8 Things Your Teenagers Can Do to Be More Mindful
The school year is winding down, there’s been social distancing graduations, classes, and lessons via Zoom, plenty of home schooling, online learning, learning in different shapes and forms. Family have become teachers and learning has been so much more than opening a book.
It’s taken place under incredibly difficult circumstances and while Covid-19 is still very present, we have been adapting to a new way of life and learning. I’m aware people hate the saying “the new normal” because what we’re doing, isn’t normal, but life at the moment is gloves, face masks, hand sanitising and staying two metres apart.
As the country opens and we start to look towards Phase Two and Phase Three, here are some tips and tricks to help your teenagers be more mindful.
- Create a routine for your teenagers, as they transition back into school in August and September, this will play a crucial role. It doesn’t need to be a strict routine, but even making sure they’re up and dressed at a certain time, meals together where possible, fresh air, play time and relaxing, making sure they’re talking to friends and interacting with people and generally having a routine. It can be hard to differentiate between weekdays and weekends so why not create a different routine for weekends?
- We cannot stress this enough; how important sleep is when you are young. It impacts every area of your life and when this suffers, everything else suffers. It’s a snowball effect. Teenagers need about 8 to 10 hours of sleep each night to function best. Most teenagers do not get enough sleep — one study found that only 15% reported sleeping 8 1/2 hours on school nights. With everything that’s going on right now, sleep is more crucial than ever. Try and make sure your teenagers are going to bed at a certain time and getting up at the same time.
- Make Your Bed. This sounds like an odd one but get your teenager to make their bed. If you make your bed every morning you will have accomplished the first task of the day. It will give you a small sense of pride and it will encourage you to do another task and another and another. Making your bed will also reinforce the fact that little things in life matter. It’s something I’ve actively started doing since Covid-19 started and it makes such a difference, I have it on my daily to-do list every day and it’s really helped.
- Eat Well. With all the sunny weather, we’re not saying, don’t eat ice-cream or enjoy a barbeque, we’re just encouraging you to help your teenagers eat well. Lots of fresh foods, fruit and vegetables. Why not create a snack plate for your teenagers? Literally just a big sharing plate filled with things like cheese, cold meats, nuts, fruit, crackers and sure, you could even throw in a treat too. Keep it out of the heat. Get your teenagers involved in cooking and creating in the kitchen, it’s an invaluable life skill and no better time to do it now. Why not check out some online recipes? Simon Delaney has some fantastic, one-pot/one-tray recipes and for smaller ones, The Daly Dish have an Instagram account for kids – the.littledish Cooking will also help with worries or anxieties and it’s a lovely way to spend time together. Why not let them cook a meal for the family? You’ll be surprised the confidence boost it will give them.
- Fresh air. I use the term “fresh air” as opposed to exercise to avoid putting pressure on parents and teenagers to get out and exercise. The weather is beautiful, the days are lovely and long and we’re living a slower pace of life. Encourage your teenager to spend time outside in the garden or in the local park or green – within your 5km. Simply sitting outside in the garden for a few minutes can make a difference. Why not go for a cycle with them or encourage them to go with a friend? Don’t forget to wear a helmet! You could go for a morning or evening walk, or both? Pop on a podcast or playlist, have a chat, talk to them, ask them how they’re feeling? Open the windows in their bedroom to let the air circulate and keep the room fresh.
- Put down the technology. Teenagers are guilty of being on their phone more so than most, but even if you can get them to put down the phones at mealtimes, that would be a positive step. Why not try and get them to put their phone in a different room at night-time when they sleep? Talk to them about technology, engage with them as an adult. Remind them that you, as a parent spend too much time on your time on your phone. Why not ask them to show you how to a Zoom call or something new? We’re still in a pressure cooker right now so it’s all about positive steps.
- How you speak to yourself matters. This is a big one, how you speak to yourself is what your children and teenagers see and hear. It’s so important to try and be positive, to see the good, to see the hope, to go easy on yourself. Celebrate the little things, especially as the Phases move on. Celebrate nature, the incredible weather we’re having, the extra time spent together as a family, the morning sunrise, the late nights chatting, the great zoom calls. Avoid using negative words to describe yourself and situations, help your teenagers to change their tune.
- This is something that you can do with your teenager. It’s so doable. Commit to just 2 minutes a day. Start simply if you want the habit to stick. Pick a rough time, like morning when you wake up, or during your lunch hour. Find a quiet spot. Sit comfortably. Start with just 2 minutes. Focus on your breath.