How to Help Teens Manage Their Busy Schedules
“Mom, may I please skip ballet class this evening so I can do my school work and pack for our trip?”
This was the first thing my daughter asked me when we sat down to start school this morning.
At fourteen, she’s got a fairly pretty busy evening schedule with three nights of ballet classes. Her schedule will only get more hectic as co-op classes start soon. She’ll add three days of outside classes to her already busy schedule.
I know she’s not the only high schooler with a jam-packed schedule. So, how can we, as parents, help our teens manage their busy schedules?
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First of all, know that my answer to the above question is NO. I did not let her skip ballet class to get her stuff done. She knew all week that we were going out of town. Instead of working ahead on her lessons (so she didn’t have to do school in the car), she chose to binge watch NCIS, hang with the neighbor, and FaceTime her bestie.
I have put measures in place to help my daughter budget her time, but ultimately it’s up to her to stay on top of everything. Here’s a peek at what we do.
Have a master schedule.
We have a master schedule. It’s a giant planner that sits on my desk. I list all ballet classes, co-op classes, doctor’s appointments, and other outside commitments on the master planner.
You may choose to put yours on a kitchen counter or print out a schedule to put on the fridge. Either way, having everything written down in one central location gives everyone, not just teens, an idea of what the upcoming week or month looks like.
Give your teen a planner.
One of the first things on my son’s back-to-college supply list was a planner. He has discovered how helpful it is to have everything written down in one place.
My daughter also has a planner. Each weekend, she grabs the master planner off of my desk and fills in the upcoming week in hers.
Your teen’s planner doesn’t have to be anything fancy. My son found an inexpensive student planner at Target. My daughter went for one she can customize with stickers and washi tape (like me).
There are many free printable planners available online, as well. The point is to have a place where your teen is responsible for tracking their commitments – sports, assignments, appointments, etc.
Have a checklist.
In addition to tracking her weekly commitments, my daughter also has a daily checklist. It reminds her to do her physical therapy exercises, drink water, do her chores, and check her planner for homework (from co-op).
The checklist is for things that are recurring on a daily, or almost-daily, basis. Like her momma, my girl likes to check boxes when she completes tasks. So, I have printed out her list and laminated it for her. You could easily write a quick list on a post-it note or in a spiral notebook.
Better yet, have your teens write their checklists. Again, it’s all about giving them a look at everything that needs to be accomplished so they can manage their time.
Let them go.
With all of their systems in place, it is now up to your teens to schedule their days in a way that will allow them to tackle all that needs to be done in a timely manner. Mine knows that ballet class isn’t optional. If she’s asked to take them and I’ve paid for them, she’s going. The same goes for co-op. Those are her non-negotiable items on her weekly to-do.
From there, it’s up to her. She is pretty good about making sure she checks everything off of her daily checklist. However, if she doesn’t keep up with her assignments and/or her chores and exercises, she knows she’ll sacrifice a last-minute invite to the mall (or she’ll be doing school in the car on the way to grandma’s house).
What do you do to help your teens manage their busy schedules?
Tara is wife to Matt and homeschool momma of three. Her children are 21, 16, and 11 – two boys and one girl. She is currently homeschooling her daughter – 6th grade. When she’s not blogging, Tara enjoys crocheting and snuggling up with a good book. She and her family recently moved from Texas to Ohio, and they’re having fun exploring their new surroundings. She blogs about homeschooling, motherhood, and family life on both of her blogs – Homeschool Preschool and Teaching with Children's Books.