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30.03.2020

Tips for living in a confined space with teenagers

30.03.2020

Tips for living in a confined space with teenagers

by Dr Marta Dżoga, Head of Wellbeing Team


The coronavirus threat and the resulting prolonged stay in a confined space can cause anxiety, fear, irritation, and anger among all family members. Below you will find some tips on how to handle teenagers during this common quarantine time. How to set new rules of common living? How to talk to your children about their fears and emotions? How can you motivate them to learn?


Some tips for students on how to live and work in confined space part 1 and part 2.


 

Set rules of common living with the people you live with

  • Living in a confined space - tips for parents

The best idea is to set the rules together through discussion. It is advisable to write or draw them on a big piece of paper leaving space for extra points which might appear in the future.

While setting the rules you might include the points below:

  • division of household responsibilities
  • A list of your needs (e.g. time for work, silence or being alone), responsibilities and expectations, as well as restrictions
  • listen to your daughter’s/son’s needs. Try to remain and respond calmly even if your teenager’s request seems too demanding
  • it’s useful to include the rules for using the phone. Discuss what your daughter/son can do to help herself/himself use social media more sensibly. For example:
  • Turn off notifications for apps: they constantly require attention
  • Schedule time to check messages/notifications: to limit constant usage plan using applications into your daily schedule e.g. check at 8:30, then at 2 pm and then 5:30 pm.

Notice and accept how your son/daughter feels

  • Living in a confined space - tips for parents

Speak about emotions

Your children (because of their age) can be especially frustrated about the quarantine and share the frustration with you. They may have a sense of assault on their fundamental rights and restrictions on freedom. Being with the parents and siblings much longer than usual can cause conflicts, crises and arguments. Talk with them about it. Show them how to perceive the situation as temporary. Show them that staying at home is the only way of fighting against the pandemic. Show them that they are in the same situation as teenagers all over the world.

Speak about facts

It’s good to speak with teenagers about the current situation. When they lack

information, or when they get lost in distinguishing between what is a fact and what is a rumour, or when they are overloaded with information, they may become more nervous, irritable and uncertain. Give the opportunity to your child to name their fears, to ask questions, to share their knowledge about Coronavirus.

It’s natural to feel stress, anxiety and worry during the outbreak of coronavirus disease. But if you observe that your child:

  • is feeling overwhelmed with emotions like sadness, depression, or anxiety;
  • has difficulty concentrating;
  • has difficulty in falling asleep or has nightmares,
  • has physical reactions such as headaches, body pains, stomach problems

please do not hesitate to contact a specialist or Akademeia High School Wellbeing Team.

Provide your teenager with a dedicated space to learn at home

  • Living in a confined space - tips for parents

Temporarily, the students are cut off from their school – a place dedicated to learning. Whenever possible, provide for them a dedicated space to learn at home. If possible, separate a room in which they can attend online classes and do their homework or create a workplace in the corner of their room.

It’s difficult, but try to encourage your teenager does not to have a phone nearby while working. They should leave it outside of the room they are working in.

If you have younger children at home, explain to them the situation and the needs of working or studying people at home. Suggest to your teenager they divide the tasks into those that require more concentration (to do in the evening or early morning when it is quieter at home) and those that they can do even when there is a little noise at home.

Motivate your son/daughter

  • Living in a confined space - tips for parents

Some students may find it hard to motivate themselves. To help them we recommend the following.

  • Implement a time schedule. It could be also beneficial for parents who are working at home. Make a clear division between working time and relaxation time.
  • Make a proper start to work time: it’s good to take a shower, put on normal clothes, and make up if you normally do.

  • At the end of work time, it’s good to have a small ritual that shows that we’re done – e.g. close the laptop lid or pack it away in a drawer
  • Trust but check – ask if your teenager has: attended all of the planned lessons, has completed the homework, has taken part in the consultation classes online etc.
  • Help to use time effectively – the AHS students have got some tips on how to keep motivated and focused in the time of online learning

Spend time together

  • Living in a confined space - tips for parents

During quarantine, we can spend more quality time together.

  • Arrange home activities for the whole family such as watching movies, playing games, cooking, talking about family history.
  • More time together is an opportunity to talk about things important to the teenagers such as their relationships and friends. It’s a time when you can get to know your child better by speaking about their dreams and future plans but also to get to know their fears and difficulties, to support them with overcoming the problems.

Create a daily routine

  • Living in a confined space - tips for parents

This is a new situation and sticking to a routine will help our mind and body adjust more easily and keep stress levels low.

  • Have similar meal times every day. It is also worth eating at least one meal a day together. It gives children a sense of security and shows them they are important to us.
  • Encourage them to keep a regular sleep-wake cycle.
  • Encourage to do the same morning routines (getting dressed, shower, makeup).
  • Encourage the teenager to make their bed and keep out of bed during the day.
  • It’s worth reflecting at the end of the day with all family members. It could help teenagers better understand themselves and plan the next day: What was something nice that happened today? What was good for me? In what did I succeed? What was difficult? It’s also a good time to express your gratitude. I believe that this cements interpersonal relationships.

It’s useful to create a schedule of the day which should include:

  • time for online classes,
  • time for learning,
  • time to relax,
  • for taking care of body & walking outside,
  • for your social life (family and friends).

Encourage your teenager to contact others online

  • Living in a confined space - tips for parents

For teens, their peer group is usually very important. Encourage or let them contact people they used to via SMS, Messenger, WhatsApp etc. This is the way they build a (strong) support system.

Find and share positives in staying home

  • Living in a confined space - tips for parents
  • It’s time to take care of yourself and your loved ones.
  • Hugging, sitting close, tender gestures – these are fantastic remedies for loneliness and anxiety.
  • For some of you, it’s the last period of having your teenager at home before they start to study abroad. It could be a perfect time to express your love, share their attitude you are especially proud of, about your wishes for her/his future.

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