My teenage son has come down with a curious affliction. His symptoms include increased indifference and frequent use of the snooze feature on his phone’s alarm clock. I believe he is suffering from senioritis, a common condition that strikes most 17-and 18-year-olds in the waning days of their senior year. I bet my son, like so many seniors, wonders what these last few weeks and months matter anyway.

However, senioritis can have real consequences for teens. They might see their grades plummet, which could affect merit aid or even an offer for admission at colleges that require a final transcript. Teens might stop preparing as well as they could for AP exams, which means they miss out on potential college credit. Not to mention that seniors could lose out on overall learning and increase their odds of a challenging transition to college or the workforce after graduation. 

So how can seniors finish the year strong? Check out these eight ways that they can conquer senioritis:

1. Maintain a routine. Teens should keep doing what they have been doing all year. Go to classes and attend activities such as club meetings, team practices, and church or temple. Try to maintain a good sleep routine, too. Staying busy with day-to-day activities and getting enough sleep will combat the desire to check out.  

2. Stay organized. It is important for your senior to keep track of test dates, meetings with a guidance counselor, and other events, such as cap and gown fittings, as they move towards 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. This practice will have benefits in the future, too, as they attend college or start a new job.

3. Celebrate and enjoy this special time. Yup, having fun is a reward for hard work, provides something to look forward to, and can motivate teens to stay the course and finish strong. After all, life is not always serious. Maybe your senior can attend prom or host one last epic get-together with friends. Or you could plan a special family event, such as a weekend road trip or a 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. 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 school and year-end events, and some teens might be suffering from senioritis that stems from just being tired. Making time for self-care, such as journaling or creative activities like painting, will help your teen hit the reset button. Even as little time as a half hour or an hour a day to relax and unwind can leave them feeling refreshed. 

6. Stay physically healthy. Have your teen battle sluggishness with exercise, which releases endorphins and boosts energy. They can practice making healthy, fresh meals, too, especially since they are still under your roof and you’re footing the bill! Your teen will notice a positive difference in how they feel after eating well and will also gain confidence in this life skill.

7. Talk to someone. Some teens may realize that they are checking out and suffering from senioritis. Talking with their guidance counselor, who has witnessed the effects of the Senior Slide time and time again, can help your teen get back on track. Or there may be a best friend, favorite teacher, coach, or parent (ahem!) your teen can confide in to help them plug back in.

8. Finally, surround your teen with love. That could mean you spoil them with small gifts like gas cards or comfy socks, or that you perform little actions like making their bed or their favorite breakfast, even though you know they are fully capable of doing those things themselves. Teens will notice your love and the sense of security and specialness it generates. This will no doubt buoy them as graduation approaches.

Remember, if your teen can conquer senioritis and stay engaged during the final weeks of senior year, then they will 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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