We lead busy lives as adults today. Between work, running errands, paying bills, taking care of the house, and managing everyone in it, it’s easy to get overwhelmed. However, it’s important to remember that if you have teenage children, they might be feeling the same stress as you.
Just because our kids are younger and still in school does not mean they don’t feel the weight of responsibility. Teens, just like adults, can also get burnt out and struggle with their mental health. The difference is that they might need a little extra support and guidance in figuring out how to balance it all and protect their energy.
So, let’s take a look at some ways that you, as a parent, can help your teen develop better habits that can help them stay healthy and keep their energy up.
1. Encourage Healthy Sleep Habits
It should come as no surprise that the first tip on this list pertains to sleep habits. While there are many things that can drain your teen’s energy, nothing does so more than lack of sleep. Unfortunately, teenagers are notorious for having poor sleep habits, especially today.
The average teen only gets about seven hours of sleep
each night. However, numerous sleep research studies show that they really need between eight and ten hours of sleep to fully recharge. This is because teens are often in a critical developmental stage that drains more of their energy.
So, if your teen is struggling in this area, try helping them develop a better bedtime routine that is more conducive to getting a better night’s rest. This can include encouraging an activity that helps them wind down an hour before bed, such as reading, meditation, a soak in the tub, or listening to relaxing music. You can also help them create a bedroom space that is more relaxing and free of distractions.
2. Set Healthier Screen-time Boundaries
To add to the previous point, removing screens from the bedroom is also important when teaching your teen how to develop healthier sleep habits. There is no denying that teenagers today spend an exorbitant amount of time on their phones, computers, and in front of the TV. This can be especially damaging when these screens all exist in their bedroom.
The release of melatonin, which helps the body shift into sleep mode and naturally transition through sleep cycles, is disrupted by screen time right before bed
. Unfortunately, screen time can also boost the feel-good hormone serotonin, which is often why teens get so addicted to their phones and scrolling social media.
Not only is screen time bad in the bedroom, but too much screen time throughout the entire day can also drain your teen’s energy. So, it’s crucial in today’s digital age that you set healthier boundaries when it comes to using phones and computers, playing video games, and watching TV.
To ensure your teen isn’t always escaping to their bedroom to sit in front of a screen, try moving the screens out of their room. However, when doing this, try including them in the decision on where else to place the screens so they won’t feel like they are being punished.
3. Encourage Regular Exercise
Though you might think that exercise is an energy zapper, regular exercise
is actually essential for reducing fatigue and improving overall health. When you exercise, it releases a chemical called nitric oxide, which helps increase blood flow—and increased blood flow means more oxygen, which helps the brain stay awake and alert.
So, if you want to help your teen boost their energy throughout the day and stay more alert in class, it’s important that you encourage regular, daily exercise. There are many ways to do this, even if they aren’t into sports. They can get exercise by doing yoga or some other fitness class, walking the dog, riding their bike, dancing, mowing the lawn, jumping on a trampoline, roller skating, or even just jumping rope for a few minutes.
Getting regular exercise outside is especially helpful as spending time in nature and out in the sun
has also been shown to improve health and energy levels. Even just going for a quiet, relaxing walk for 20 minutes each day can help.
4. Prioritize Healthier Foods and Limit Caffeinated Drinks
Teens are often burning a lot of energy throughout their day, so it’s no surprise that they are often hungry and found snacking. However, it’s important to make sure that what they are snacking on isn’t always just a bunch of junk food.
It’s certainly okay for teens to indulge now and then, but because they burn so much energy throughout the day, it’s even more important for them to eat foods that make up for that energy loss. It’s also a good idea to limit their intake of caffeine. Caffeine might give your teens a boost in the moment, but they are certain to leave them crashing later in the day, which can contribute to them feeling sluggish.
So, encourage healthier food choices and drinking choices when you can. Water, for example, is a much better option than an energy drink and can keep them feeling more energized throughout the day. Starting the day off with a hearty breakfast can also give them the fuel they need to boost their energy.
5. Teach Them Healthy Self-care Habits
Aside from eating right, sleeping right, and limiting screen time, teaching your teen the art of learning to “unplug”
and practice self-care can also help them reset and recharge their battery. Teenagers often feel a lot of pressure to perform and get a lot done each and every day, but it’s important to teach them that it’s okay to just stop and take a break.
Self-care can look like many different things from one person to the next, but the general idea is to pay closer attention to your body and what it needs. And with so much going on around them, it can be hard for teens to remember to do this without some guidance.
However, keep in mind that self-care should not be used as a replacement for the treatment of mental health issues. If one of the reasons your teen is struggling with their energy levels is because they are struggling with their mental health, then it’s important to get them professional medical help.
Yes, practicing self-care
can help your teen unplug and recharge, but just be mindful not to promote it as a cure-all for mental health problems. Talking to a therapist is a form of self-care and is not something your teen should feel ashamed of if they need it.
We all need a little help remembering how to take care of ourselves sometimes to protect our energy, but teens often need even more guidance. However, it’s important not to make your guidance and protection of their energy feel like a punishment.
This is a time in their life when they are fighting to gain their independence. So make sure that your approach is tackled in a way that teaches them how to take charge of their own life rather than making them feel like they are just being forced to do something they don’t want to.