Most parents know how important routine is for infants and toddlers, but it’s just as important to establish regular habits with teens. It might be difficult for your teen to create a routine on their own, but there are many benefits to building a healthy routine, and parents and caregivers can provide the necessary guidance to help teens adapt to routines.
The teen years are some of the most formative years of a person’s life, so building healthy habits for teens during this time is ideal, as these habits will then support them through their young adult years. It’s important to help teens understand why a routine is important and beneficial, so they don’t feel like you are trying to control or monitor their daily schedule. With a healthy routine, teens learn to take responsibility; they have tasks to do and know when they’re expected to complete those tasks. Teens who don’t have a homework or chore routine may have a very harder time later in life trying to motivate themselves to study hard for a test, do their own chores or meet a work deadline.
The Benefits of Having a Routine During the COVID-19 Pandemic
During the COVID-19 pandemic, Mental Health America’s 2021 Youth Data survey found that the rates of teen anxiety, depression, suicide, and co-occurring disorders such as substance abuse and eating disorders have all experienced a substantial rise. Teens have faced several huge changes to their daily lives, which can cause them to feel like everything is out of their control, leading to a lack of motivation and drive. Building a healthy routine can help your teen regain some control over their schedule, providing them with structure and small goals that they can achieve each day.
Some teens can feel very scattered and anxious because they feel like everything is constantly changing, not just during the pandemic, but in general as they go through puberty and other growth changes. Friends come and go, their bodies are developing and as a result, they may lack a sense of self. A routine can provide teens with some structure amidst all the unknowns in their lives.
How to Build Healthy Routines for Teenagers
A healthy routine helps teens learn how to set goals and work toward them. Here are some steps you can take to help build routines and schedules for teenagers:
- Design a daily schedule with your teen that is age appropriate, make sure to give your teen options and guidelines as you create the schedule, so they feel a sense of ownership over it.
- Remember that it is important to take breaks, when mapping out time for school and homework, also incorporate time for breaks between studying.
- Incorporate regular exercise that your teen enjoys and finds fun so it doesn’t feel like a chore, this can be anything from group sports, to yoga, or simply going for a walk or run. If you or another family member join your teen in their exercise routine, this could provide extra support and encouragement.
- Put boundaries in place when it comes to electronic devices, particularly if your teen is attending virtual schooling, set aside a ‘no phone’ or ‘no online games’ period each day, where they can do other activates like read, help around the home and spend time with family.
- Create healthy morning and bedtime routines, bedtime anxiety can be just as prevalent in teens as it is in younger children, so make sure you include a wake-up routine and time for winding down in the evening to make bedtime feel calm.
- Be clear with your teen that routines can have a level of flexibility, if a routine that you’ve created stops working at any stage, let them know that you can revisit the schedule and rework it as necessary.
When to Seek Support
If you’ve tried a few different routines for teenagers and still find that your teen is struggling to stick to any sort of routine or has had a drastic change in their behavior, this can be a sign that they may be struggling with an underlying issue. If your teen has been partaking in risky behavior that is out of character, or they seem to have withdrawn from their usual schedule and may be suffering from anxiety or depression, it’s important that you seek support. Teen Rehab is a complimentary online support resource that is here to help, contact us today.