According to media reports from across the country, kids, tweens and teens’ frets focus on very different topics than in the past. According to youth themselves, homework still scares them the most.
Most experts agree that kids should get about ten minutes worth of homework for each grade they’re in…So that means tweens shouldn’t hit the one-hour mark until they land in 6th grade. But parents and many teachers will admit that kids are often overburdened with post-school studying well before they’re ready.
Kids, tweens and teens are more conscious than ever of the power to perform in the classroom while maintaining some semblance of a childhood (and don’t forget about those pesky colleges who want students to foster extracurricular interests in addition to attending to their grades). In a recent survey we conducted among kids, tweens and teens, homework (54 percent) and having less free time (34 percent) are the concerns that weigh heaviest on their minds. And 39% of high schoolers site increasing academic pressures as something they fear going into the new year.
But what are they most looking forward to? Over 80 percent of older tweens and teens (ages 11 to 13 and 14 to 17, respectively) are most looking forward to a “fresh start” – much more so than kids (ages 6-10) at 39 percent.
And this makes sense. Getting a chance to start the year anew, with a clean slate, not only gives tweens and teens a chance to “try again,” but also gives them a chance to reinvent themselves – a new style, a new group of friends and a new take on their own identities. This desire to begin the school year fresh is a timeless need that we continue to see reflected in these results.
Despite media coverage that might imply that all youth are consumed with fear at school, serious school violence (shootings, for example) does not concern the vast majority of them – 95 percent of all kids, tweens and teens. However, African American youth are more concerned about this issue than their Caucasian and Hispanic counterparts, with 15 percent saying they were concerned about school violence, compared with just 8 percent of Caucasian youth and 5 percent of Hispanic youth.