“I’m bored! There’s nothing to do!” Does this sound familiar? Is your teen complaining they have nothing to do? How do you respond when your daughter sits on the couch and sighs? How do you know what to do when your boys are bored?
Teens get bored because they find it hard to think for themselves. Consider what your teen’s normal day looks like. They are told when to get up, when to go to school, what to learn in school, when to do their homework, and when to go to bed.
Your teenager doesn’t have control over their day, so it’s easy to see why they get bored. They are so accustomed to others giving them instructions that it’s a challenge to come up with a plan for things to do when they’re bored.
Is boredom a bad thing for your teen?
According to an article in the New York Times, “It’s not your job to entertain your children; there’s no downtime anymore.” The piece goes on to note that allowing teens to be bored is okay.
Studies have found a correlation between teen boredom and drinking, drug use, smoking, and binge eating. Letting your teen experience boredom is not necessarily healthy. It seems more beneficial to help find fun activities for teens and to help them plan their summer days.
Planning your day 101
When your kid says, “I’m bored,” hand them Sara Williams’ book Planning Your Day 101: Helping Preteens Make the Most of Every Day. The book is targeted at preteens but is completely adaptable for any age and offers ideas for stuff teens can do at home when they’re bored.
Instead of being a book for parents to read for their teens, it’s a teen how-to guide to learning how to plan their day and avoid boredom.
Let your teen have some control
This workbook can be a great tool for a teenager, helping them think about how they spend their day. It gives them a voice in choosing activities they like and don’t like. It teaches time management, helping them plan a day-a skill they will need as an adult.
Parents should be flexible
You schedule things your teen can’t manage for themselves, like dentist appointments, getting to school, or sports activities. To help your teen, make sure you keep a calendar visible so they can see what these activities are. By doing so, you help them know your plans for their day and how they need to plan around that.
Let your teen have an opinion about calendar events, but you retain the final say. If it can work for your schedule, let them go to the dentist in the afternoon instead of first thing in the morning if they really want to sleep in one day. Helping your teen learn how to plan their day by using this book can teach them to cope with boredom.
Teens have to do the boring stuff
The book tells teens there will always be boring stuff to do because putting away socks just isn’t fun. However, the boring stuff helps keep teens organized so they have more free time for the fun stuff they want to do.
Teens should be flexible
Teens should check with you about appointments before they start to plan their schedule. Being flexible means unexpected things may happen to make parents change plans, so your teen’s plans may have to change, too.
How will your teen plan their day? The workbook is divided into eight sections: Move, Grow, Create, Meals, Chill, Contribute, Tech Time, and Hang Out.
Each of these makes your teen think about what they like to do, how much time they spend doing things, and then puts it all on a schedule, which is included in the workbook.
How long should your teen be active each day? Do they always have to exercise, or could they jump on a trampoline? What does your teen enjoy doing alone to be active? Are they involved in organized sports? Would your teen rather play basketball or dance?
This section asks your teen what they can do to keep their brains growing during the summer, which can help them prevent summer learning loss. Everyday tasks like shopping can help your teenager expand their mind.
They may find that they have so much fun learning a new skill, such as coding, that they don’t realize they are growing their brain.
What does your teen like to do with their hands? Do they like to write or draw or maybe play with LEGO bricks? There are a lot of activities you can show your teen to nurture their creativity, and the workbook helps them see how to include these activities in their daily schedule.
This section is where your teen will write down how much time they spend eating each day. It helps them see the need to include time for necessary things.
Help your teen with this by asking them questions like “How often should you snack?,” “Should you skip breakfast?,” or “Do you want to help with deciding what we eat?”
Teens need to relax, and this section focuses on it. Meditation and yoga can be beneficial for teens who have a hard time relaxing. If your teenager is like my two daughters, chill would be a 20-minute nap to let their brain and body recharge so they had more energy.
The workbook offers other options for chilling that teens can use to plan their day.
The author helps kids see the importance of becoming responsible as they get older. In this section, she asks teens if they help at home. Helping out can be fun and involve the whole family with activities such as planting a garden or cooking.
Teens can also spend time contributing to their community-research shows that volunteering helps them become more responsible and better at decision-making.
7. Tech time
I’m glad the author includes a section on using technology, so teens can know having tech time can be a scheduled part of their day, too. This time can include video games, TV, watching YouTube videos, and other online activities.
Scheduling time for technology helps teens limit their screen time, which can improve their focus in other areas.
8. Hang out
The workbook wraps up the schedule with hang-out time, which is my daughters’ favorite as they love being with their friends and family. Let your teen plan a fun get-together with their friends. They may choose for their family to play board games or other indoor games that teenagers enjoy.
The book includes a final schedule so that preteens and teens can adjust activities and times and then have their plan ready. It also provides extra worksheets and reminds them to be flexible in creating and adjusting their plans for each day.
Teens get bored easily, and boredom can lead to unhealthy habits. Planning Your Day 101 is a hands-on guide for teens that helps them see they can have time for both what they need to do and what they want to do. Going through this book was so much fun that I wanted to fill out the workbook myself!
Planning Your Day 101: Helping Preteens Make the Most of Every Day
- Planning your time teaches critical life skills ahead of the adult years.
- Sometimes a schedule can remind your child of the things they enjoy doing.
- Tech time can be scheduled, too.
You need this if...
- Your kids get bored easily.
- You want your preteen or teen to build their own routine.
- Your kids could use a little guidance with time management and organization.