Teens, Schedules, Cell Phones, Oh My!
WE  just started the school year and WE are almost finish with the 1st quarter, WHEW!  Yes, I said, “WE” because my two younger boys are in high school now and it is work!  Sometimes they pretend as if they have forgotten rules, schedules, and their responsibilities, but my husband and I have not.  Here are my top fav-five strategies that  help keep order in our home and the boys life.

1. Limit Caffeine – After school, my two younger boys; 14 and 16 like to grab a soda or an energy drink to push through the rest of the afternoon; they love sugar, but this does not help with other evening routines.  So, I limit the caffeine and sugar in the evening or they don’t have it at all.

2. Balance Activities – Their lives afterschool became busier around 3rd grade and that’s when we implemented 1 for 1.  For every athletic sport they played, we also required them to participate in a fine arts activity.  Also, they could only play one sport a season.  We continue this strategy as they got older, but implemented more volunteering with or without us.

3. Teach Time Management – Yes, we teach and model time management for the boys, but again they like to pretend as if they don’t understand the concept; They Do!  Helping them to understand small chunks of time can be used to accomplish small task.  Your teen will be surprised what they can accomplish in 30mins or 15mins.  For example, my son did not have five hours straight every night to get homework done, so we had to be creative with our small chunks of time. Sometimes using the 30 minutes before practice starts to finish an homework assignment or study with a study partner leaves less work for later in the evening.  A 20min power nap and timed showers helps them to stay on track.  Also, starting with the least favorite subject first, can possibly leave them with more time at night for their favorite subjects.

4. Put Electronics Away – Research has long shown that screen time interferes with good sleep.  So we do whatever it takes to make sleep hours electronic-free.  Teenagers need a least 8-10 hrs of sleep to do well in sports, on test, and stay mentally alert.  My son is struggling in this area, so on school nights he is required to put his phone on the kitchen bar and I return it in the morning.  If he forgives to this or I have to ask, then I keep the phone; He Has Not Forgotten! 😊

5. Consistent Bedtime Routine – Oh my goodness, yes!  Teenagers need a consistent set bedtime to help them be their best the next day not huffy gruffy.   Lights out around the same time (project/paper due or a celebration) and wake up at the same time Monday – Friday, I give them a break on the weekends😊.

How can you help your teen? Start with watching, listening, and  knowing what your teen needs.  The most effective thing we parents can do is listen to our kids, talk with them about their challenges and help them set a regular schedule. It’s never to early or too late to start.