Work-life balance has become a hot topic these days, and leaving work at work is the solution to keeping that balance. But what about the younger generation, who is still in school and allowing different sorts of anxieties to take them over? Pressures from gaining a competitive edge over others for college applications, peer pressure, and the added stresses of social media networks are more than enough stimulants to upend a school-life balance for adolescents. As parents, we are tasked with the care and education of our children, and teaching them how to balance their life and be happier is a wonderful thing to pass on to them. By focusing on time and stress management, teaching them how to have realistic expectations, and showing them how to live a healthy lifestyle are ways to set them up for success now and in the future.
Time management is something that starts being learned at an early age, and many of us just sort of figured it out on our own over many years of trial and error. Think how much time management helps with corralling stress and how much a young student can benefit from learning this technique early in their school years. Let your child choose a day planner or download a to-do list app on their phone and share with them the many ways to keep lists, create deadlines for school projects, and schedule out their day. Everyone prioritizes and plans differently, so be sure to explain that it is okay if they do their planning differently than you do yours. They just need to plan in a way that makes the most sense to them.
Managing stress is another concept that will remain beneficial throughout their life. Stress is something that everyone experiences in varying degrees on a daily basis, and learning how to deal with those feelings and move forward is necessary. Exercise like walking and cycling is a good outlet for some people, while others prefer talking it out with a friend or positive self-talk. Give various methods a try until one of them makes your child feel better and more calm about the stressful situation they are in and remember that different stressors may require different stress managers. One tried and true method may not work every time.
Another way to educate children is to teach them about realistic expectations. Wanting to build a hovercraft for the sixth-grade science fair may sound really cool, but is it realistic? That example may be a little extreme, but teaching children how to make realistic expectations for themselves is important because such high standards for self can lead to perfectionism, which has been found to lead to low self-esteem, guilt, depression, obsessive-compulsive disorder, and more. It is okay to have high standards, but they should be attainable as well. It should also be reinforced that it isn’t just the result that matters but the learning process itself is fun too.
Lastly, your child should realize the importance of a healthy lifestyle because a healthy lifestyle keeps the body and mind in tip-top shape. Lead by example by exercising and asking your child to join you in walking, biking, or doing fitness classes like yoga or pilates. Encourage them to participate in school sports or outside activities like dance and karate. In addition to exercising and being active, make sure that you are providing them with healthy foods and snacks to fuel them throughout the day and enough sleep to keep them alert and ready to learn. Practice a family bedtime routine that gets everyone in the bed at a time that allows for enough sleep to operate efficiently throughout the day. Finally, make sure they are having some fun. Time with friends and participating in the types of activities that they like are important for overall happiness, and childhood should be enjoyed to the fullest. Make sure that they are able to have fun and feel like they are having fun.
By teaching children how to manage their time and their stress in a way that is conducive to their style of dealing with situations, making sure that they know how to set expectations for themselves, and encouraging a healthy lifestyle through example, achieving a school-life balance will be attainable and will help them to live a joyful life.