Helping Teens Struggling in School

Helping Teens Struggling in School

How to help teens struggling in school

When I was teaching, the hardest month of the year was always October. From the outside looking in you may be thinking “the school year is just getting started” or “the spring has a lot more stressful things,” but I can promise you, October was always rough for everyone, especially for teens struggling in school. I called it the October Slump. As the initial back-to-school enthusiasm wears off, many students find it difficult to stay on top of their academic responsibilities.

Keep reading for a list of common reasons for this slump and practical strategies to help teenagers overcome it.

1. Academic Overload

Teens often face an increasing academic workload in October, leading to stress and feeling overwhelmed.

Solution: Encourage your teen to create a realistic study schedule, prioritize tasks, and break them into manageable chunks to reduce stress.

2. Lack of Motivation

The initial excitement of the school year can wane, causing a drop in motivation.

Solution: Help your teen set specific goals for October, fostering a sense of purpose and achievement to reignite their motivation.

3. Social Distractions

As the school year progresses, social engagements can distract teens from their studies.

Solution: Encourage your teen to balance social life and academics through effective time management and prioritization.

4. Seasonal Changes

The transition from summer to fall can impact teens’ energy levels and moods.

Solution: Promote physical activity, outdoor time, and a healthy sleep schedule to combat seasonal changes’ effects.

5. Encourage Self-Care

Teach your teen the importance of physical, mental, and emotional well-being.

Solution: Share self-care strategies and practice them together to strengthen your bond and provide valuable life skills.

In our summer podcast (listen here), we discussed how these issues can sometimes be mistaken for laziness. Open communication is essential for helping your teen during these moments.
Here are some questions to ask:
  • Is their work appropriately challenging?
  • Where can I help them find control in their life?
  • Are my teen’s needs being met?
  • Is their body going through changes?
The October Slump is a common challenge, but remember that each teenager is unique. With patience, understanding, and guidance, you can help your teen overcome this hurdle and achieve academic success. Be prepared for the month ahead and empower your teen to thrive academically.
Tobin Hodges

Tobin Hodges

Program Director

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5 Areas of Focus for Social Distancing

5 Areas of Focus for Social Distancing

 Listen & Subscribe



What can help protect the mental health of teens while social distancing?

Here we are…still social distancing! In this podcast episode, Chris and Karlie discuss 5 different areas of focus that can help shape this unique time of social distancing.

They will talk about the importance of…

    • Physical movement
    • Mindful moments
    • Self-care
    • Tech breaks
    • Generosity

It is so vital that you take care of yourself and encourage teenagers to do the same. We might have to change our expectations, and that is OKAY. But let’s make the best of this time of social distancing due to COVID-19! While we hope that life can return to “normal” soon, we want to continue to equip teenagers to grow, learn, and thrive today while also maintaining hope for the future.


Ask a Teen

What is something good in your life right now?


In this interview, we mentioned the following resources:

About Us

Chris Robey

Chris Robey


Karlie Duke

Karlie Duke

Director of Communications

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Teen Mental Health Update
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