Winding Down Time for Teens

I often find myself eager to ask my son how his day went as soon as he gets home from school and hardly ever get any responses. Until, one day my son told me I needed to stop asking so many questions and that he had just gotten home from a long day at school. He also mentioned that I do not know all the things he had to do while he was there. All he wanted was a little break.

This is when I realized I needed to step back and give him a few minutes to decompress. Honestly, had he not told me, I would have just thought he was being lazy and simply did not want to share with me how his day went. The older our children get, the more demands they have at school and outside pressures we may not even realize. So, it is important to make time to talk about their day, we just need to give them some relaxation and winding down time. Here are a few tips that have helped me:

• Have a healthy snack ready for your child to have when he gets home. By this time their brains are tired and they need a little boost of energy before dinner. To be honest, who knows whether they made some healthy food choices during lunch.

• Give them some silent time to decompress. Perhaps 20-30 minutes may do the trick. During this time, some children may want to change their clothing, go to the restroom, or ask for some food.

• Refrain from asking how their day went or what they have for homework during their silent time.

• Give them water to drink! Not many children drink enough water to hydrate themselves unless they carry a bottle of water at school. On days when they have gym class it is even more crucial.

• Provide wait time to see if your child begins sharing something with you about their day. Perhaps you won’t even have to ask them how their day went after their silent time as they will usually have a story to share on their own.

Hopefully you will find these tips helpful. Some children come home ready to talk and share all that happened at school and with their friends, but there are others who do not. Teenagers especially may become less vocal right after school due to tiredness, hunger, and maybe even stress. Regardless, it is important to read their signs or take their words under consideration and give them a little bit of space and alone time. Then, they will be ready to talk with you about how their school day went. As always, it is important to talk with our children and help them know that you are there to support and guide them.


 *Photo courtesy of Flickr

Ann Navarro

About Ann Navarro

Ann has teaching experience working with elementary students in the areas of bilingual education, dual language, English as a Second Language, and Reading. Ann holds a Masters Degree in Curriculum & Instruction with a Reading Specialist Concentration. She also has experience evaluating lesson plans for the Smithsonian Institution. In her spare time, Ann enjoys spending time with her family outdoors and reading.

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