“Depending on what they are, our habits will either make us or break us. We become what we repeatedly do.” Sean Covey
Almost all tweens and teens will identify strongly with one or two of these activity categories: gamers, texters/chatters, social media users, readers or video/tv watchers.
Students may struggle to keep these desired activities in balance with work and a healthy lifestyle. Reasonable amounts of downtime and looking forward to “playing a game” or “texting with friends” can be healthy. These actions become unhealthy when a specific activity interferes with other activities in life, upsetting a healthy life balance.
To support your child in developing a healthy life balance:
- Help them to become aware of their habits.
- Help them decide on reasonable habits that balance with other aspects of life: work, school, family, friends, sports and arts.
- Help them to self-regulate towards healthier habits.
Children who cannot make age-appropriate progress towards self-regulation may need additional support or restrictions, such as:
- Enable parental controls on devices.
- Use timers or alarms.
- Add Internet filters.
- Schedule alternative activities into their week or give them a “tech free holiday.”
If talking with your child about their habits is difficult, start the conversation by talking about yours.
From The Canadian Self-Regulation Initiative (CSRI): Dr. Stuart Shanker on Self Regulation: Calm, Alert and Happy.