Guess blog by Cloe Matheson
Getting teenagers up and going in the morning is a little like rousing the dead. But it’s not all their fault: there’s a scientific reason why adolescence goes hand-in-hand with an aversion to mornings. Pubertal hormones can seriously mess up the body clock – so don’t begrudge your teenage son or daughter too much for their morning laziness!
Since even science can’t get schools to delay their bells an hour or two, though, it’s necessary to have some tricks up your sleeve for helping your teen kickstart their day. Give the following hacks a try, and you’ll have made a morning person of your young ‘un in no time.
1. Have some music or a podcast at hand
Teens love music and other forms of digital media – and if they know that their parents are cool enough to be on board with the things that they like, they’ll be all the keener to jump out of bed. Get a speaker for the kitchen so that your kids can plug in their devices and sing along during breakfast, or put on an interesting podcast in the car as a before-school tradition. You might even buy your teen an alarm clock which wakes them up with some catchy tunes rather than a blearing “beep” noise.
2. Get them moving
No teen is going to respond positively to the idea of running a lap as soon as they open their eyes, but a little bit of parental encouragement towards implementing a little physical activity into their morning routine is never a bad idea. Chances are that your teen – like the rest of us – dreads the thought of exercise, but finds the act of it incredibly refreshing and worthwhile. Getting active in the morning, in particular, has unbeatable benefits for our bodies and minds. Whether they join a sports group that holds practice in the mornings, or they tag along with you as you go to yoga or spinning class, getting teens moving early is a sure-fire way to set them up well for the day to come.
3. Look for fun, digital learning material
Like just about any other person who owns a smartphone, many teenagers can spend hours browsing social media and news feeds such as Reddit and Facebook. As well as being entertaining, however, YouTube and similar platforms also contain gargantuan amounts of educational content. If you find your teen absent-mindedly playing with their phone during breakfast time, encourage them to check out a short video from a channel such as Vsauce or MinuteEarth for some bite-sized knowledge to chew on during the walk or ride to school.
4. Urge them to get some rays
The kind of naturally-sourced Vitamin D that comes from sunshine is important for all kinds of reasons: at the most basic level, though, it just makes us happy, for some instinctive reason that no amount of research can account for. For teens who feel as if they’re interred in dim classrooms all day, getting even twenty minutes of time outside on a sunny day can enhance their mood significantly. Go out and join them, if there’s no objection, and you can bathe in the golden warmth together.
5. Institute a night-before-school routine
For teenagers, the morning can often seem like a couple of hours’ worth of boring chores, preceding a whole day’s worth of boring classes. What you need to help your teen realize is that the morning and evening are the times they have off – and what’ll make this ring true is removing as many of the perceived “chores” as possible from the morning agenda.If your teen has a uniform, for example, they might lay it out and do any cleaning the night before, so that getting changed in the morning is easy. They might prep their breakfast the night before, too (overnight oats are a favorite in many households). Ticking off these tasks the night before means that can dedicate more time to chilling out and doing something that they really enjoy in the morning, whether that be exercise (as above), reading, or meeting up with their friends before school to have a smoothie.
6. Encourage healthy sleeping habits
Teenagers are growing rapidly – physically and emotionally – and they truly need all the sleep they can get. Getting up early is often a challenge for them, regardless of how long they’ve slept for. However, it’s best to make sure teens get at least 8 hours of sleep; enough to allow their body to rest and recuperate, and their minds to be refreshed enough to tackle the next day’s tasks. If your teen has trouble going to sleep, they could try listening to some soothing, soft music. Some teens also find it easier to nod off when they hear white noise or gentle, natural sounds such as crackling fireplaces, rainfall, thunderstorms, or ocean waves. Your teen could set up a Bluetooth speaker on low volume, connected to a playlist. Most phones come with a timer function that stops playing after a set time – say, 18 minutes – just after your teen has happily drifted off.
7. Deal with stress
Teens very often face seemingly overwhelming studies and homework, peer expectations, challenging work customers, and many other new issues that come with growing up. Add errands and chores to this – and you have a perfect recipe for teens to keep hitting the snooze button. Try not to give advice unless your teen specifically asks you for it, but do mention what problems you are going through, how you are dealing with them, and encourage them to face theirs. Always reassure them that you love and support them, and let them know that you believe in their ability to be smart and strong. When a teen knows they have a supportive family and is confident that they can take on each day, they’ll be more excited to get up and get started.
Author’s note: Check out more of Cloe’s work here.
Fusion Academy and Mercy High School present “Overcoming Overwhelm: Supporting the Future of Our Youth,” a panel discussion with mental health and education professionals.
Join psychotherapists and authors Lee Daniel Kravetz, LMFT (Strange Contagion and SuperSurvivors) and Carol Langlois, Ph.D. (Girl Talk: Boys, Bullies and Body Image) and Mary Hofstedt, Ed.M., Community Education Director, Challenge Success, as they question and identify the actions that individuals and communities must take to recognize and support the future of our youth.
6:00pm – 6:30pm l Arrival/Check-In
6:30pm – 8:00pm l Program
Please plan to arrive early for best parking and seating. Program will begin promptly at 6:30pm.
Tickets are free, but seating is limited! Register today.
Questions? Contact Shannon LeCompte, Dean of Students, Mercy High School, firstname.lastname@example.org, or Victoria Veneziano, Director of Admissions and Outreach, Fusion Academy, email@example.com.
My play “Girl Talk” is in a playwright festival honoring female playwrights this summer in SF.
Young actors perform powerful teen stories about real life struggles, peer pressure, anxieties and how they survived. Dr. Carol Langlois created this play version of her acclaimed book, Girl Talk: Boys, Bullies and Body Image. Teenagers and their parents are especially invited!
Date: August 24th, 2017
Location: “Thick House” is now “Potrero Stage”
Tickets: FREE through the festival.Hope to see you August 24th! Reserve your FREE tickets today! Click Here.
For more information about Dr. Carol & Girl Talk, click here.
Most teens don’t want to tell, worry or burden their parents when they are bullied, so they keep it inside. You should tell your parents every time and any time you feel you are the victim of bullying. Just because you can “handle” the bullying situation, doesn’t mean you should have to. I know it may seem scary, but you have to tell an adult. If not a parent, then maybe a teacher you trust. How do you bring it up? Sometimes that can be the hardest part. Find a time when you have your parents’ full attention. Maybe this is while you are driving in the car with them, eating dinner, or taking a long walk. Think about what to say beforehand so when you tell them you won’t get too nervous and forget everything. If you aren’t sure how to start the conversation, say: “I need to tell you something that I’m nervous about and it’s important.” I guarantee your parents will pay close attention. It’s OK if you get upset while telling them. If you want to tell a teacher instead, that’s OK too. Maybe after school when the rest of your class is gone you can ask to speak with them. Again, practice what you want to say. If it helps to bring a friend along for support, that’s OK too.
I can’t stress this enough, don’t avoid the issue for too long. This can lead to you minimizing the severity of the situation and adapting to the poor treatment. Some teens build a defense mechanism around the issue to avoid it. They pretend that it isn’t actually happening. Does pretending really help? No. The bully will continue. Remember, avoiding any situation doesn’t help. Stand up for yourself when dealing with a bully. Protect yourself; demand that the bullying stop. Say something early on. Don’t “accept” it. That’s not a healthy way to cope!
Now if your friend is the one being bullied, what can you do? Well, a lot of things. You can tell your friend that you are there for him or her. If the bully isn’t violent, you can confront the bully together. Show the bully you aren’t taking it anymore. Or, maybe if your friend is just too scared by the bully, you can tell a teacher on his or her behalf. Some teens just don’t know what to do. Be a good friend and do something.
Bottom line— Tell a parent or tell a teacher, but don’t let it continue.
I’m a firm believer in meditation and it’s many forms. When talking about children, meditation can simply be a moment of silence, deep breathing, or just lying still on a rug. This can be the start for building a great mediation practice.
I think more schools should look toward meditation as a preventative method to deter negative behavior and deal with disciplinary issues. Meditation helps balance ones’ breathing which naturally calms the system. After meditating and opening their eyes, kids are more alert, rejuvenated and ready to get back to work. Mediation teaches focus that can help kids through the rest of their school day. And if used as a form of disciple instead of detention, a child will emerge less aggressive and more reflective.
I think parents could utilize meditation in the home as well. Putting a child in “time-out” really doesn’t do much more than create frustration, boredom or anxiety. Kids end up counting the seconds, simply waiting for the time out to be over and they can sometimes emerge from the “time-out” angrier than they went into it. They don’t learn from the experience.
A preventative method for parents would be to start the day with your child doing a short meditation practice in the morning. It will set the day off right and produce a more aware, calm and focused child. Overtime, this may cut down the need for punishment (or the time-out) by creating a more self-aware, mindful and relaxed child.
Guest blog by: Rebecca Temsen (http://www.selfdevelopmentsecrets.com)
The old adage holds true: We learn from our mistakes. Making mistakes is especially how children learn. Unfortunately, too many kids (and even some adults) have never learned the value of making a mistake. I plead guilty too.
Too many fail to realize successful people find new routes to their goals and they don’t let setbacks derail them. Succeeding ultimately depends on sticking with their efforts and not letting setbacks hold them down, especially with kids.
Here are some tips for helping children recognize that mistakes don’t necessarily mean failure but instead can be learning opportunities in disguise.
- Stress that it’s okay to make mistakes
The very first step is helping kids realize that mistakes aren’t the end of the world is to simply say, “It’s okay to make a mistake.” By giving kids permission to fail and helping them recognize that mistakes can be positive learning experiences, we are opening the door to success later in life. Let them know that even the most successful people makes mistakes. When is the last time you told your child, “It’s okay to make a mistake in our house?”
- Admit your own mistakes
Whether you know it or not, your child sees you as all-knowing and all-powerful. Obviously, grownups make mistakes, too, but too often we hide them from our children and spouses. Don’t let the ‘duck syndrome‘ take control of your life. Admit your errors to your kids. It helps them recognize that everyone, even Superhero Dad or Wonder Woman Mom, mess up sometimes — and that’s okay. Keep in mind, though, that they’re also watching to see how you handle failure.
- Show acceptance for mistakes
Whenever your child goofs up, show your support with both your nonverbal reactions and your words. The fastest way your children will learn to toss the idea that mistakes are the most horrible thing in the world is to allow them to feel their parents’ accepting responses to their errors.
- Tell your children how you overcame the obstacle
When you make an error, tell your child not only your mistake but also what you learned from it. If, for example, your dinner menu was a failure, first admit the mistake to your family quickly before they tell you themselves, and then say what you learned from the mistake. Here’s what this would look like:
“I sure messed up this recipe. I learned that I should always read the whole recipe first before adding the broccoli.”
Did your children witness you running late for work? Here’s how that conversation might go:
“I was late for work because I lost my keys. I learned I need to put them in the same place every time I come home so that I can find them when I need them.”
Use this template for your own conversations with your kids. When your child makes a mistake, ask him or her, “What was your mistake?” Follow up by saying, “What did you learn?”
Create a household where mistakes are acceptable. Stress that everyone — adults and children — make mistakes and that no one is perfect. Mistakes are how we learn. Emphasize over and over: “Don’t worry about your mistakes. Instead, think about what you’ll do differently next time.”
If we help kids learn from them, mistakes can be valuable lessons. Once your children realize failures aren’t the end of the world, they’ll be more likely to hang in there and not give up.
Hello! As another resource for families and teens, I’m creating a podcast series for teens. This summer I’ll be interviewing teens via zoom on what it’s like to be a teen in today’s world. Topics will include self-esteem, confidence, pressures, dating, friends, and more. Each podcast will be a different topic or theme, providing insights and tools for other teens who may be struggling.
Similar to the process I took for writing my book, Girl Talk, Boys, Bullies, and Body Image, and my play, Girl Talk: Teen Monologies we are going to have frank conversations on sometimes difficult topics. The process of telling one’s story can be extremely satisfying, cathartic, and empowering.
I’m looking for teens (ages 14-17) to share their stories that will air on my Podcast as early as this summer. With a lot of teens looking for summer activities amid COVID, this could be a great way to spend a few hours that can be helpful and inspiring for other teens.
If you’re interested, send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Don’t forget….. Mom and dad will need to give permission! Please share with other parents and teens that you feel may be interested in this unique opportunity.
Check out my youtube channel for more information.
For registration information, please go to Eventbrite.