Keeping a teenager focused on their work in the classroom or after school can be challenging enough. But when faced with a situation like the recent school closures due to the COVID-19 outbreak, it becomes necessary to maintain student engagement all day at home. Luckily, there are many tips from the world of goal-setting, gamification, and positive-psychology that can help anyone (including adults) stay on-task.


Write down specific short-term goals for each day

Setting specific short-term goals that can be accomplished within a day will help teens stay focused on a small list of accomplishments, rather than get overwhelmed by a bigger list that needs to be completed over the course of a week or two. And writing that list down will increase the likelihood of goal achievement by 42%!

Assign accountability partners

We are 95% more likely to achieve a goal if we have an accountability partner, regular check-ins, and a specific deadline for our goal. Teens can utilize teachers, mentors, parents, or friends to hold them accountable for accomplishing certain tasks throughout the day. Consistent check-ins are also a great opportunity to share feedback on goal progress or for teens to ask for support in areas where they need help.

Reward small wins

Have teens treat themselves to small rewards throughout the day for accomplishing tasks on their list. This can be as simple as a snack after completing a quiz, or a stretch break or a walk around the block after completing a set of math problems. 

Offer a grand prize

Offer a larger incentive for students to look forward to if they complete all of their tasks at the end of the school closure period. This can give students something to look forward to and keep top of mind throughout the period of being at home. 

Provide consistent communication and feedback

Consistently remind students to stick to their goals and of the rewards (and feeling of accomplishment) they will achieve if they complete all of the tasks each day. Also remind them to reach out to their accountability partners to remind them that help is available, even if they can’t meet with those people face-to-face. 

Following these tips can help teens stay on track and not lose focus while working from home during a school closing.


About Ascend

Ascend is a student empowerment platform that enables schools and mentoring organizations to cultivate, track, and measure student goals and achievement. Ascend is proud to be a minority and woman-owned business and supports organizations in North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Wisconsin, Texas, and beyond.