How to Help Teens Spend Their Time Wisely

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Today’s teens are under so much more pressure to perform and be perfect than ever before. Teaching your teen time management is one of the best life lessons you can give them.

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It’s Going To Be Okay

If your teen’s time management skills are floundering, take a deep breath and know it is going to be okay. Approaching your teen every bit as stressed out as they are will not going to open the, “I think you can manage your time better,” conversation very well. In fact, take a giant step back. Give that kid some space. Set the example. Instead of opening with what you think, the conversation should start with what they think about their schedule.

Teach Them To Self-Evaluate

Teaching teens to self-evaluate their To Do list is crucial. It is likely they already know what isn’t working, what they don’t really love doing, and what is getting in the way but they lack the skills to know what to do about it. Teens are often focused on letting you down so help them know it is going to be okay and that you pare their schedule down together.

The Power Of A Well-Placed, “No.”

Any time management guru will tell you one of the keys to success is knowing how and when to say, “No.” There is this crazy idea that saying yes is important to success. The truth is it is just the opposite. A well-placed no allows you to focus on what is already on your plate and avoid mistakes. Teaching your teens to say no also teaches them how to set boundaries. Saying no is healthy.

Delay Gratification

Next time your teen comes to you with, “Can I?” you need to firmly respond, “No, because you are already committed to ____.” By giving them a reason for your no, you teach them that you respect their schedule. They may really want the thing they are asking for but teenagers are still in that instant gratification stage. As you add the “because you are already committed,” you are reinforcing their need to finish those projects before taking on more. Teaching them delayed gratification will help them navigate the real world.

Be Real And Teach Them To Be Real Too

We have all had the experience of telling that little white lie, “Yes your shirt/dress/hair looks nice,” when it really doesn’t. We do not want to hurt feelings and have feelings hurt. However, this is not real. It is okay to say, “You know this was not my favorite thing you have written,” or whatever is appropriate for the situation. The little white lie is false praise which only teaches your teen every outcome is positive. It breeds entitlement and a false sense of self.

Communicate

Sounds easy, doesn’t it? But you do have a teenager so sometimes what you thought was communication isn’t. Each teen is different so it may take some time to figure out what method of communication works best for this child —because what works best for you or another child might not be best with this one—is worth the effort. Maybe you just need a quick few minutes each day, maybe once a week to go over your teen’s schedule. Perhaps this teen needs to not talk about it at all so an online schedule is better.

No matter the method, do not force your teen to communicate their schedule in a way they are not comfortable with. Remember this is about teaching them what works for them while you remain entirely flexible to their needs. It probably means you need to take another deep breath too.

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