Getting teenagers into a routine is a topic that frequently comes up in my discussions with parents of teenagers. And especially so around exams and during the recent coronavirus homeschooling / lockdown periods. It can be hard to know when to just leave teenagers to it and when to be more directive.
The answer (as so often) is probably somewhere in the middle – exactly where in the middle will depend on your teenager’s maturity, temperament and motivation.
The great thing about routines is that they can help to establish positive habits. Things like getting up in the morning, getting homework done, exercising regularly and helping out around the house. When you are in a consistent routine, tasks become closer to a habit than a chore. For teenagers, routines help them to develop self-discipline and can help reduce repeated conflict around contentious issues.
I am delighted to introduce you to my new book The Work/Parent Switch: How to parent smarter not harder which is published by Vermilion. The aim of the book is to empower working parents to build a family life which is low on conflict, high in warmth and good for children’s development. So you can be the parent your child needs, and still do your job. It is the essential parenting book for every working parent who wants to enjoy their family life more, shout a little less and raise happy, successful children.
What is the book about?
Most working parents feel like we are running just to stand still. We want to be good parents. We want to get parenting ‘right’. We do everything we can to smooth our children’s paths and give them a good start in life. But we have limited time, limited energy and too much to do. Something has to give.
This book moves the goalposts. It’s about being a great parent by doing less, rather than always trying to do more. Parenting smarter rather than harder, by understanding what children really need from us. So we can use those bits of time left over when work is done to focus on the right things – connecting with our children and creating a happy family life.
The Work/Parent Switch outlines a totally practical way to parent actual children (not ideal ones!) in real families. It will give you strategies that fit into modern working patterns and which build happiness and well-being for the whole family – without stretching you to breaking point. So you can build a family life in which you and your children can truly thrive. Continue reading →
Mornings can be hellish for parents with young children. Tantrums, lost shoes, last minute costume requests – getting everyone out of the house on time can feel like herding uncooperative cats. There is so much to do and so little time and being late is not an option. And parenting strategies that work at other times of the day can be useless when there is a deadline. So can anything be done to avoid morning meltdowns?!
Avoid them 100%? No, probably not. Avoid them most of the time? Yes. As long as you are prepared to step back, reflect on what is currently going on and try something different.
Parents, like children, are creatures of habit and we tend to revert to the same behaviour every day (despite lots of evidence telling us it isn’t working). And then resort to nagging, yelling and emotional blackmail when it doesn’t work (again). Even minor misbehaviour is more difficult to handle when you are stressed and irritable and worried about being late.
So if you are feeling the need to rethink your morning routine, here’s a few thoughts to get you started. Continue reading →
It is very normal for young children to experience separation anxiety when being left by a parent. Separation anxiety tends to emerge at about 8-12 months old and can be very intense (especially between the ages of 18 months and 3 years).
Typical behaviour includes crying and clinging and signs of distress when a parent moves out of sight or just too far away. Sometimes children cling to just one parent – this can be exhausting and emotionally draining for that parent and feel like a rejection for the excluded parent.
Here are a few tips that might help if your little one is experiencing separation anxiety. Continue reading →
There is nothing like a long Back to School ‘To Do’ list for bringing you down to earth after a relaxing summer holiday. Clunk!
But is it just me or is the back to school prep starting earlier and earlier? (I’m sure those discount emails for new school uniform started arriving at the beginning of June this year!) This summer I teamed up with children’s haircare brand Vosene Kids to find out exactly how many hours parents are spending on back to school preparations.
It turns out that UK parents spend a staggering 10 days preparing for a new school year – that’s 10 days of shopping for school shoes and book bags, sewing name labels into uniform (in the vain hope that new jumper might get returned when it’s abandoned in the school field….), arranging back to school haircuts and those expensive trips to the stationer’s for a new pencil case, pens, pencils, rulers, rubbers, glue stick and a maths kit that will never get used.
And the work doesn’t stop once the children are back at school. Parents estimate they spend 2 hours 53 minutes every day on home-related tasks (that’s 14 hours per week!) with most parents completing 10 jobs before they even leave the house in the mornings!
Triple P parenting self-help workbooks are an ideal solution for parents who want to learn more about positive parenting but who can’t attend a parenting course.
The books cover all the same material as the acclaimed 8-week Triple P parenting courses – helping parents to discover and implement positive parenting strategies for managing, educating and caring for their children – but with the added convenience of being able to read it on the train or dip in and out as time permits. The workbooks guide parents through a 10 week series of reading, thinking and practice tasks designed to build good relationships with children, encourage their learning and development and manage their behaviour in a positive way. There are three Triple P parenting self-help workbooks to choose from, depending on the age and needs of your child: Continue reading →
Constant juggling is stressful: it impacts on our health and wellbeing and usually doesn’t contribute positively to mood or to work-life balance. So why do we do it?
Often, we juggle because we think it is enabling – that we need to accomplish all these tasks in order to create the life we want. But then we can find ourselves so busy creating the right conditions for life that we have no time for enjoying it.
Sometimes it’s a case of conflicting priorities. As parents, we want the best for our children. But in trying to shoehorn too much into limited time we can squeeze out other essential family ingredients.
And sometimes it’s just hard to switch off from professional mode. When we spend all day at work honing our efficiency, planning and analytical skills, it can be difficult to step out of that role and take a different approach when we get home. Continue reading →
When my children were little and still at Nursery, our morning routine was a tetchy affair. As a single working parent I had to get them (and me) dressed, fed and out of the house by 7.45am to be on time for work so that I could legitimately leave on time to race home and pick them up before Nursery closed.
Some mornings were ok but mostly they were hellish. The kids would wake ridiculously early and, after they had sprayed breakfast cereal liberally around the kitchen, I would turn the TV on and they would play while I showered and dressed. So far so good. But no matter how early I started the process, dragging them back upstairs, getting them dressed and brushing their teeth always took much much longer than it needed to, with the result that I would gradually get more and more stressed at the ticking away of time until a misplaced sock or favourite toy would send me screaming over the precipice. The 15-minute car journey to Nursery would be filled not with jolly story-tapes or songs but with me haranguing them for making us late yet again and for being incapable of thinking about anyone else other than themselves. A very miserable start to the day. Continue reading →