Originally published: September 2020

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There’s no denying that 2020 has been a year like no other. The COVID-19 pandemic has changed the way Alberta teens live – the way they learn, play, and interact. In many households, our day-to-day routines have shifted dramatically – in others, they’ve disappeared altogether. Lots of screen time? Check. Extra-late bedtime? Check. Too much time lounging around? Check.

Back-to-school season might look and feel a little different this year, but a healthy fall routine can help bring order, predictability, and a stable rhythm to our ‘new normal. When teens play an active role in creating their day-to-day routines, they learn planning and time-management skills that can stick.

So how can you help your teen get back into a healthy groove this fall?

  • Catch some Zs. Establish a bed and wake-time and then stick to it! Aim to stay as close to it as possible, even on weekends. The amount of sleep your teen gets can affect their mood, behavior, ability to process information and school performance.
  • Make physical activity a priority for the entire family. This will influence how your teen views the importance of physical activity. With the disruption of some organized sports, having the opportunity to get active at home might be exactly what your teen needs.
  • Put mealtimes on your daily roster. Regularly scheduled healthy meals and snacks helps keep you and your teen fueled for the day. The predictability around mealtimes might be something your teen craves especially if they are adjusting to new norms.
  • Check-in. Make a point of asking your teen how they are doing every day. Ask open-ended questions and show them you are interested in what they are saying by putting away any distractions.

Going back to school can be exciting and challenging for teens. Supporting them with a healthy back to school routine will help them make a smooth transition.

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