Last week we fell off the bandwagon. The kids slept in later and later, my husband and I went to bed later and later, lunch was a maybe, dinner wasn't happening until 7 or 8pm...and we felt it. We were all out of sorts, not sure what to do with ourselves (even though there was lots to be done) and getting on each other's nerves because of it. So this week, we are pulling our socks up; we are dialing the routine back in so that we can be out best selves.
Now my kids haven't hit their teen years (yet) but I teach teens and I know that there is a lot of sleeping in going on these days. And while there's nothing wrong with a good sleep in, not having a routine is hard on the human brain. You see, we're wired for patterns - our brains seek out patterns (and connection!) all the time. When you remove familiar patterns, the brain isn't quite sure what to do and it gets discombobulated (I love that word). And, friends? Discombobulated brains are grumpy brains. Ugh. No one wants a grumpy teen (or tween, or husband, or toddler, really).
I created the graphic above to help you help your tween or teen add some routine in to their days. You might want to start by getting their butts out of bed a bit earlier, then feed them a healthy breakfast, before helping them set up their list of Need To Dos and Want to Dos for the day. I like this structure because it's basically a grown-up version of a "First...Then...Next" - first, I do something that I NEED to do, then I do something I WANT to do, next, back to another NEED to do. This helps teens learn healthy, productive work habits that will serve them well as they grow older and it provides a sense of control for those kids that are prone to anxiety. If you have a child who struggles with executive functioning skills (attention, focus, organization, planning), you may need to use a First-Then-Next structure or you may need to help them lay their day out in time blocks to be sure everything gets done.
I was up nice and early this morning and I can tell you that I already feel better - more energized and ready to face the day, rather than sluggish and searching for caffeine. My kids will be up shortly and we'll lay out our days together, building in time for work and time for play. Now that's a routine I can get behind!
I'm Bryn, teacher, mom, book lover, athlete. I am passionate about living life with my family, teaching and learning something new all the time. I hope you find something that speaks to you here on my blog and would love to hear from you too!