The teenage (and tween-age!) years are times of great change. There’s a lot going on. From new schools and new friends, to new responsibilities, pressures and expectations.
Having a predictable routine and daily things to ‘accomplish’ can help kids of all ages feel more grounded, secure and happy. Routine charts are also a great way to help our kids take responsibility for parts of their day, and feel good about it! Win, Win, Win!
Doing the chart dance…
Tips for getting your tween or teen on board
- Whatever you do, play it cool, man! Chances are they’ve been getting busier with homework, activities and friends. Say you’ve noticed that.
- Praise a few things they already do well, without being asked and say that with more on their plate, being organised is an awesome skill to have.
- Explain that to help keep on top of stuff, without stress, daily charts can be really handy to have. Show them the chart and gauge their ‘willingness’! If it’s not immediate, ask them to think about what they could put on it and come back to it in a day or so.
- If they’re into it, strike while the iron is hot! Chat about the things they need time for most days, or what they’d like to be putting more energy into, and emphasise the downtime aspect. This is hugely important for teens’ development and wellbeing and it’s easy to overlook.
- Keep it realistic. If your tween/teen is new to routines, add just a few activities to the chart for the first week (or three). You can always add to it over time.
- For all kids, we’d suggest agreeing on at least one (max three) household jobs they can help with each day/week. Let them know what a great help that is, and slip in that having chores as a young person tends to make us more successful adults. (It’s true.. research has found a correlation!)
- If you have an artistic child who’d like to create their own chart – go for it.
- Finally, choose a cool spot for them to keep the chart. Ideally somewhere visible in ‘their’ space, so they’ll have ownership and see it each day, but you can see it too. That’ll make it easier to chat about and praise them. A special pin-board or message-board is a great option.
- We’d suggest ‘trying out’ the daily chart for a week, then reviewing it. That way you can both tweak it as you need to – there’s nothing worse than feeling like you’ve failed the first time around.
- On that note, notch up the encouragement! Praise them for trying this out (even if adjustments need to be made), praise them when you see them doing an activity, looking at or completing their chart, and anything else you can think of! Let them know how much you appreciate their help. As well as boosting your relationship, being kind is great for your wellbeing too. And a vital note: If you lose interest, they will as well!
Incentives and rewards
As you’ve probably discovered, tweens and teens are incredibly talented at asking: ‘What’s in it for me?’ So be prepared! What no (or low) cost rewards could you offer? What might appeal to them? We recommend they choose from a list you provide, adding a new item or two over time, as agreed by you.
Your list might include:
- A ‘stay up later’ night
- A chai latte date with you or a friend
- A movie night in (with popcorn or a treat)
- An activity you like to do together, whether it’s mountain biking, doing your nails, going for a hike, reading magazines or sleeping on pillows in the lounge.
- Having extra time with a friend (or a sleepover)
- Getting something new for their room – a cushion, noticeboard
- Some pocket money – perhaps combine this with an online bank account so they can ‘learn’ about saving (but don’t make this the focus!).
Finally, encourage your teen to take ownership. This is their chart – not yours. And tell them how great it is that they’re leading the way.
Where you can, be positive, interested and encouraging – supporting their efforts as much as the results. Nope… they won’t do things to the same standard you might, or in the order you would. And yes… they’re likely to forget things, skip things and not always get it right. (Hell, who does!)
Rather than focus on the slips, help them regroup and get back into it. It’s a great chance to teach them perseverance and that ongoing effort is more important than obsessing with perfection.
Download our routine chart for tweens & teens.
If you’re after extra tips and tricks, there are some awesome parenting groups focused on building a strong relationship and positive routines with your child, tween or teen. Check out our course guide – there are heaps available!