Anxiety Parenting

How To Help Your Teen Manage Morning Anxiety

As adults, some mornings getting out of bed isn’t easy and it’s mainly because of our massive to-do lists. Commonly, [and especially] for working moms, there’s a list for “work” and another equally, extensive list for “home” (i.e. car maintenance, domestic stuff, the kids schedules, etc.).

Many parents experience anxiety related procrastination, which can be more intense on Monday mornings, sometimes starting as early as Sunday. It’s no surprise that teens often feel the same way about school as we feel about work.

Although the stress is completely justified, there are ways to stave-off that familiar jolt of panic that hits during the first moments of the day.

Morning anxiety prevention actually starts the night before.

Here are a few tips that can help your teen fend-off morning anxiety.

  1. Don’t allow your teen to sleep with their phone.

Broken sleep and waking up with the phone right next to their head, experts find that doing so can jeopardize sleep quality, and cause more anxiety.

Before mandating that all phones be put in a separate room at bedtime, brace yourself for all the ‘attitude’ coming your way.

While trying to implement this in my own home, one excuse was, “But mom, I need my phone because I use the alarm to wake up in the morning”. Here are a couple of solutions designed specifically for this excuse: (1) Buy an old-school clock and put the phone in another room, or (2) Put the phone on airplane mode. This way they won’t get any alerts from Instagram but the alarm will still sound when it’s time to get up in the morning.

2. Share the benefits of writing down stressful thoughts before bed.

The thoughts that flood our minds in the morning might actually be leftover from the night before. Research shows that writing down what’s on your mind before you go to bed can help you let go of those thoughts, and set yourself up for success the following day.

Teach your child to take a few minutes before bedtime to jot down the worries running through their head, whether it’s big or small. This way they’ll also be able to see what’s causing them stress.

3. Help your teen to recognize time-zappers, especially during study time.

Mastering solid time management skills are extremely important for adolescents. Have them to make a list of the usual deflections (social media, TV, gaming,Youtube, oversleeping, etc.).

Next, allow your teen to decide how to organize time spent on each (making necessary edits of course). Since Sunday is technically a school night, restraint with those time-zappers should be practiced Sunday through Thursday. Emphasize the benefits of self-control and delayed gratification which are all extraordinary, transferrable life-skills.

4. Teach Time Management Techniques.

Time management is a tough skill for many adults and teens alike to master. But once a teen has the techniques they need to properly manage what needs to be done, they are far less likely to procrastinate.

Calendar updates. This one works like a charm for my family. In today’s world, kids are practically glued to their phones, but this dependency can be used to their advantage.

Starting in middle school, tweens should add daily assignments and upcoming exams into their cell phone calendar from their school planner every night.

Preparing for school the night before could be the single most important task on this list. Remind them to put everything they need in one pile so they don’t have to check again in the morning.

5. The key to success is preparation.

Encourage a habit of checking the weather report for the following day so they can get a better idea of how they should dress.

If you have a daughter who dresses according to how she ‘feels’, it’d be a good idea to have her get her clothes out for the entire week. This way if she has a mood swing in the morning, there are four additional outfits ready to go. This will save a ton of time and frustration in the morning. Trust me, I know.

At some point we all experience some level of anxiety but, if we can reduce or avoid it, why not?! It’s just preventative maintenance.

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