Is Your Teen Feeling the Social Distancing Blues?

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Today’s teens grew up on social media, and most people expected them to cope well with the lockdown and social distancing measures in place to combat the coronavirus pandemic. However, adults seem to have forgotten that we are most social when we were in our teens. This is the time we formed friend groups that we would eventually take with us to adulthood.

If you’re parenting a teen during this pandemic, you might have noticed that their behavior and attitude change as the weeks (and months) pass without any clear indication of when they could see their friends again. Many have reported feeling more anxious during the lockdowns and quarantines than they have in their young lives.

Here are some ways you can help them cope and deal with the uncertainty:

Assess Yourself

Before you can deal with your adolescent child’s anxiety, you have to deal with yours. How calm are you? Figure out your own mental wellness. If you feel that you are more anxious than usual, try meditation exercises. Take an online yoga class or go on a walking workout around your neighborhood.

Your children, regardless of age, are looking up to you for guidance during the quarantine period. Taking care of your mental and emotional well-being will ensure that you are able to take care of theirs.

Maintain a Daily Routine

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As quarantine orders were put in place, parents were reminded of teaching roles. You must have found yourself suddenly struggling to juggle your work with their schoolwork. It’s not an easy task. To become more organized, stick to a daily routine. Think about their bedtimes and waking up times while they were still going to school and stick to them as much as you can.

While some international secondary schools have re-opened and have started welcoming students back on campus, many still encourage remote learning. Work with your teen’s school to set a schedule of classes if you’re still homeschooling. The routine will be good for your teen, as it would even make them feel as if they’re still going to school.

On a side note, talk to your teen and ask them how they feel about returning to school. Most of them would more likely be excited at the idea of seeing their friends again, so make sure the conversation you have deals with following the safety precautions the school has established.

Set Aside Time for Leisure

Just as they would have recess, a lunch hour, and a free period at school to do what they want, you should do the same at home. Set aside time where they would be open to doing what they want, and, if possible, join them.

What does your teen enjoy doing? See if there’s a way to tweak their favorite pastime, so everyone in the family can enjoy it. During quarantine, many families have taken to the trends and challenges in some mobile apps, regardless of age. For example, TikTok has become a new family-friendly activity, enjoyed by the young and old alike.

Leisure time is essential because it helps teens (and you) recharge mentally and emotionally. Things could be tedious at school or at work, but having a good time with your family will have many benefits.

Do a Social Media Detox Challenge

Alternatively, you and your teen can do a social media detox together. Turn it into a challenge. Set a deadline. Go two weeks without any use of social media and set a prize. The loser has to clean the winner’s bedroom, for example. Or the loser has to cook the winner’s favorite meal. Think of unique ways to make winning the challenge worthwhile.

Meanwhile, take the time to really connect with your teenager. Consider the time they would typically spend browsing Twitter or Facebook mindlessly and turn it into a bonding moment. While it’s good to be informed of current events, it’s also good to shut it off every now and then and just enjoy your loved one’s presence.

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