“Will you stop fighting!” I tell my kids, raising my voice a little too loudly. Yes, my kids are at it again and it can be so frustrating and trivial to me! And it seems to be getting worse as we go deeper into the summer months.
Recently it hit me (no pun intended) that the fighting always seems to creep up after a period when the kids stay up too late, eat at odd times (with questionable food choices), and of course, spend ‘too much’ time around each other. The long, lazy summer days mixed with chores, work, play, friends and a bit of boredom are wearing thin on everyone.
Life seems better and more manageable when everyone is getting enough sleep and is back to a healthier lifestyle. Thankfully school starts in a week, so it’s time to get back into a routine! Easy to say, perhaps, but not so easy do with teens.
I’m witnessing first hand that my tweens’ and teens’ bodies and brains are growing and developing fast. Even their biological clocks are changing as they seem to be turning into night owls. (Oh, and let’s not forget their art of procrastination is nearing perfection).
I understand these changes are part of transitioning from childhood, but I also know that even teens thrive on routines. Their routines are different from when they were toddlers, but nonetheless the results are the same: kids simply do better in school if they are getting enough sleep, eating well, and being active.
As parents it’s important that we listen to our kids and be flexible. Here are 5 tips to get you started:
- Talk to your children about why routines are important and the effect it has on school performance.
- Negotiate bedtimes and help them create rituals to slow down.
- Turn off cell phones, computers, or any other devices that can keep your teen up all night. Even better, keep these devices out of bedrooms when it is time to sleep.
- Bring your teen grocery shopping with you; have them pick out healthy snacks and meals for school (don’t forget breakfast items).
- Encourage them to stay active in and out of school.
So as we start another new school year, let’s help our tweens and teens get off to a good start. Do you have any tips to share?
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For parenting information or to speak with a Public Health Nurse (every Monday to Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.) simply dial 311 or 905-825-6000.