You might be frazzled from home-schooling your primary age child but spare a thought for our lovely teens who are navigating home-schooling in a much more isolated way, with many worrying about the uncertainty of exams and what that means for their future.
There’s also those who are quite new at secondary and who perhaps haven’t had time to form new friendship groups and are finding it hard to connect with their new school. That combined with not seeing friends or being out and about independently can cause an increase in loneliness, stress and worry.
Just last week The Prince’s Trust’s long-running annual survey of young people’s happiness and confidence returned the worst findings in its 12-year history. More than half of those surveyed said they always or often felt anxious. The press is filled with talk of a looming mental health crisis and we need to do something about it.
So how can we, as parents, support our children as best we can and help our stressed-out teens to find some calm and perspective in all this uncertainty?
It’s important to say right from the start that anxiety has a wide range and that if you feel your child has a severe problem it’s really important to get the right professional support.
In our experience at HappySelf, there are lots of simple, highly effective and practical things we can do to help – and these are fantastic for all ages so do get the whole family involved.
As a mother and the creator of The HappySelf Journal, I’m a big fan of investigating the actual science of happiness, to see which practices and what simple, daily habits we can bring into our lives that have been shown to have a meaningful impact on our well-being.
Gallery: How to protect your child’s mental health during the pandemic (Espresso)
These are just a few examples that we have consciously built into the New Teen edition of our journals. They all help to guide our teens to establish and maintain healthy, happy habits for life. Here’s four ways journaling could help your teen…
The Importance of Building A Routine
Helping our teens plan their days and weeks through the journal and encouraging them to add the right mix of activities will make sure they are getting what they need to feel good. Help them schedule exercise and time offline around the school day as well as focusing on diet, water intake and sleep.
Journaling As A Means To Offload
Journaling is great for creating a safe space to come back to daily to process all the ups and downs of the day. Ruminating thoughts can be a source of anxiety and they make it harder for us to get to sleep. Writing it all down at bedtime helps us build perspective to work through problems calmly.
Daily Gratitude Practice Is A Gamechanger
Directly linked to happiness, daily gratitude practice (like finding joy in small pleasures or reflecting on the big things like their friends or family members) helps put our teens’ worries into perspective. It also helps to build resilience, giving them the tools to cope with the natural ups and downs of life. Whether you share your ‘three good things’ as a family at mealtimes or use a gratitude journal this simple habit can be life changing.
Remember To Switch Off
Even though tech is all the more important right now for kids to stay connected with their school and friends, they also need to learn to switch off and have time for other things like mindfulness, reading, exercise or time outdoors. Apps like Headspace for mindfulness or an online workout or dance class can help with a transition to time away from the computer.
To me, it’s all about helping our children become familiar with the habits and routines that are shown to support their wellbeing and happiness.
Becoming aware of what’s good for us at such a developmental stage in one’s young adult life can only be a good thing.
HappySelf Journal RRP £19.90. Available in versions suitable for ages 3+. They’re also available at Not on The High Street and Liberty London.