Teaching Teens to STREAK Summer Routines for Back-to-SchoolJul 12, 2019
It’s been a few weeks since my kids finished out their school year, and I’m sure if you’re anything like me you’re saying to yourself, “I’m not cut out for this!”. Especially if they are teenagers.
I don’t know about you but no one warned me to look out for the end of the school year with teenagers. No said, “it’s going to be a doozy! Girl, you think you were busy before, just wait!” No one told me, “You’re gonna feel pulled in a million directions or need to make decisions your not prepared to make.” Like handing them your car keys! No one said to me “prepare for the realization that college is on the horizon, mom guilt will be in high swing of what little you’ve taught them so far about being an adult, and you’re basically going to need to learn how to motivate a sloth from your loveseat daily!”
Nope, no one! To all the moms who had teenagers before me. Thanks a lot! I see you!
Actually, despite my anxiety attack after the first week of realization that they are small adults now, not stinky middle schoolers (sometimes), I started to realize something… They are talking to me, wanting to hang out with me, asking me questions about important and interesting topics. Something other than Minecraft and kitten videos. I realized that they NEED me again! After almost four years of feeling really lonely as a mom, they are now at the age where mom might actually have some advice they want to hear.
And that got me thinking. I AM CUT OUT FOR THIS!
So if you’re like me and this is the first summer with all teenagers in your house check out these ways to take advantage of their listening ears and enjoy teaching them how they will want to be when they grow up. The first step we started with was:
Morning & Evening Routines
Listen you might be one of those parents who was solid all through middle school with keeping your kids on routines for morning and bedtime. You can stop reading because this blog isn’t for you. I’ll be the first to admit that when it comes to my business I am pretty good at keeping a routine, being consistent and following through to the finish line. But as a mom, girl, it’s been a real struggle! So this blog isn’t for the moms who knew how to mom right out of the womb. If you can relate of now seeing the looming need of your kids needing to build some better morning and bedtime routines so they aren’t dropping out of college for missing classes you are helping pay for, here’s how I transitioned what I do to build my work from home routines into a way to teach my teens to create their own.
- No Dictating Their Schedules: You might be saying, “Wait! Didn’t you just say to tighten the reins?” Yes, and No. What I am saying is let them make the decisions and have the influence you do as an adult over the schedule you keep in your work from home business. They aren’t toddlers, just as much as it isn’t your first rodeo probably doing your job, as much as sometimes you wonder why he can’t make it in the toilet, you probably wonder about his father too! They are young adults now so it’s time we give them the opportunity to build their own schedules, and also explain that they are responsible and accountable to them.
Take a morning to sit with your teens. Ask them to pull out their notepad app on their phones. It might be helpful too if you have your weekly calendar or planner there too, to show them how you do this for yourself. Share with your teens that this summer is going to be a little different, that they are going to get to make their own schedule and you are going to be there to help them be accountable but you aren’t going to be dictating it or reminding them of it either. (I tell you, at first when I said this to my teens, this big ball of fear loomed up in me. I immediately felt like they were still too young, and I had to check myself and remember they need me to teach them to be responsible adults. They will always be my babies, but they aren’t babies anymore.) Share with your teen that by them making their schedule for the mornings and bedtimes and following them as best as possible means more time for the unscheduled fun of summer. I found after explaining to them why having a routine is important to be able to enjoy fun stuff too really helped in them getting excited about the responsibility.
After explaining the reason for a routine in the morning and at bedtime you’ll want to have them list out their chores first (this is one place I did ok when I first left my career and focused on building a business from home, they both have a few chores that are important and they know are their responsibility). This will get eye rolls if they are like my teens but after the eyes ask them a few questions that are more about how they want to feel in the morning and at night instead of what they want to do. This was huge for my kids, asking them the how, not the what! Because if you’re honest, within your work from home business, you most likely create your schedule around how you want to feel. Wasn’t that some of the point of getting to work from home?
Here are some examples:
How do you want your wake up to feel in the morning? (this can be what alarm they are using, encouraging them not to look at their phones first thing, do they want to feel clean first in the morning, etc) Share with them your morning wake up too and tell them why you like how it feels.
What breakfast makes you happy and feel full? (no one is fooling me here, teenagers eat all day all summer long, but this question was really fun to talk about with my teens, and it gave me ideas to make some of our summer breakfasts more special) Share with them some tips you know about why breakfast can help them during the day.
How do you want to feel right before you go to sleep? (this was a big one for my kids, it was like I was seeing light bulbs going off about how they feel now and how that wasn’t what they wanted, we talked about screens and the realizations on their faces really made a big deal in them understanding what looking at their phones before they sleep which makes them feel less able to rest) Share with them how this has changed for you and how they may need to fluctuate in this area depending on activities and school work.
Lastly, we talked about the times. I encourage you to let them share what time they want to get up first. This was pretty hilarious with my teens because their personalities rang true with their answers. You’ll probably have to rein them in here and bring up some of their answers to the above questions. You’ll probably also want to talk about habits for school, etc. By the end of the conversation, you’ll want them to have 3 to 5 pieces to their morning and bedtime routines that are consistent activities for their days.
Here’s a screenshot example of my teens:
Lastly, like anything, the reminder for the habit is huge. At least for me, it is within my business, as I am sure it is for yours. If your teens are on SnapChat there’s a tool you can use from that app with their morning and bedtime routines that can make them feel like it’s fun and like they are building momentum. On SnapChat it’s called “streaks” and a lot of teens are crazy about STREAKS with their friends. My daughter almost had a moment of meltdown because camp doesn’t allow phones and she was on a great streak with one of her friends on SnapChat. Take this already triggered response and use it with their routines.
We downloaded the Streaks app on all our phones. Heck, if you are asking them to be accountable to morning and bedtime routines, it doesn’t hurt to join them right? Running a business from home means all sorts of life interruptions and procrastination to the hilt! The streaks app has been lots of fun to see who is doing better. So far, mom is winning but who’s really keeping track, amiright? ;-)
This is just one of the ways having a work from home career has made me more than “just a mom” and I love teaching and coaching other work from home moms who are struggling with the “how they are going to be when they grow up” for our kids because the world keeps telling us to focus on the “what they are going to be” instead. To sit with me to discuss how You’re More Than “Just a Mom” click to learn more about my private coaching sessions for work at home moms just like you!