School. Homework. Practice. Friends.
More and more our tweens and teenagers are faced with full schedules encouraging them to be busy instead of being purposeful with their time. Multitasking is their norm. Busy becomes familiar.
We see it all the time, this constant state of hurry.
Hurry to get home. Hurry to get to practice. Hurry to complete homework. Hurry to eat dinner.
Oh, I cringe when I think of how often I have allowed this “hurried” state to be the status in our home. Sadly, our home was only reflecting the condition of my heart — a rush inside my spirit.
If we want our teens to live a simplified life, then it starts with the life we live—a life surrendered to God.
Every day our teens are one step closer to adulthood. We want them to embrace the beauty of rest and how to use their time wisely. After all, one of the enemy’s tactics is to keep our children from having an awareness of their potential and purpose — what better way for the enemy to trick our children by keeping them distracted with meaningless activities.
If you are like me, you want your teen to create routines and habits that allow them to flourish in God’s divine purpose for their lives. Time management habits that help them embrace the fullness of life where they are in control of their schedule instead of allowing their schedule to control them.
Learning to simplify life now, as a teen, will give our children the skills they need to be thriving adults.
Identify what matters
As our children age, their interests will expand along with the demands they face academically and socially. All these demands make it challenging for our teens to identify who and what truly matters. Our teens need our assistance identifying what matters in their current season. They’re yes always means saying no. Saying yes to playing soccer may mean saying no to drama. Saying yes to marching band may mean saying no to football. What is the ultimate goal for your teen? If basketball matters most, then help your teen map out what the basketball season will look like for your family and possible decisions and opportunities your child may miss.
Encourage your teen to write his schedule. It’s common for teens to run into calendar conflicts between birthday parties, dates, games, practice, homework, church activities, and more. Your teen will want to attend everything. Instead, talk to your teen about your family values, the importance of honoring your commitments, and identifying what matters.
Prioritize time and decisions
Once your child has set their goals, it’s important to teach them how to prioritize their time and choices. Building what matters with who matters is the accumulation of daily decisions. Help your teen create their own monthly, weekly and daily schedules and routines. Their schedules should help them to prioritize relationship building and rest along with tasks and to-do lists. Help them to learn doing less of the right things with the right people for the right motive makes up for doing a lot of the wrong things with the wrong people for the wrong motive.
Teach your teen to identify their distractions. What keeps them from completing their homework on time? Why did they leave their track shoes at home? Tell your teen what to do is not as effective as helping them to identify why they made a mistake. When our teens can determine why they were distracted, then we can guide them to strategies to make wiser decisions.
Model how you want your teen to live
To change the “rush” tone of our home, I had to be willing to take a hard look at my own heart and how I treated my time. My to-do list was my life. To help our children embrace a simplified life, it had to start with me. So, I began to embrace saying no, leaving white space on my calendar, and rest. Altering my habits was a start, but true change in my heart happened when I learned to rest in Christ. Planning was helpful, but being surrendered to the Holy Spirit to interrupt my day is the important work. Remember, telling our children to simplify their lives is not enough; you’ve got to show them HOW.
Simplifying life and creating time management skills is an ongoing task that evolves as our children age and mature. Our teens need us to continue walking alongside them, providing support, boundaries, and guidance on how to effectively make wise decisions. What better place for our teen to make mistakes and take ownership of their failures than in our home with us! Don’t be afraid to let them fail (without nagging). They will be able to learn with you and together you can celebrate their growth.
Cheering you on momma,