Making a Family Calendar: Teens
By GetParentingTips.com staff
Read Time: 5 Minutes
Parents of teens know that their activities never seem to stop. Between homework, sports, studying, family activities, chores, and time with friends, teens are always busy. It's a lot to balance. So how do you make sure they're prioritizing the stuff that's important to them and to you?
Making a family calendar can help keep teens - and everyone else in your family - on track. Teens benefit from knowing what to expect and having reliable family rituals. In this article, we'll show you some ideas for setting up a family calendar that might help everyone.
Setting a Schedule
Start with Your Daily Family Routine
Deciding how detailed you want your family calendar to be is a personal decision. Some families schedule every daily task, while others make a general plan for what will happen during the week.
Teens might seem like they are almost adults, but most could use some help in achieving the self-discipline they will need to be successful as young adults. You want to create a daily schedule for teens that helps them prioritize getting enough rest and getting their homework and any chores done. Making (and sticking to) a daily family routine gives teens the structure they need to succeed in school and prepares them to create routines on their own later in life.
Sleep has a huge effect on a teenager's moods. You may notice that your teens are more irritable, short-tempered, and vulnerable to stress when they don't get enough sleep. You can help prevent this by encouraging your teen to go to bed at a reasonable time.
Teens Need a Sleeping Schedule
Teens need 8-10 hours of sleep each night, and most teens aren't getting enough. Sleep plays a big role in brain development and affects behavior. When teens don't sleep enough, it can affect them negatively. They may be grouchy and have a harder time learning. They are also at higher risk for motor vehicle accidents if they are driving. So how can you help your teen get enough sleep?
Set the alarm.
Waking up early enough and at a consistent time makes mornings easier and makes sure teens have enough time to get ready before school.
Support regular exercise.
Physical activity can help teens (and adults) sleep better at night.
Help them avoid caffeine.
Encourage your teen to skip sodas, coffee, tea, and other caffeinated beverages after dinner. Some people find it harder to fall asleep if they have caffeine any time after lunch!
Create a wind-down routine.
Teens should stop looking at electronic devices and stay away from bright lights at least an hour before bedtime. Suggest that your teen take a warm shower, listen to relaxing music or a podcast, or read a book - whatever helps them transition, relax, and get ready for bed.
Remember that bedtimes matter.
They might complain, but encourage your teens to go to bed around the same time every night, even on weekends.
Melatonin - one of the hormones that regulates sleep- is released later in the evening for teens than it is for adults and younger children. That's one of the reasons teens often like staying up so late!
Make Meals Part of Your Family Routine
Meals are an important part of everyone's daily routine.
If it's possible with your family's schedule, try to eat meals around the same times every day, and encourage kids to eat healthy snacks at the same times each day. Serve water with meals, and limit drinks like soda, milk, and juice.
If you can, eat meals together as a family. Consider having everyone put their phones away, and turn off the television. Gather around the table and take turns talking about your day.
Let your teen help.
Ask your teen to plan a dinner, go to the grocery store, and cook for the family - it's not just helpful for the family, it's also good training for when your teen becomes an adult! Kids of all ages are much more likely to try new foods when they help choose and cook them.
Just do your best.
Encourage your teen to eat a balanced mix of foods, but don't try to force teens to eat things they don't like.
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Plan Your Family Schedule for the Week
After you've planned your daily family routine, focus on the bigger goals for the week. Make a list of the things that need to get done. This might include doing the laundry, going to doctor's appointments, grocery shopping, sports practices, and family time.
Sit down with your teen and other family members to make a plan for the week ahead. Decide who will do each task and when it will get done. Go over the plan and make sure your teen understands what's expected of him (or her).
Fill the calendar.
Assign the tasks on a family calendar. You could use a paper calendar, a dry-erase white board, or a shared calendar app that everyone can see on their phone. Apps are handy because everyone in the family has access to the family calendar, so they can see their tasks and make changes if necessary. Apps can also offer digital reminders in case anyone (parents, teenagers, or both!) forgets something.
Schedule time for fun.
Don't forget to create family rituals and put them on your family calendar. Maybe Tuesday night is Hamburger Night or Sunday afternoons are for exploring new parks. Choose activities that your family likes to do together. These family rituals make great memories, too!
Getting some exercise every day has mental and physical benefits for both parents and teens, and it's something you can do together. Go jogging, do yoga in the living room, find an exercise class on an app or YouTube, or walk the dog! Whatever you all enjoy.
Each evening, look at your family calendar and see what's coming up for the next day. Be sure everyone is in the know so their responsibilities are fresh in their minds.
Help each other out.
On days when things get crazy, like when you have to work late or there's a last-minute errand after school, call on friends or family for help. Make sure they know they can call you when they need help!
Download a printable Family Schedule.
Teens do best when they can rely on structured family routines, and consistency is key. Just as you probably try to be consistent with family rules around things like homework, grades, and discipline, try hard to stick to your family calendar.
Don't worry if things sometimes get off track or some chores don't get done. It's life! Just do the best you can. Know that by making a daily schedule for teens, you're setting up yourself and your teen for success.
For More Information
Download and print Enjoy Time Together at Home, a helpful tip sheet from our parenting resources.