Many families with older teens will be having conversations about next school year. That may mean courses like the UK A levels, US Advanced Placement Courses, or the IB Diploma. Each of these pathways are “pre-university”. In other words, they are designed to get your teen into university or college.
Each of these pathways is different. However, the key to a successful start to the final two years of school often begins with how well teens have spent their holiday time before they start. But what does that mean in practical terms? What opportunities do the holidays offer for older teens?
Rest and Recharge. Our teens need to rest and recharge. This is incredibly important so that they are ready to start the final years of school. Many teens are still working out their optimal sleeping patterns so we need to be a bit flexible to accommodate their need for sleep during daylight hours! But resting and recharging are not just about sleep. Slowing down, knowing that it is ok to spend some time doing nothing, are both ways in which we recover after periods of stress.
Family, Friends & Fun. Holiday time is an important time for parents and caregivers to spend with our teens. Focus on planning activities that connect you to your teens. Eating together is often a great way to enjoy family time which isnt always possible during the school year. Ask them to choose a cafe, restaurant or food delivery option. Or (if you are brave!) maybe ask them to cook for the family once a week! This time may also include invaluable grandparent and extended family time. Our teens will also want to spend time with friends both face to face and remotely. This may include time with friends from previous schools around the world, especially for our mobile families. This is an incredibly important time for our teens to know that life is not all grind. Sadly, school can sometimes seem like it is, so the holidays need to redress the balance.
Get Some Experiences. The holiday provides stress-free time for conversations about what life after school may look like. This may be a time to gain some hands-on work experience, attend a face to face or virtual university and or career route course, university campus tour and or do some university research. It is amazing how often experiences gained in the summer before A levels or the IB feature in university applications!
School Readiness. It isn’t a contradiction to use a small part of the holiday to get ready for the new school year. Before the holidays it is worth finding out what academic preparation may help your teen get off to a good start when they return to school for their pre-university studies. In the final week of the holiday, our teens need to be getting back into their school sleep and exercise routines. Also, getting their study space and school supplies organised ready to go for a strong start on day one of school.
Each of our teens is special and unique. Try to avoid comparing your teens’ summer plans with their classmates. Work with your teen to plan a holiday that creates a healthy balance, meets their needs and supports them to be ready for the next stage in their education.
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