Helping Teens and Tweens Survive During Quarantine Time
Posted April 7, 2020 by Prairie Wife -
As hard as this quarantine time is on adults, I think it’s safe to say it’s equally hard, if not harder for our Teens and Tweens.
Teens and tweens are working hard to grow away from their parents (which while hard is 100% what they are supposed to be doing).
Yet, here they are stuck for weeks (and maybe months) with us.
Add to that, the perfectly normal mood swings and heightened emotions that come along with teens and tweens, and it’s a recipe for disaster.
First, let me say DO NOT think that I have not completely lost it on my kids over the last almost four weeks of quarantine.
It has not been all sunshine, rainbow-filled hikes, family game night, and homeschool work turned in early and correctly done.
It’s only because I HAVE 100% lost my cool and made things worse that I feel confident sharing these tips.
Implementing these things into our lives has, without a doubt, eased the stress of this time for all of us and hopefully will do the same for your family.
- Alone Time: When you are all together for days and days on end it’s important to allow EVERYONE to have alone time. Time for everyone to spread out in their own space and just be quiet. I’d encourage these times to involve no tech, so that it truly is a break from the world.
- Big Kid ONLY Time: The Cowkids range in age from 14-5 so the older kids more often than not have to deal with Disney cartoons and imaginary play. Setting aside a few times a week for “Big Kid ONLY Time” like a movie the little ones can’t watch or letting the older kids play a board game or tech with no little ones around, helps make things more bearable.
- Interaction With Friends: As much as you are missing your tribe, so are your teens and tweens. Each day I encourage my older kids to reach out to a friend via text or even better FaceTime. Ensure this time is private so they can vent and complain with no judgment or hurt feelings. For younger children without a phone, we’ve enjoyed using the Messenger Kids App.
- Get Them Out of Their Room: Even though they are reading or playing something quietly alone in their room, I find that if I don’t make them leave…my teen and tween can spend the entire day in there! At least once a day, I kick them out and make them play with their siblings or help cook…or do something. It usually starts with eye rolls and dragging feet (which I ignore) and ends with everyone having fun.
- Let Them Be In Charge: Teens and Tweens are wanting more autonomy (control of their lives), and being restricted to their home turf for weeks on end is miserable for them. So, let them take control and make plans. Put them in charge of planning and making a meal start to finish (with help only when they ask) each week. Let them direct the physical activity for the day, or ask them to help you create a long term schedule or plan for your family. Or even, let them be boss for the day. Keep your mouth shut even when you see a path headed for disaster (unless someone could be hurt) and let them learn from the experience.
- Let Them Safely Express Their Emotions: If your teen or tween is having a rough day, telling them to “get over it” isn’t going to be helpful. Instead, let them vent (in a respectful way), share their fears and concerns, and then help them find a healthy way to calm down. This may be just crying with them and explaining you get it, but this is life now. Or it could mean encouraging them to start finding healthy ways like running, listening to music, or journaling to deal with anxiety and stress.
- Offer Organization Tips: Homeschool/Distance Learning is new for all of us. But, it can be really hard for scatterbrained Teens and Tweens to keep track of all the due dates and zoom times. Now is the perfect time to teach them how to create a weekly/daily schedule and map out how they can best stay on top of their work. This is a MAJOR life skill!
- Grit and Grace for All: Now is a time where we are all called to dig in deep and find the grit to make the best of this super crappy situation. And, it’s equally the right time to offer yourself and your family a bit of grace. One afternoon off or letting a tearful Tween step away from assignments for an hour or two watching Netflix isn’t going to ruin everything.
And last but not least, breathe.
When dealing with emotional Teens and Tweens the “pause and breathe” is the best tool we have.
Remember you’re the adult, and try not to get caught up in the emotion of the moment.
Those of you who also have Tweens and Teens, do YOU have any tips or tricks?