Getting Real with Buzz Parent

In our last article, we talked about the importance of encouraging good posture for kids. This time, we follow that up with ideas to encourage teens to have better posture, especially when using electronics.

1. Provide the Right Setup

Teenagers are a whole different ball game, and they will often have to spend long hours on the computer for homework assignments or college applications.  As such, it is essential to make sure that they have a good desk and chair, and that everything is set up in order to keep them comfortable and safe when using the computer.  Remember what we said about eye levels and screens?

2. Lead by Example

Teens are a tough age group; they are a lot more susceptible to picking up on hypocrisy or double standards. It’s not going to go down very well if mom is always telling them to get more exercise, but she spends every evening catching up on Netflix.  Show your teen a positive example and get out and do some exercise yourself.  It might be hard to drag them along with you, but will find a way.  Take your teen to the gym with you, but let them do their own thing.

3. Check Up on What They’re Doing Online

We are not suggesting that you be nosy or intrusive.  Teens will like their privacy, and trying to force yourself into what they are doing will only reinforce how ‘uncool’ mom and dad are.  But checking in on them every once in a while, and taking an active interest in what they are doing will let you not only monitor how much time they spend, but also what they are doing.  Maybe they’re wasting time with video games?  Maybe they are composing electronic music or making animations? Taking an active interest will help you know what they are up to, and make encouraging them to take a break a lot easier.

4. Be Creative with Encouraging Them to Take Time Away from the Screen

Just like kids, teens often need a gentle push to put down the tablet and hit the exercise track.  In our experience, forcing teens to exercise often leads to resentment and friction in families, but if you just let your children laze about, you are really letting them down.  Here’s a few suggestions to get them of the couch and working up a sweat.

  • Pay them for doing household chores, like gardening, vacuuming, rakeing leaves, cleaning the cars etc. Make sure it’s a fairly active chore and make sure they spend at least an hour doing it.
  • Take the to the gym with you, but let them do their own thing while they’re there. One of my friends is a mom who really struggled to get her eldest teen girl to do regular exercise, but she found this very effective. It also helped them bond a lot.
  • Make them earn screen time. It might sound a little silly, but I know a few families who made their kids earn screen and computer time minute for minute with exercise or housework.  Want two hours of video games?  That’ll be two hours of cycling, please.

5. Talk to Your Teen Often

There might be a reason behind why your kids is spending so much time on electronic devices. Maybe they are having issues at school or with friends?  Maybe there is some kind of anxiety issue, or maybe they just don’t know what to do with themselves and YouTube is an easy distraction. Have a good chat with them, and bring up your concerns in a loving and non-judgmental way.  You can lovingly accept that they are entitled to make their own choices in life, but as a parent you have to do what’s best for them, and making sure they keep healthy and active is not negotiable.  How they keep healthy, though, is a good topic for discussion.

We hope these tips have been useful to you, but remember, they are just that, tips.  We are just concerned parents and bloggers, and we don’t have any professional training in these matters.  If you have serious concerns about your child’s posture, exercise or well-being, we recommend you see a qualified professional to get expert advice.