to select housing, browse orientation dates, and contact an advisor for guidance on choosing freshman classes. For college-bound teens as well as those going to trade school or starting their careers, the simple act of focusing on their future plans, called future-oriented thinking, has been shown by psychologists to predict better behavior in the present as well as increased success with future plans.
#5 Rest and Recharge
Senior year can present an exhaustive pace of academic requirements (final exams stress out most teens) and end-of-year events, which means some teens might be suffering from Senioritis that stems simply from being tired. Making time for themselves and partaking in a healthy dose of self-care can make all the difference in the world. Things like reading, journaling, having a mini Netflix marathon (with a big bowl of popcorn, of course) or jumping into creative activities like painting or DIY projects will help your teen hit the reset button. Even taking half an hour a day to relax and unwind can leave them feeling far more refreshed and energized.
#6 Fight Apathy By Staying Healthy and Active
Help your teen fight Senioritis and the sluggishness that so often accompanies it by staying active and exercising, which releases endorphins and boosts energy. Eating healthily can make a big difference in how they feel, too. (Anyway, they might as well enjoy the mound of readily available food in the fridge while they can!)
Even small changes to their physical activity and food choices can make a positive difference in how they feel and combat apathy.
#7 Reach Out to Someone Who “Gets It”
Some teens may be feeling the effects of Senioritis and not realize that they’re definitely not alone. Talking with their guidance counselor – someone who has witnessed the effects of the senior slide time and time again – can help your teen get back on track. Or, encourage them to talk it over with a best friend, favorite teacher, coach, or you (ahem!). Having someone they can confide in might be just what they need to help them plug back in.
#8 Surround Your Teen with Love
For most parents, graduation season brings with it a wave of change that they may not be fully prepared for. Use this time to shower your senior with a little extra love and attention. Spoil them with small gifts like gas cards or comfy socks or go out of your way to make their life a little easier by doing things like making their bed or preparing their favorite breakfast, (even though you know they are fully capable of doing those things themselves).
You may not be able to stop staring at them with affection or avoid the longing feeling of wanting to hold onto them with a vice grip, but what you can do is soak up this special time together before life changes. And, the true benefit is that your teen will notice (and appreciate) your love and the sense of security and specialness that comes with it.
If your teen can conquer Senioritis and stay engaged during the final weeks and months of senior year, they’ll be one step closer to achieving their goals and dreams for the future, whether that includes college, trade school, the military or a new job.
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