It’s recommended that teens get around 8 – 9.5 hours of sleep each night. However, the vast majority of teens end up getting much less.
Sleep deprivation in teens can impact their grades, weaken their immune system, and even bring on depression or anxiety.
If you’re worried your teen isn’t getting enough sleep, here’s what to do!
Make Their Bedroom a Tech-Free Zone:
It’s not uncommon for teens to check their phone or social media accounts in the middle of the night when they can’t sleep. It may feel like the best idea at the moment, but that is far from the truth.
Eventually, they’ll need to learn how to wind down and fall back asleep on their own. If their devices are too distracting, encourage them to turn them off before bed, or even place them in a different room.
Stay Away From The Caffeine:
We all respond to caffeine slightly differently. However, a good rule of thumb is to avoid caffeine after 3 PM. The effects of caffeine can last for many hours and make it that much harder for your teen to fall asleep.
Of course, we’re all human, and things do pop up from time to time. But maintaining a consistent bedtime routine can be very helpful.
Encourage your teen to step away from the television and get ready for bed around the same time every night. Several studies have shown that going to sleep at the same time every night can help us fall asleep faster and prevent tossing and turning.Learn More
Accept Your Feelings:
No one ever said being a teen was easy. Everything from grades to friends to family can be a lot. Coronavirus is bringing on a whole new set of challenges for teens all over the world. Teens can no longer go to school, see their friends, or even attend prom.
No matter what you’re feeling right now, go ahead and feel it. Avoiding your feelings will only prolong them. Feelings are not facts and are nothing to be ashamed of.
Control What You Can:
There are so many things in life right now out of our control. We can’t control what’s happening in the world or when things will get “back to normal.”
But we can control our thoughts and actions. If social media brings on stress, cut back on your screen time.
Or, if you’re struggling to complete an assignment, reach out to your teacher and see if there is anything they can do to help.
Say Goodbye To Perfectionism:
Social media is a fantastic way to keep in touch with friends and family all over the world. However, it can also open up the perfectionism and comparison door. Most people tend to spotlight their best moments on social media. But at the end of the day, you never know what someone else is going through. None of us are perfect.
Just because one bad thing happened today doesn’t mean the entire day is ruined. When life gets busy, we can often forget to appreciate the little things.
Here’s some homework for you. Tonight before you go to bed, take just 5 minutes to practice gratitude. What went well today? Did you have a delicious dinner? Did you discover a new TV show? Did you get a good mark on a test?
There is always something to be grateful for.
You are so much stronger than you think, and we will get through this together.Learn More
Spending Time with Your Children?
If you have children, getting yourself and them through the morning, afternoon and evening routine can be crazy hard! I bet you still find time to worry you’re not spending enough quality time with your children.
No doubt you go full throttle from the moment you wake until your head plops on the pillow, hardly having time to stop and smell the espresso. You’re doing the best you can, yet every once in a while do you ask yourself, “Am I giving them enough?”
We know that it is imperative for a child’s healthy development to experience emotional connection and presence from you, their parents. When you talk and interact in a way that allows them to direct the play, it contributes to healthy self-esteem and a sense of closeness with you. This creates an internal sense of safety and security because they experience you as accessible and available.
Will Children Ever Have Enough of Your Time?
From their perspective, no. Your children will almost always want more time then you could ever give them. They will almost always be disappointed when play time with you is over.
This is good news! It means you’re doing a good job somewhere because they want you.
However, when you’ve given all you can and they seem disappointed, what can you do?
20 Minutes: The Magic Number
There has been enough research into what creates a healthy internal sense of self for us to know the bottom line. The magic number is twenty. Twenty minutes per day of non-directed play. If you can deposit twenty minutes of your attention – that is twenty minutes of non-goal-oriented time every day, they will have a strong chance of developing that important internal sense of secure attachment.
Four Easy Ways to Find 20 Minutes a Day:
- Remember it is the process of play, not the product that is key. Adults commonly want an objective, a goal, to win or encourage the child to win. Forget about all that and focus on the process of the play. It’s about time together, not a goal or project.
- Make a big deal out of turning off your phone, laptop, tablet and the TV.
- Set an alarm for twenty minutes you both know it really is twenty minutes.
- When the time is over, transition into something else they will enjoy. Dinner time, movie time, storytime. Do this and the transition will be easier for everyone.
by Csilla Vegvari, child therapist at Bellevue Family Counseling.