Looking after children is a 24-hour occupation, but as they develop into teenagers it should get easier, shouldn’t it? Learning independence is beneficial to a teenager’s wellbeing, and it can also help you to save time. Find out what they can do to help you.
So what can a teenager do for themselves to make life easier for you, and how can you help them to do it?
Care for younger siblings
If you have a big family, suggest teens offer a hand with caring for their younger siblings.
Perhaps they could help them home from school or to get ready in the morning. This will leave you free to catch up on other tasks, and will also help them to develop a stronger bond with their brothers or sisters.
Use public transport
Let them use public transport to some of the key places you drive them too – including school.
Just think of all those hours you spend as a taxi driver! Maybe you could do the journey on the bus or train together once or twice to boost their confidence and then let them have a go on their own.
See if there is a friend they could travel with and make sure they are not doing this late at night.
To stop you wasting the time you’ve saved by worrying about them, lay down some ground rules and ask them to phone or text you the moment they have arrived somewhere.
Study by themselves
If you’re still supervising/helping with homework, perhaps it’s time to take a step back and reclaim some of your evening time.
They need to learn from their own mistakes and develop study skills of their own.
Earn their own pocket money
They can get a part-time job from the age of 13 and start earning their own money to put towards clothes, music, make-up and other teenage obsessions.
That will free up some cash for you, and could allow you some time by yourself on a Saturday. Find out what’s allowed under child employment rules.
Shop by themselves
Teens should be capable of running to the corner shop for some bread and milk, shopping with friends for clothes on a Saturday if sensible, and buying their own stationery and books for school.
Manage their own time
Morning can be the busiest and most stressful time of the day. Relieve some of the pressure by allowing your teen to get themselves ready for school.
Perhaps they can iron their own school uniform, pack their own lunch and prepare their breakfast.
Buy them an alarm clock and encourage them to organise their own time – then stop wasting precious minutes hassling them and chivvying them along. If they’re late for school, they’ll suffer the consequences of a detention.
Time management is a vital life skill and will help them with future studies – and life as a working parent themselves.