04-23-2020 02:20 PM
Ask a Child and Family Professional
Question: “How can I maintain routine for my teen now that my family is all home all the time?”
I spoke with my colleagues about this week’s topic and asked for their input as all parents are managing the current environment differently, and this is new to everyone. There is no right or wrong way to do this, you just need to figure out what works for your family.
Common themes we are hearing from parents at the moment is that things are new, different, challenging and overwhelming. It’s okay that things aren’t going swimmingly, let’s be kind to ourselves and especially our children and teens who are used to going to school, having parents leave for work, and have time to socialise and engage in sports and activities. When looking at routine in the home, one of my colleagues suggested changing the language around routine to a “Well Being Plan”. Let talk more about this.
This Family Well Being plan encompasses everything that makes up each person’s day - including things that they enjoy as well as chores or responsibilities. For teens, it should include talking online with friends, Netflix, games and some schoolwork or chores. By encouraging teens to speak about what they would like their day to look like, the whole family can negotiate and problem solve together about what is likely to work for the whole family.
As I said initially, this is also a time to be kind to ourselves and lower our expectations. Letting go of “normal” expectations is a good place to start- and sharing this with your family. Ask your teen to discuss their thoughts on the matter and create ownership of what is important to them but also what they want to achieve. Don’t forget to be honest and open with your teen, its ok to say the “new normal” is hard, or that you miss your friends or going into the office. Normalise the challenges, but then also take the opportunity to model good self-care.
Things are going to be different, we are going to feel different and so will our kids and that is OKAY. Don’t feel bad for not taking up a new hobby or rearranging that book/cd/stamp collection that you have had on your to do list. May I suggest that your to do list should include more of the here and now, which will in turn become your new rhythm or routine.
Be Kind and Rewind
Child & Family Professional, The Benevolent Society
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We also partner with The Benevolent Society to offer free personalised one-on-one support for parents and carers of teens over the phone and online.
For more information: https://parents.au.reachout.com/one-on-one-support