Psychology Hacks to Thrive at High School

Psychology Hacks to Thrive at High School

This page provides support to parents of teenagers who are at secondary school/college. I will provi

Operating as usual

Photos from Psychology Hacks to Thrive at High School's post 17/10/2022

This is such a clear reminder to all us parents, quality time always trumps quantity of time🥰 chats over dinner mean more to our teenagers than sitting side by side watching TV while scrolling our phones😳. How can you connect with your teenager today? Thanks Institute of Child Psychology for the images 🙏


Hi all just in case you missed this, I will be running a live online workshop for all teenagers who are learning how to study and revise effectively this year. It will be suitable year 10,11,12, 13 and leaving certificate students. And if they can't it the date, a recording is available too! Any questions just comment below otherwise message of email me to book a place. 😀


Wow! This is definitely needed judging on the uptake so far! Here's a reminder if you missed my last post. Please share to your friends and family 🥰'm delivering a workshop aimed at year 11 students and year 12 & 13 A Level students that will give them the tools to stay on top of the studying AND maximise their memory skills. They will gain clear ways forward in how to organise and stay on top of the ongoing learning as well as how to revise previous learning. Message me to book your child's place. Recordings will be available if you are away / busy in the half term. Any questions comment or message me privately 😀


I'm delivering a workshop aimed at year 11 students and year 12 & 13 A Level students that will give them the tools to stay on top of the studying AND maximise their memory skills. They will gain clear ways forward in how to organise and stay on top of the ongoing learning as well as how to revise previous learning. Message me to book your child's place. Recordings will be available if you are away / busy in the half term. Any questions comment or message me privately 😀


What an amazing support service available to parents 🥰🥰

Strategies for coping with stress as a parent – The Psychology Mum 17/05/2022

Strategies for coping with stress as a parent – The Psychology Mum

How timely is this for many of us? While carving time for calm in our busy day, its so good for us to role model this to our family too. Emma Hepburn's work as a clinical psychologist is very practical and grounded. If you like this article, let me know and I will pass you details of her books.

Strategies for coping with stress as a parent – The Psychology Mum You can't pour from an empty cup. Try out three well-being activities for parents from Dr Emma Hepburn.


The candle is lit for all the students starting their exams this week 🙌🙌🌈🌈🌈

Timeline photos 01/05/2022

Meaningful May 😃 What a great intention for this month? How can you create and maintain meaning in your family relationships and activities this month. Meaning is one of the core components of Martin Seligman's model for Wellness (PERMA - V).When we have meaning we have a greater sense of wellness which alleviates anxiety, depression and boosts our mood significantly. Role modelling this to our children is powerful for their emotional resilience too!


After just one 1-2-1 session and this 14 year client is showing a positive shift in mindset🙌🙌 moving forward to better wellbeing 🌈🌈 always important to know that people (like me) are here that support emotional growth and health in our young people 🥰🥰

Timeline photos 24/01/2022

I found this book a straight forward and practical guide on how to help a young person with intense feelings of anxiety. It's written by a Clinical Psychologist who also has experiences this a parent supporting her daughter. If you have read it, what did you takeaway from it?

Timeline photos 21/01/2022

National Hug Day 2022🤗 💗 💙 💚 💛 💜 What a great theme for a day!! Touch is so healing for us all! Research shows that we release the fab hormone oxytocin. Oxytocin is important in regulating stress hormones and it influences our social relationships. We feel more connected when oxytocin is released. Who or what (a tree maybe) will you hug today?

Parenting a Child with Mental Illness 17/01/2022

Parenting a Child with Mental Illness

This was a powerful read. While you may not have a child who is experiencing psychological conditions, reading this may give you more insight to what your friends and loved ones are handling in their families 🌈🌈

Parenting a Child with Mental Illness I have a child with a mental illness. Just writing that line is hard, but not as hard as it is to parent a child with a mental illness. When we brought our first child home from the hospital, I have to admit that mental illness was one of the possible outcomes I ever thought possible for our child.....

For parents, happiness is a very high bar 02/01/2022

For parents, happiness is a very high bar

I love this TEDtalk, it reminded me to keep it grounded with my children. The strongest values I have, i got from my parents: a strong work ethic, a sense of looking out for your neighbours / community and creativity. What's your takeaway from this talk or your core values that you are passing on to your children? Please tell me in the comments 😊

For parents, happiness is a very high bar The parenting section of the bookstore is overwhelming -- it's "a giant, candy-colored monument to our collective panic," as writer Jennifer Senior puts it. Why is parenthood filled with so much anxiety? Because the goal of modern, middle-class parents -- to raise happy children -- is so elusive. In...

Timeline photos 24/12/2021

Happy Christmas to you of you, I hope you have good times with your families over the coming days. Hope you have slow times and still times amongst the business too 🎅 🌲 🌱

How to Make Stress Your Friend Kelly TED Talk - Bing 03/11/2021

How to Make Stress Your Friend Kelly TED Talk - Bing

Stress Awareness Day 2021
We use the word stress too much these days and focus on the negative aspects of stress (distress). But actually how we view our situations is key to the experience. This is a great TED talk to show your teenager who is handing the long term stress of academia.

How to Make Stress Your Friend Kelly TED Talk - Bing Intelligent search from Bing makes it easier to quickly find what you’re looking for and rewards you.


Great read 🙌🙌🤩🤩


As we move on from this theme of effective study habits, we wanted to give you this thought… Effective study habits, forming the right rituals and routines is a mindset. And the mindset of success is one of “I will keep moving in the direction I want to go”. There will be off days, life upsets along this journey and as a parent you are your child’s guide and as others would say metaphorically, their anchor.


Feeling successful is important to perseverance. Feeling successful in small ways is just as effective at keeping us disciplined to our study habits when our goals are in the long term future. Small successes are finishing a task and finishing it well. Doing well in the short recall tests the students do to check that their learning was effective. Success can be seeing the homemade flashcards pile get bigger. It’s important to help your child recognise their everyday small successes.


When any of us take on a new challenge we are more likely to succeed when we have a buddy. This spurs us on because we know we have to check in with them and let them know how we are progressing. Also, our buddy can help us reflect and problem solve when things are not going so smoothly. Who is best suited to be your child’s accountability buddy, is it you or another member of the family? Maybe a member of extended family or have they a very good friend who is supportive in terms of school? Chat to your child about who can help them to stay on track.


“Tiny changes Make a big difference. It is so easy to overestimate the importance of one defining moment and underestimate the value of making small improvements on a daily basis” James Clear, author of The book Atomic Habits.
This book provides a fresh look at how to change our expectations around our small daily acts. Daily habits are the foundation to long term success, especially in terms of academic achievement. I know you’re very busy so to save you having to read the book, my posts will give you some of the main messages that are most relevant to academic studying.


The visual cues in our environment influence what we do so much more than our level of motivation. Make the learning obvious in the room, take the distractions out of the room. In other words, the location of the textbooks, learning resources must be central and the gaming control, mobile phone out of the bedroom in order to make the act of studying the smoothest act to do. All of us follow the law of least effort! So chat with your child about priming their environment to make studying easier to start and stick with.


To be able to learn, lay done new memories change our habits we need our brains to be in optimum form. Our brain relies on sleep as the process that enables the brain to be efficient and to work well in our waking hours. You will enable yourself to make positive new habits, lay down strong memories (learn well in other words) when you optimise your sleeping. But firstly its important to say we don’t all need 8 hours and in the teenage years, sleep patterns can change dramatically because of brain changes. To start optimising your sleep
1 – Know your sleep need. Are you (your children) long or short sleepers? We are all different and this is true for our sleep needs. Are you better for 8-9 hours or are you just as alert when you have 6-7 hours a night? Talk this through a family and become aware of your and each family members needs first. Then see how changes in the evening can accommodate this need with times for coming off screens, allowing winding down time and the time to go to bed.
2 – Tweak the evening routine to optimise winding down, lower volume on TV’s (ideally these turn off when the teens are heading to bed), turn down the lighting. All this signals to the brain its winding down time. Having a shower or bath can help lower our body temperature which aids falling asleep.
3 Become aware of your basic alert rest cycle (BARC) which is usually between 70-90 minutes long. Notice in the evening when you feel quite alert, this is NOT the time to go to your bedroom, pay attention to when you yawn and start to feel like you are wanting to be still, this is the optimum time to head to bed as you are at the rest point in your BARC and will fall asleep more naturally. This can be quite an eyeopener for your children too! Going to be at 10.15 may lead to a more effective drift off to sleep rather than always heading to bed at 10pm on the dot. However, this point links to number 1 – its important to get your ideal hours of sleep so if you or your child need 8-9 hours and have to be up by 6.30am, then its better to look for the rest phase between 9pm & 9.30pm.
This is such an important area of our habits, please ask questions in the comments below or message me directly.

Timeline photos 07/10/2021

On National Poetry Day 2021, I thought that Amanda Gorman's words would be an inspiring read. She is the poet who read at Joe Biden's inauguration in January. We are the light in this world.


If students wait to feel ready to study they will wait for a very long time! The truth is we rarely feel like doing the activities that help us achieve our goals. We just want to end goal. To remove this barrier to studying, students need to form a ritual that is the cue for sitting down and studying. For example, they come in from school/college, have a drink / snack, unpack their bag and at a set time (that’s one cue) they sit at their desk, they check in on their study schedule (another cue) to remind themselves of what subject/task they start and then they just start. It’s simple (just not always easy). Maybe your child already has a routine/ritual that works well for them. Ask them what they do, why it works or what they could tweak to make their start to the study time go smoother.

How to stop screwing yourself over 02/10/2021

How to stop screwing yourself over

This is a great 20 minute talk to watch and share with your secondary school children who need to initiate their studying quicker and stop procrastinating. I love the 5 second rule and use it in many areas of my life and many of my students have found it very useful for their studying. Any thoughts or comments post below or message me direct I would love to know your takeaways from this.

How to stop screwing yourself over How do you get on the road to being happier? Start by setting your alarm for 30 minutes earlier than usual and not hitting the snooze button. The effort required to leave that warm bed and enter the world is the same amount of effort needed to shake up your life and make that elusive change. In this...


The pruning process strengthens the brain and key cognitive abilities which is great news! And during this pruning phase, the more we practice a skill or activity, the more likely the brain will excel at it later on. This is the phenomenon of neuroplasticity. This is great news for students and how they developing their study habits and revision techniques. The pruning phase will lead to the acceleration of the acquiring new knowledge and learning of cognitive and emotional skills. In other words, once the pruning has stopped the brain is in a good state for academic learning and how we train the brain during these years does stand to us (and our children later in life).


It can take an adolescent well into their 20s to develop completely. In terms of brain change, the prefrontal and frontal cortex are obviously part of the adolescent brain, but they are not fully formed. As a result, teens do not have full “access” to these parts of the brain. In the adolescent brain, the frontal and prefrontal cortex aren’t accessed with the same rapidity as the adult brain, which is why adolescents can act more impulsively. Risky behaviours, thrill seeking, and impulsivity are not symptoms of being pubescent but characteristics of the developing adolescent brain.


A fascinating fact that was only discovered 20 year ago is that the brain goes through a pruning phase in the early teenage years. This means that neurons are culled in an attempt to make the brain more effective and efficient. It makes good sense. However during this time, the brain is slightly underperforming in that conceptual and critical thinking are much more challenging. It is useful to inform your teenage of this. It may even reassure them that they are just like everyone else – going through important changes for adulthood.


The is an easy to read, pick up and put down type of book that will provide some helpful insight into how it is for our children as they grow up in the world of tech, social media and different academic pressures than we had as teenagers. Have you got a go to parenting book or guru that you refer to when you need some guidance?

Timeline photos 16/09/2021

Supporting students to get their exam goals clear at the very of the year is a key driver to encouraging effective studying from the start. This week I coached a year 13 (final year of A Levels) student on exploring how they can become the type of top grade student that they want to be this year. This theme fuelled a fantastic conversation around behaviours and habits that supports effective learning. If you know a young person who needs some clarity over how they can move forward towards their academic goals, then message me to arrange a session.


Many of think that the brain has fully grown by the time reach puberty, but it actually fully matures at around 25 years of age (on average). And that wayward teenage behaviours are all about the hormones of puberty and the surge in physical changes that they are experiencing. But the reality is that the human brain is still changing dramatically throughout the teenage years and as parents it’s important we acknowledge these changes and have more understanding of why they are struggling with things we find straight forward. It could be to do with the brain.


A little bit more about the impact of cortisol on our brains. When it floods our brains and bodies, it stops the thinking part of the brain from working. The frontal and prefrontal cortex house important executive functions like judgment and decision-making. So if your child is struggling with getting into the new routine, disciplining themselves to study, see the bigger picture that this is part cognitive. Help them to manage this by supporting them with rituals and routines at home. Set times for studying, etc.


Being stressed stops us thinking straight and interferes with our memories. That’s why we can go blank when put on the spot or in exams. When we release the stress hormone cortisol, it impairs the brain’s function by stopping the thinking centres and enabling instinctive, reflexive actions to dominate (fight, flight or freeze mode). While this is great in a real threatening situation, its not helpful on the first day of the new academic year! Talk to your child about how this may happen and that they can combat the effects with slow, deep breathing.

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