Why multitasking is ineffective for teens (and how to get yours to stop!)

Why multi tasking is harmful for teens“But Moooommmmmm, of course I can listen to music, watch TV, and text my friends while I “study” for my math test!” Sound familiar?

You’re not alone. Research from Common Sense found that more than half of teens surveyed admitted to watching television while they do their homework. And, 60 percent say they regularly text while they study. In today’s hyper-connected world, a barrage of stimuli at all times has begun to feel normal to many kids and teens.

But, is multi-tasking all it’s cracked up to be?

In a word… no. Contrary to popular belief, multitasking significantly interferes with the quality of learning. And, while kids may feel as if they are getting everything on their To Do List completed, their efficiency while multitasking actually plummets. 

According to author Judy Willis for Edutopia magazine, “The brain is designed to limit conscious focus to one thing at a time. Our ancestors needed single focus to remain alive in their unpredictable world. The survival-in-the-wild brain that we humans inherited from them remains designed for unifocal tasking.

What feels like doing two things at once is actually the brain shifting its processing from one neural network to another. Each shift comes with a cost of consuming time, mental effort, and brain fuel. Microseconds are wasted as the brain turns off one active network and turns on the next. The result: less done and less remembered.”

But, convincing your kids that what feels like success really isn’t may take some doing. Here are three ways you can help your child stop multitasking for good:

  • Model great behavior. It’s great to talk to kids about getting in “the zone.” But show them, as well. Post “no-interruption hours” on your home office door. Ban cell phones at the dinner table (yours included). And, never, ever text and drive.
  • Remove distractions. Simply setting up a quiet area where kids can study or complete homework (cell phone free) can make all of the difference and cut homework time in half.
  • Reward good behavior with technology breaks. A 10 minute game of Candy Crush, catching up on Instagram, or texting with friends is a great reward for a sustained period of study time, required reading, or tacking a homework project.

Once kids get used to a more focused approach to homework, reading and studying, they’ll find that they are far more efficient, giving them more time to do the things that they want to do!

Back to Basics is a whole new way to look at school

At Back to Basics, we approach education in a whole new way, challenging your child to redefine the very definition of what “school” can be.  With an unprecedented teacher-to-student ratio of 1:1 for all courses, we offer the proven teaching and testing methods that will enable your child to truly learn, without the distractions and tumult of the traditional classroom.

To learn more about how Back to Basics Private School can create a personalized team to tailor an integrated curriculum to the specific needs and abilities of your child, call us at 302-594-0685.