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Getting Your Teen’s Second Semester off to a Great Start
Home » Parenting Advice » Getting Your Teen’s Second Semester off to a Great Start

by Tanya Martin, DirectorSpecial Education and Transition Services at Boys Town

tags: Back-to-School, curfew, Discipline, Homework, teen

Getting Your Teen’s Second Semester off to a Great Start

This post first appeared on

After a long Christmas break, high schoolers are heading back to the classroom. Second semester is an opportunity to make resolutions and start fresh. There are many ways you can help your child to do well and make adjustments that come with starting a new semester.


  • Teens might be involved in daily sports practices, music or theater rehearsals, and any number of other extracurricular activities, and social requirements. It’s sometimes easy for homework to get lost in the shuffle, which is why routines are so important. They need to know, for instance, that when they get home from school or practice, they can have a snack and take a short break, and that their next priorities are homework, chores, and other responsibilities.
  • Set mutual expectations by talking with your senior about curfew, jobs, academics, graduation celebrations and activities. Allow extra freedom whenever possible to help with the transition into independence.
  • It’s also important for you and your teen to assess his or her schedule as a whole. It’s very easy for teens to say “Yes” to a lot of activities and then suddenly find that they’re overextended. If they’re doing their homework in the car on the way to school, they’ve got too much on their plate and something’s got to give.
  • Consistently and frequently encourage and guide your teen with their school work
  • Show your child you value education by setting aside time to talk about homework and what’s happening in the classroom.
  • Praise and reward your child for school successes (good grades on tests and homework assignments, good behavior in class).
  • Don’t protect your child from negative consequences that result from failing to complete homework or not studying for tests. Making mistakes is a major way children learn how to cope successfully with the demands of school and life. Provide assistance and support when things aren’t going well for your child.


  • To fuel  your child’s natural interest and curiosity, celebrate learning. Ask questions, exchange ideas and allow your teen to arrive at their own conclusions.
  • Create  a home environment that is rich in books, educational games, movies and projects that challenge your kids. Above all, let your child see how much you enjoy learning challenges and activities.