The struggle is real folks. Teens love their sleep and motivating in the mornings can prove to be quite the challenge. Even though your student is a virtual learner, they still shouldn’t sleep the day away. If you are like many parents and have a hard time getting your teen up and motivated for the day, try some of these tips and hopefully your mornings will start to improve and become less stressful!
Encourage your teen to prep the night before.
Are there things that your teen typically puts off until the morning and then they are stressed and rushed? Something as simple as having your teen complete their coursework before bed can reduce stress and anxiety in the morning. Do you leave the home to work while your teen stays home to do their schooling? Ask them to make their lunch the night before and make sure everything is in order for the following day. You can relate this task to going to bed with a clean house versus a dirty one. When you have taken the time to do the dishes, clean up after dinner, and have everything in order, when you wake up the next day, you are fresh and ready to go. You aren’t playing catch up from the day before. Same goes for your student. If their “house” is in order, their morning will run smoother and they’ll be ready for whatever the new day brings.
Keep your teen’s morning straight to the point.
Avoid adding extra tasks to your teen’s plate early in the morning. When they prep the night before, the morning should be fairly routine and easy going. Unless something is urgent, try adding extra chores or things to their to-do list for the evening or weekends. Your teen could be grumpy in the morning and just like all of us, we don’t like it when we’re thrown a curve ball or have another expectation thrown on us when we are still waking up and getting ready for our day.
Encourage a reasonable bedtime.
It’s hard to get your teens to stick to a bedtime like they could when they were younger. Often times you may think they are sleeping but they are in bed on their phone or watching TV. When they are up late, it makes getting up in the morning that much more of a struggle. Your teen should aim to get an average of 8 hours of sleep per night so encourage them to go to sleep and wake up at roughly the same time each day. This may not always be reasonable, depending on what’s going on in your lives, particularly on the weekends, but when you sleep and wake at the same time your body regulates and is working at its prime.
Let your teen make their schedule.
Being responsible about time management is a skill that is crucial for teens, especially teens that learn virtually. Distractions are abundant at home so it’s important to be aware of the time that is required to complete their coursework. The need to be able to tune out their surroundings and carve out the time needed to complete their schooling daily. Time management is an important skill that will be used for the remainder of their life so it’s best they learn about it now, while under your roof. Have your teen use an alarm clock so that they are responsible for waking themselves up. If they feel groggy in the morning and are not up to making themselves breakfast, give them some recipes for things that are easy and can be prepped ahead of time. Things such as overnight oats, breakfast burritos, or omelettes in a mug are things that require very little time in the morning yet will give them energy throughout the morning.
Make a checklist.
Try creating a morning responsibilities checklist for your teen. It will reroute their morning and set them on the right path for the day. If they struggle with time management, you could have their checklist accompanied by times of when those tasks should be completed. Have some extra time built in so if something takes longer than anticipated or something unexpectedly gets added to their morning routine, they don’t stress.
These two simple tasks have a BIG impact on a person’s day. When you make your bed, you are programming your brain to know it’s time for the day to start and you aren’t tempted to hit the sheets and crawl back into bed. It sets the stage for your day. The same thing goes for getting dressed. Although your teen could stay in their pajamas for virtual school, ask them to get dressed for the day. It changes their mindset and they will be more productive throughout the day.
Virtual learning is wonderful and students enjoy learning at home, in a comforting, relaxed environment. Just make sure that your teen isn’t sleeping the day away and then cramming everything into the evening. Cramming like that adds to stress and could put them behind. Following a routine as if they were attending a traditional school will help them with developing crucial time management skills and prep them with the life skills they’ll need once they graduate high school.