Your Tweens and Teenagers Need a Mid-Year Plan Now! Parenting Advice for Awesome Moms

It’s mid-year in the school year. Whether your kids are rocking the school year, or getting ready to give up, it’s time to take a look at how they’re going to handle the second half of the year.

Even successful students need to revisit how the year is going to go. They have a much better chance at continued success if they take a look at what’s working, what isn’t, and what they can do to purposefully strive.

An Awesome Mom’s Question

Dear Deborah,

Last year my junior did really well first and second quarter, but after the winter break, everything seemed to go downhill. It was like he got burnt out. He went back this year all motivated again, but it looks like he’s lost his momentum after the break again. I need some ideas how to get him back on track.

Advice for Awesome Moms About
Dealing with the Mid-Year School Slump

After the holiday break, many kids return to school in a slump. That extended period of irregular eating and sleeping, resulting from frantic holiday households, throws everyone off.

Besides, once school restarts, what are the students returning to? Report cards and mid-year exams, that’s what. No wonder they feel overwhelmed.

The bad news is this is an all too common scenario. However, the good news is, also, that this is a common scenario… so you can anticipate it and plan for it. First and foremost,

It’s Not Too Late to Turn the School Year Around!

One of my favorite sayings is:

“If you want tomorrow to be different, you have to do something different today.”

It’s so true (you might want to tell your kids to make it their mantra). If you’re not sure where to start, check out my blog for posts like, How to Help Struggling Students, or, Conversation Starters for Awesome Moms

Time for a Mid-Year Plan!

If you have high schoolers or middle schoolers, this would be a good time to take a look at the first two marking periods, evaluate and assess their progress, and make some Fresh Start Resolutions.

Start by connecting with the teacher to find out where the focus should be at this point in the school year.

  • Help your student make two small specific goals (see below) whose outcome can be measured. These goals must be realistic for the what’s-left-of-the-school-year time frame. 
  • Cook up an appropriate reward for achieving the goals.  
  • Schedule weekly check-ins to make sure they’re on track, creating short-term accountability with long-term benefits.

And… BOOM! You’ve got yourself a plan!

S.M.A.R.T. Goals for Fresh Start Resolutions

What people usually do for resolutions:

Weak Wish: “I want to do better in math.”

What people should do for lifestyle changes:

Make S.M.A.R.T. Goals

S = Make it Specific
“I will have a B or better in math on the next report card.”  

M = Make it Measurable  

“I’m going to re-do math tests until I understand enough to score a B or better.”

A =  Make it Accountable
“I will check-in with my folks every Friday to make sure all math assignments from that week are done.”  

R =  Make it Remind-able
“I’ll post reminders on my fridge and the bathroom mirror to remind me to get my math done before other stuff.” 

T =  Make it Timely 
“I’m going to meet with my math teacher after school every week until report cards come out.”


Here are all those tasks, assembled into one lovely, effective S.M.A.R.T. Goal:

I will have a B or better in math on the next report card. I’ll re-do math assignments and tests until I understand enough to score a B or better. I’m going to meet with my math teacher after school every week until report cards come out. I’ll post reminders on my fridge and the bathroom mirror to get my math done before other stuff. I’ll also check-in with my folks every Friday to make sure all math assignments from that week are done.

That’s a far cry from a Weak Wish like, “I want to do better in math.”

How Mothers Can Emotionally Support Struggling Students

Have you ever woken up one day and realized that you haven’t been following through with a promise or resolution you made to yourself? It’s a negative, disappointed feeling. How would you like to help your child avoid that feeling by encouraging consistency?

It’s quite simple, really. Become a team. All you have to do is create your own S.M.A.R.T. Goal, and then the two of you can work on succeeding together.

Schedule weekly check-ins with your teens for the next six weeks. Your kids will be accountable to you, and you will be accountable to your cherubs. It will give you a chance to measure and applaud your progress, plus, you’ll be modeling the habit of consistency you wish for them.

If either of you falls short of your goal at a check-ins, FORGIVE YOURSELVES. You are still ahead of the game because, minimally, you’re still thinking about the changes your goal will bring about. Simply renew your goals, and continue on… no big deal. Brainstorm how to make your goal stick during this next week.

Now, it’s your turn. Share a goal with your teen you would like to achieve by June. That makes you accountable, too. Come up with an appropriate reward for your achievement. Then create another reward the two of you can share when you both reach your goals. That’s Teamwork!

Failing Is Not the End… It’s the Middle

Most likely, if you haven’t attempted this goal before, your estimate of what it will take to achieve it might be a little off. That’s okay! Falling short of your goal is a great Teachable Moment.

Adjusting what you’re doing to more realistically reach your goal is part of the process. Plus, you’ll be teaching your kids the power of perseverance.

Mistakes and setback, as negative as they may feel, are part of your journey toward your goal. They don’t destroy you, especially if you take the opportunity to learn from them. (What got me off track? What needs to be adjusted to reach my goal? How can I turn this to my advantage?)

Skip the guilt. It’s a complete waste of time, and the dreaded destroyer of energy and motivation. Succumbing to guilt models a terrible burden you don’t want for your kids.

Besides, working through stumbling blocks puts you and your children on the same side as you attempt to create positive changes in your lives. Yes, working on your goals, and helping your teenagers work on theirs, will be time-consuming, but it will be well worth it in the end. After all, we’re really looking at a lifestyle change here, aren’t we? 

Now it’s your turn… What S.M.A.R.T. Goal do you want to achieve for June?

That should get the conversation flowing! Positive conversations make your kids feel closer to you, and more comfortable around you. In turn, those simple moments make them feel supported, and you know perfectly well that when you feel supported, you’re more resilient. That ability to bounce back is what’s going to help your kids thrive. The best part is, it will help you, too.

You got this, Mom!

Have fun with your kids today!



PS You can also find a lot more parenting strategies in my book How To Keep Your Daughter From Slamming the Door, plus tons of novel activity ideas you can try with your kids. Have fun parenting!

Have questions? Contact Deborah today.

About the Author

Are you overwhelmed or frustrated with your role as a parent? Deborah Ann Davis (B.S. in Science Education, M.Ed. in Supervision, and W.I.T.S Personal Trainer Certified) is a parenting coach and strategist who works with individuals and organizations. An animated speaker, Deborah inspires, enlightens, and energizes her audiences with actionable strategies which can be implemented immediately.

Schedule a conversation with Deborah today

Whether you’re looking to bring more positivity into your group, or you’re ready to up the strategies in your Parenting Toolkit, she’s eager to help you put happiness back into your parenting.

Deborah has decades of experience dealing with teenagers – as a mother, and as an educator. Over the years, she has helped hundreds of families, using her expertise.

Learn how to improve your mother-daughter relationship today. Every minute you delay prolongs the isolation your child feels while disconnected from you. She’s waiting for you to figure it out, so why not skip the “trial and error” parenting route? 

Book your free chat with Deborah today, and sort things out together. You’ll be glad you did.

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