7 ways you can help support your teen now
This last year and a half has been beyond challenging for teenagers. Summer is here and with vaccines and numbers going down, a glimpse of life resembling something slightly closer to normal appears to be on its way. Some manage well, some struggle in a few areas, some check out and some of are overwhelmed with soaring screen time, anxiety, sleep issues and social isolation. We've learned nothing is easy about a pandemic. For teenagers, the psychological effects can be as unique and unpredictable as they are.
There is however, light at the end of this tunnel and now is the time to dig in and help our kids reset for success this fall and for their future.
1. Book daily unplugged hours outside
Walk, bike, hike in a new ravine or pick up take-out and head to the park. A daily dedication to being offline and out in nature for an hour in the morning, mid-day or after dinner literally changes our physiology reducing stress.
2. Follow your teen's lead on family activities
Board games, poker, video games, making a new twisted recipe from youtube - do anything they want, their way more often. Don't shoot down ideas, go with it!
3. Talk openly about mental health challenges
Check in on your teens feelings with curiosity, care and respect. Talk about your own challenges and create space to listen without commenting or trying to fix everything right away. Watch for signs of depression. Your teen may just need to be heard or you may discover that they want and are open to professional support if needed.
4. Support any new creative interest
We are all creative. Watch your teen and pay attention to what they're into. Provide the tools and encouragement for them to explore new creative outlets. Music, video editing, dance, graphic design, drawing, sketching, painting, international cuisine, bacon topped donuts - anything goes.
5. Let them reno their bedroom
Our kids have spent way too much time in their rooms and you can be sure they're sick of it.
Ask them if they want to change it up. Let them pick the look, colours, themes. Help paint the walls then get out of there. Let them hang posters, pick new sheets, new curtains etc. Find an awesome giant pillow with a quote on it - maybe order them a weighted blanket for a better sleep.
6. Watch what they watch - together
Yes this is a screentime suggestion - but lets be honest - we are still watching Netflix, Amazon, Hulu...
So why not try on their favourite series and sit back and share it. Do not underestimate the entertainment value of The Walking Dead, Drag Race, the Elite and so many shows that are binge favourites.
7. Invite their friends over - then get out of the house
As re-opening phases expand - encourage your kids to have friends over. Fund the backyard pizza party, let them host a horror movie night or whatever their crew is into. Then get out of the house and give them space to reconnect, laugh, be loud, messy and real.
We hope your family has a chance to unwind and recharge in healthy ways this summer. Our team is looking forward to the new school year with fresh perspective and even greater insights into helping our teens shift from struggle to success.
Need a fresh start to repeat a course?
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AVRO offers students the opportunity to repeat any high school credit with private or semi-private instruction. A fresh start without stress and with the support students need makes all the difference. (Students are eligible to enrol in a repeat course only if they have previously completed the course.)
How can a therapeutic program help?
For students who have experienced difficulties thriving in previous academic environments, the AVRO team provides the therapeutic support and environment that allows them to regain their footing in education.
We support students with confidential, non-stigmatizing support both on a regular and as-needed basis. An experienced team of teachers and counsellors ensure a learning environment with positive social interactions concurrent with academic support. Students and instructors co-create individualized programs of study, and parents are invited to participate in the process. Some students have diagnoses of high-functioning autism, a range of learning disabilities, depression, anxiety, ADHD as well as social anxieties that have been the root of academic struggle and inability to thrive. AVRO’s aim is to support the psychosocial needs of the students in addition to their educational needs. In the therapeutic program we use tools such as music and expressive arts therapy to enhance creativity and develop a sense of enjoyment in learning. Our goal is to provide a haven where students feel comfortable enough to be themselves and where their educational and emotional needs are met. Upon registration, a clinician will interview the student and family and require prior assessments to determine an appropriate program of study and treatment.