Building and maintaining organization and time management skills become increasingly important as children transition into adolescence. With many competing interests like school work, extracurricular activities, time with friends, and home responsibilities, teens can begin to feel an overwhelming sense of pressure if they don’t have the skills and habits in place to manage their time effectively.
Consistency and structure are essential for achieving goals
Teenager’s prefrontal cortexes are not yet mature, meaning the part of the brain that adults use to solve problems and think through a situation rationally is still developing. Immature prefrontal cortexes can lead to risky behavior, boundary testing, and inconsistent behavior. Because of this, it is especially important that you help your teen create a structure that can help her thrive.
Having consistent routines in teenager’s lives provides a structure to help them achieve their goals. There are numerous psychological and emotional benefits to creating and maintaining routines including creating a sense of stability and safety, strengthening relationships, developing responsibility, and building a time management skill set.
Before developing a routine for success, it’s important for you and your teen to begin with the end in mind. What are her goals? What are her values? Where is she hoping to be in the next 5 years? It’s common for teenagers not to know the answers to these questions immediately, so work with your daughter to create a personal mission statement; this mission statement will work as a road map to guide decision making and priorities.
Once you and your daughter have outlined her goals and values, the next step in creating a goal-driven schedule for success is prioritizing. By putting the most important things first, your daughter will learn not only time management skills but how to live according to her values. For example, if her goal is to get into a high caliber university but she knows she needs to get her SAT scores up, choosing to put a prep class ahead of going to the mall with her friends on a Saturday afternoon teaches her to align her activities with her goals.
After priorities have been identified, start to work with your teen to create a concrete schedule that they can maintain. This process does not need to happen all at once, start small and allow there to be many parts of the process. For example, you could start by discussing your daughter’s morning routine because this is the part of the day where she feels angry and stressed. Once a consistent morning routine has been established, you can move on to other parts of the day. As you discuss these ideas with your teen, have her write her schedule out keeping in mind that this is a living document that can be changed. Be sure to encourage and support “me” time in the schedule that allows for rest, play or relaxation to avoid burnout.
When a schedule has been developed, ask your teen how you can best support her in maintaining her schedule and achieving her goals. Would it be helpful for you to offer her reminders, or would she benefit more from independently completing her schedule? Lastly, monitor progress together. Check in with how she is doing and what is and isn’t working. This should be an ongoing conversation as new priorities and challenges emerge.
Solstice East can help set your daughter up for success
Solstice East is a groundbreaking residential treatment center for girls ages 14-17 that emphasizes the mind-body connection in our unique approach to holistic healthcare. Our world-class programming empowers young women to believe in themselves by providing the tools, support, and motivation necessary to instill these lifelong beliefs.
For more information about how Solstice East can help please call 828-484-9946.