7 Hacks to Help Your Teen Jumpstart Their Day

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.


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The Difference Between Disordered Eating and an Eating Disorder

An eating disorder is defined as…… any of a range of psychological disorders characterized by abnormal or disturbed eating habits (such as anorexia nervosa). (Webster, 2018)

Disordered eating refers to “a wide range of abnormal eating behaviors, many of which are shared with diagnosed eating disorders.” The main indicator differentiating disordered eating from an eating disorder is the level of severity and frequency of behaviors.

I tend to think of disordered eating as eating habits that veer from the typical patterns seen in eating disorders but still seem restrictive, mildly obsessive and punitive in nature. It’s definitely harder to identify disordered eating. It can be subtle and varied; not as obvious as anorexia or bulimia.  It doesn’t necessarily show visible outward signs of weight loss or ritual. It can easily go undiagnosed and therefore never really addressed or treated. download-1

So what are the signs of disordered eating?

It could be a girlfriend who talks about food… a lot.  Maybe she talks about restaurants, recipes, what she ate that day, etc.  Or the friend who justifies the cupcake she wants to eat, even though you aren’t challenging her decision to eat it.  When she eats the cupcake, she may say things like… “Why did I eat that?  It wasn’t even that good! I should have only had half!”  You may brush it off because it’s just a cupcake, but she is mentally calculating the calories, and questioning her decision to eat it— sometimes hours later. Basically, she is condemning herself. And like the sinner, she silently feels the need to repent.

Or, it could be your guy friend that thinks food is only for sustenance and NOT for enjoyment.  Maybe he is obsessed with dairy-free, sugar-free, and/or calorie counting.  He would never put full fat in his coffee and can’t understand why people eat rich foods. These individuals can make their caloric intake a daily topic of conversation. You may think they are just “trying to be healthy” and certainly don’t want to judge your friend, but if it feels a little off…. it just may be.

images-2Someone with disordered eating may go no further than the examples above, but then again, they could turn into a full-fledged eating disorder. Either way, be a good friend and role model. Next time you see your friend commenting on her food (or your food) in an unhealthy way, take note and either way, gently say something or model positive food behavior of your own. Also remember, it’s ok to indulge every now and then.

 

 

Teens Stealing Alcohol From Parents – And What You Can Do About It.

teens-party-alcohol

Did you know that teenage girls (more so than teenage boys) are likely to engage in underage drinking? The most recent data from the CDC’s Youth Risk Behavior Survey (YRBS) found that 66 percent of female high school students had “ever drunk alcohol” compared to 62 percent of male high school students.

Researchers aren’t entirely sure why teenage girls tend to drink more than boys. Some hypothesize that since girls typically reach puberty sooner, they “might” engage in risky behavior (like drinking) earlier as well. There’s also evidence to suggest that teenage girls are more susceptible to alcohol-related messages. For example, advertisers target girls with bright colored magazine ads showing beautiful models in amazing clothing drinking and glamorizing the use of alcohol.

What can you do about it? 

1. Lock It Up

Remember, teenagers find it easy to access alcohol when it’s readily available in their homes. Research has shown that two out of three teenagers say it is easy to get alcohol from their homes without their parents knowing about it. As a precautionary step, I’d suggest keeping your liquor cabinet locked.

Research has shown that two out of three teenagers say it is easy to get alcohol from their homes without their parents knowing about it.

Also, brain science can be helpful here. At 17, your daughter’s frontal lobe — which is the region that handles restraint — hasn’t fully formed. We now know the human brain does not finish developing until sometime in our 20s. If your daughter can’t yet make the right choice about alcohol, then locking the cabinet helps her by ensuring the alcohol is out of her easy reach.

2. Explain Your Concerns

I’d also recommend an extended, calm conversation about the severity of her actions. What if she or another teenager ended up in the hospital? Or in a car accident? Help her see the potential consequences to her actions.

To read more from this article, click HERE

Teens Stealing Alcohol from Parents, by Dr Carol  (Your Teen Magazine)