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Routines for teens?


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#1 3mummy3

Posted 10 January 2013 - 09:47 PM

I have two boys aged almost 14and 12 (also dd8 and ds 5mths). My boys have always been pretty smart, not top of the class but up there iykwim, but they dont put much effort into their school work. The eldest started high school last year and while he had some fantastic results in some subjects, he did also have some fairly poor results too(as in assessments with 60-70% gradings).
I think he can do alot better on the whole if he spent more time on homework rather than leaving things to the last minute which he always seemed to do last year.
My 12 yo also left things to the last minute, usually spending friday morning frantically trying to do the weeks homework due that day. He will start highschool this year and i am pretty worried that he will struggle because he is very unorganised.
Now i am well aware that i need to step up as a parent and put some strategies in place to help them both reach their full potential, limiting xbox and ipod usage for a start, but not sure exactly how to go about this?
So my question is what sort of homework routines do my fellow ebers have in place for their teens? Do you just leave them to manage themselves, have strict routines in place with set homework times, limits on using electronic devices etc? What time is bedtime? Do you take electronic devices out of bedrooms of a night time? Any other ideas for helping teens reach their full potential?

#2 treetree

Posted 11 January 2013 - 01:33 AM

We have children of various ages, but I try to keep the routine similar for all. So for eg. 7 is reading time, whether you are reading a picture book or a text book.

So, homework is at 6. Even if you don't have homework. Revise something, do extra reading, or learn something new. My kids aren't allowed screens of any type on school nights full stop, but not getting homework/chores etc done throughout the week means no screens on weekends either. Extra chores, or early bedtimes are given to those who don't do their homework intentionally, or procrastinate, or are rude/whingy while doing it.

It sounds kinda strict written down but it's really not, however, like you I don't think mine apply themselves enough either, so this year I am insisting they bring homework each night whether the teacher gave it to them or they choose a textbook to revise, whatever, but they need to bring something, because last year all I would get was "We don't have any" and I don't believe this to be true. Anyone who doesn't bring something will be subject to boring 'mum' homework that I create!

Sorry, my post is a bit all over the place, very tired, think I shall sleep now!

#3 galba

Posted 11 January 2013 - 01:53 AM


For my eldest 2 DS13 and DS11 there are no electronic gadgets allowed during the school week.  They have their basic phones for school but that's it until Friday afternoon.

If they have no homework then I give them something - could be reading a newspaper article and telling me all about it, sorting notes/paper/folders out and getting organised, planning for the next assessment/test etc - maximum 45 minutes.



#4 PubertyBlues

Posted 11 January 2013 - 07:06 AM

I firmly believe that teens need to be given the space and opportunity to complete homework and study etc without me sitting on top of them. My kids like to wind down after school and they have a lot of afterschool activities, and for us, it works best if I'm not having to stress at that them at different times of day to get it done.

So we have a few basic rules:

- no xbox Monday to Thursday (inclusive)
- iPods and phones etc are kept in a locked box (it has a lockable lid and all the necessary chargers in there - it's a clear Perspex box which means that I can see at a glance that they have put everything in there when told to do so - from 8.00pm until they are standing in front of me ready to go to school. It means that their phones are always properly charged and prevents them coming out and grabbing them for some late night Facebooking after we are in bed - grrrrrrr...
- at 8.00pm they do "prep" so they go into their room and do homework, revision, read etc. Their electronic items are in the locked box being charged for the next day.
- lights out at 9.15pm

The routine of prep means that they know what is expected of them. If they choose not to do their homework, then they suffer the consequences that the school dishes out.

We also reward them for grades, which I remind them about regularly so they know the connection between good prep choices and money.

On the very positive side, it means that "adult time" in this house starts at 8.00pm.




#5 Fr0g

Posted 11 January 2013 - 07:49 AM

I'm going to bookmark this thread!

PubertyBlues, where did the Perspex box come from... sounds like something our household could benefit from.

#6 PubertyBlues

Posted 11 January 2013 - 08:34 AM

I actually had it made. We used to have like an intray with a bulldog clip holding all the leads and chargers on the end and the idea was the same - all "i items" as we call them - go in the green box before prep.

But then I would have the struggle in the morning because the first thing they would do was retrieve their items and not get ready, miss the bus etc.

So one morning I got up and went to put the items on my dressing gown pocket, so I could hand them out when they were ready to go... only to find that one teen had "forgotten" to put his phone in - but had left the case there so I thought he had put it in - and naturally he hadn't "forgotten" to take it to bed. The other one had gotten up for the loo in the night and just took his with him back to bed for some late night Facebooking.

Hmmmmm.......

I didn't lose my temper - just put my creative parenting hat on and called a few places and had a box made with a lockable lid and that's what we do now.

Will try to post a pic. It has a lockable door that they use to put the items in, and a slot at the back where the chargers fit through - big enough for the chargers but small enough that the items can't be taken out.

I have changed it slightly since then - have added a flocked bottom and a charger storage pad so it all looks a bit neater. It's big enough to hold all their phones, iPods, handheld devices etc.

I have considered having them made to sell. I wonder if people would buy them? I wonder what they would pay?

http://m.flickr.com/lightbox?id=8368949706

Edited by PubertyBlues, 11 January 2013 - 08:37 AM.


#7 Expelliarmus

Posted 11 January 2013 - 08:57 AM

I sound like a slack a*se parent ...  ph34r.gif

#8 3mummy3

Posted 11 January 2013 - 09:03 AM

QUOTE (howdo @ 11/01/2013, 09:57 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
I sound like a slack a*se parent ...  ph34r.gif


How so?

#9 3mummy3

Posted 11 January 2013 - 09:18 AM

QUOTE (Sassy Girl @ 11/01/2013, 09:47 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
I have four children from 20 down to 13. I do not believe in routines for babies, children or teenagers. I have never followed a routine so how can I expect them to.

By the time children are 13 they should be able to complete their homework in their own time without prompting.

You have to remember your child probably isn't doing as well as you think he should as he's now competing against more children compared to primary school.


I agree they should be able to manage their homework, but in my boys case they cant so thats why i am looking for suggestions to help them!

As for competing against more kids in highschool, i dont think that is relevant at all. I couldnt care less what kind of marks other kids are getting, i just want my boys to acheive their best results possible.  When looking at some of ds's poorer marks he seems to be losing alot of marks for things like forgetting to answer whole questions, presentation, not including enough info or pictures etc. He knows the work, he is just rushing through things and therefore losing marks for silly things! I certainly dont expect him to be getting all marks in the 90's but a 60 sure doesnt cut it for me! Although he did get a 50% on an art task which i wasnt too fussed about, he tried, hes just no good at drawing, nor am i.

Edited by 3mummy3, 11 January 2013 - 09:21 AM.


#10 3mummy3

Posted 11 January 2013 - 09:32 AM

Puberty blues I like your box idea!!! We do sometimes take their electronics from them but not until bedtime which is 9:30 on a school night. We also turn off the wifi when we go to bed so even if we dont take their things off them, they cant access internet after about 10:30pm.

How old are your kids puberty blues? Have you taken their things off them straight away from when they started highschool or is it sonething you have implemented pretty much out of the blue? If out of the blue, how did your kids react? I can just imagine my boys reaction if i told them no xbox on school nights and no electronics from 8pm. I already get the " but everyone else is allowed to stay up late/use their electronics whenever they want/keep the wifi on all night etc". I have been told regularly that this house sucks with all the stupid rules, get complaints everytime i ask them to do anything, get told that noone their age goes to bed at 9:30 and that its embarrasing that we treat them like babies making them go to bed!

I am just so sick of listening to them complain that id rather just let them do as they please just for a peaceful life!

#11 i-candi

Posted 11 January 2013 - 09:33 AM

My kids can have as much screen time as they want but heaven help them if they don't do homework/study.

I find DS needs to get his homework done straight from school as he hates to stop what he is doing on the computer to do his work.

Also the kids must be dressed and ready in the morning before any screen time happens, DS isn't interested in the mornings having screen time and DD plays outside after she is dressed.

I don't have a problem with getting the kids to do their homework, last year DS seemed to not have homework a lot and being first year of high school we let it slide a little. This year DS knows that he must study more, DS did so well in his mid and end year exams because a few weeks before I set him up a study schedule and told him what to study. I don't like doing this as he should be able to do it all year. Also he never ever told us when he had tests throughout the year so I'd say he could be a straight A student if he studied throughout the year rather than the A/B student he is.

DS is learning German in the holidays as he is changing schools and he hasn't learnt it yet so missed out on year 7 lessons. He has only really just started doing 30 min a night after dinner and he already knows to count to 20, the alphabet, greetings, colours and days of the week original.gif It's a bit hard when you are teaching yourself and trying to pick it up. Youtube is good apparently.

We have set DS up a study in the spare room that has no computer access. If he needs the computer he can get the information or complete his homework in the playroom and I can walk past and check he is still doing it. I must say though DS is a pretty good kid and rarely makes the wrong choices with homework original.gif


I need routines though  cool.gif  


#12 3mummy3

Posted 11 January 2013 - 09:35 AM

QUOTE (galba @ 11/01/2013, 02:53 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
For my eldest 2 DS13 and DS11 there are no electronic gadgets allowed during the school week.  They have their basic phones for school but that's it until Friday afternoon.

If they have no homework then I give them something - could be reading a newspaper article and telling me all about it, sorting notes/paper/folders out and getting organised, planning for the next assessment/test etc - maximum 45 minutes.


Galba i am also interested to hear how the no electronics during school week rule was implemented in your house and how your kids reacted to it?

#13 PubertyBlues

Posted 11 January 2013 - 09:35 AM

I think things are different these days and routine especially with regard to electronics etc is pretty important.

As a parent, I provide my kids with the space, time and resources and remove the things that are most likely to distract them - the rest is up to them.

I don't think it is fair to not give them the basic tools - just as they need a clean desk away from distractions and noise, so too I see a need to eliminate electronic distractions.


#14 Beanbag Warrior

Posted 11 January 2013 - 09:40 AM

I would have hated you all!! I pick things up aurally, in class.  Study from books very VERY rarely helps, unless I need detail clarification.

i spent most of my "study" time (parent insisted) with a novel inside the textbook.  Reading doesn't help me.

Just be aware of this with your own kids - if they're like me, teaching YOU about the subject through conversation is what solidifies it in their mind, not eyes glossing vacantly over text.  If they stumble over some info, they can pinpoint it through research, and only re-read the bits they need.


Not every child learns the same!

#15 3mummy3

Posted 11 January 2013 - 09:44 AM

Icandi, well done to your ds for teaching himself german! My son seems to be pretty good at picking up languages too. He goes to a catholic highschool but is not catholic and didnt go to a catholic primary. He learnt japanese last year and got top marks in almost every assesment and did better than all the kids coming from the catholic primarys that have been learning japanese in primary school. He did German in primary.

You said in your post "heaven help them if they dont do their homework", just wondering what your consequences are if they dont do it? I think like you i would rather let them access their electronics during school week so i guess maybe i could say 1 hr of homework time each night and if there are any complaints/they dont do it, i could then ban the electronics for the next night????

#16 PubertyBlues

Posted 11 January 2013 - 10:15 AM

We have always had the "no TV before school" rule. We used to have alternating Xbox days but it was becoming a nightmare with one saying he had x number of hours but the other had y and it was sooooooo unfair!

So really, we used the conflict, plus them needing to knuckle down at school and get out of the house etc.

We just told them.  They whinged a bit, and sometimes try to negotiate it back, but we are pretty firm - two boys 12 months apart going through teen years, and one with ADHD and ODD - you need to be firm.

There come a point at which they have to have consequences set by the school and not you.  I'm all about conflict minimisation.  A Friday detention for non production of homework equals a complete Xbox ban for the following week.  

And we reward them for grades, and their grades are affected by their homework.

I don't have the energy to flog them to do their homework.  They are getting older and more mature - the expectation is that they do 10 minutes if homework per year level.  So this year one will be doing 90 minutes and the other 80 minutes.

There is no such thing as "no homework" for kids in Year 8 and 9.  There is always SOMETHING they can be doing.

If they prefer to read, or they are able to read because they have finished their homework, then that's all well and good.  But being on Facebook or your phone instead?  Not on - because they simply won't do their homework, and I am facilitating that by not giving them the required undistracted space to make good choices.

I would lead into the no Xbox thing like we did.  Started it last year and just mentioned over the summer break that it was going to be the new rule and we could either implement it now (during the holidays) so they could get used to it and get all their complaining out of the way, or we could trust them to understand the very good reasons we had for making the rule and do their best to not complain once school went back.

They will try to wriggle out of it - negotiate and argue.  But we just stick to our guns.  There are so many other things that they can do - they still have phones, computers etc, but the Xbox games just caused so many headaches.....

We also negotiated with them and said that in exchange for being Xbox free Monday to Thursday in term time (which really is only a loss of 160 hours a year each given that we always had it turned off by 6.30pm anyway), that they would be each allowed one "Xbox frenzy" day during the holidays - where they were allowed to get up and get straight on it and play as much as they like until 11.00pm.  We get them pizza on that day and I wear earphones!

If you offer something that appears to be more exciting, then you can remind them of that when they start to complain.

Kids are 13 and a half and 14 and a half.

They complain, sure.  I figure if they don't call me mean at least once in a while, then I'm not doing my job.  I also get "You USED to be cool......" I can't remember being cool though - I think they're trying to manipulate me!!  ;-)

The other thing we have done a few times over the past 7 or so years is to have a "family meeting" where we sit down with poster paper and all brainstorm the three Rs - Rights, Responsibilities, Rewards.

There are certain rights we all have as members of the family - to be loved, to feel safe, to be fed and watered, etc etc.
There are certain responsibilities we have - picking up after ourselves, being kind in thoughts and words, doing the chores you have allocated to you, going to school/work and doing your best.
In return, there are rewards that are available.  Sometimes these get mixed up with the rights. ;-)  We use the family meeting as an outlet to clear up any misconceptions about the difference between rewards and rights.  Having a phone is a reward.  Being able to go to the beach with friends is a reward.  Neither of those are rights (although teens like to think they are) - and so therefore, if the responsibilities aren't being met, then the rewards are the first to go.  There are some things that are non-negotiable.  There are no circumstances under which Xbox is on in our house on Mondays to Thursdays.  If you are very clear on your expectations, kids tend to live up to them.

Whatever you do, DON'T set yourself to have to argue with them every. single. night. about their homework - it's not your job - it's theirs and the school's.  If you make it that you have to hover, or check, then you may find yourself being led astray by fibbing teens - no homework, teacher said Tuesday is rest day, already done it etc etc.  If they don't do it, then the school deals with it and we deal with home consequences for things like detention for no homework....




#17 SeaPrincess

Posted 11 January 2013 - 10:21 AM

We're not there yet, but I went to boarding school, and we had quiet study time every week night from 7-9 in year 8, building up to 6.30-9.30 by year 12.  The timing was mainly to allow for after-school sports, music lessons, etc.  We had a 1.5-hour set study time on Saturday afternoons as well.  It didn't necessarily make me study any harder, but when I had busy-work to do, it got done and any pre-class reading got done.

#18 PubertyBlues

Posted 11 January 2013 - 10:24 AM

SeaPrincess - that's exactly where we got the idea from - boarding school.



#19 unicycle

Posted 11 January 2013 - 10:37 AM

Just like Santa, I don't believe in homework, which isn't a useful strategy for life when the kids start bringing it home. For the 11 yo, when there is a lot of homework to be done, our 30 min of technology a day rule becomes: for every minute of homework, you get one minute of technology. He will quite happily do two hours of homework to get two hours of minecraft or whatever game takes his fancy. Win - win. Not sure what we will do next year as it is not a sustainable solution when he will have easily one hour a night homework.

#20 Expelliarmus

Posted 11 January 2013 - 10:46 AM

QUOTE (3mummy3 @ 11/01/2013, 09:03 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
How so?

No routines, no set rules about screens, I barely even remember to ask them if they have homework ... and I don't intend to start ...

#21 3mummy3

Posted 11 January 2013 - 10:47 AM

Thanks for your posts puberty blues, you have some really good advice.


[quote name='PubertyBlues' date='11/01/2013, 11:15 AM' post='15227814']

We also negotiated with them and said that in exchange for being Xbox free Monday to Thursday in term time (which really is only a loss of 160 hours a year each given that we always had it turned off by 6.30pm anyway), that they would be each allowed one "Xbox frenzy" day during the holidays - where they were allowed to get up and get straight on it and play as much as they like until 11.00pm.  We get them pizza on that day and I wear earphones!


See i think here is where my problem lies. Your one day per holidays xbox frenzy is pretty much a daily occurrence here! We have hardly any limits on the boys at all!

#22 3mummy3

Posted 11 January 2013 - 10:51 AM

QUOTE (howdo @ 11/01/2013, 11:46 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
No routines, no set rules about screens, I barely even remember to ask them if they have homework ... and I don't intend to start ...


Thats me too! Although i would actually like to change it whereas you are obviously happy enough with how things are going in your house?

#23 Expelliarmus

Posted 11 January 2013 - 10:53 AM

So far, yeah shrug.gif

I wouldn't say there are no limits though. I mean sometimes I say no you can't go on the computer, go outside and play. And sometimes I remember to ask if they've done their homework first. And sometimes they can't do xyz until they do some chores I make up on the spot.

Edited by howdo, 11 January 2013 - 10:56 AM.


#24 PubertyBlues

Posted 11 January 2013 - 10:57 AM

You are allowed to change your mind about these sorts of things OP!  There are lots of reasons that teens need a few more boundaries in order to reach and maintain having a balanced life.....

Worst case scenario, just remove the controllers!  We have done this a couple of times before the midweek ban when they were getting stupid with it - DH takes them to work with him.

Then they can whinge and moan as much as they like - they can't play because there are no controllers!

We have also been known to dummy up a flyer from our electricity company saying that the power will be off from xxx time till yyy time on a particular weekend - we let them know we have received it, it goes on the fridge and then when the weekend rolls around, DH turns the power off at the mains while they are otherwise distracted.  

VERY helpful (if admittedly a little unorthodox) for when they really need to be outside or finding other things to do than just resorting to the Xbox and computer (and wifi goes down with no power).  And they have advance notice, so there's less angst.

It's an interesting social study I think - the reactions can be quite amusing.  

We have only done that a couple of times - when I cannot stand one more "Infection!  Zombie infection!  Headshot!  Double kill!"

We all have our limits - and I also prefer to avoid conflict with them if we can - so laying the blame at the feet of AGL is a last resort, but a good one for us.


#25 PubertyBlues

Posted 11 January 2013 - 11:01 AM

I definitely think it is an individual family decision.  We have quite a lot of structure - because YSS is ADHD and ODD, because they are so close in age and the sibling rivalry can get out of hand, because we live in a small house (with great outdoor stuff for them to do, but everyone can sometimes feel like others are always underfoot).  

But we are also pretty fun - DH will often join in the Xbox frenzy day, we have lots of laughs in our "family meetings" and the kids do feel like they have a say in some things.  They get to nominate rewards, we are absolutely open to negotiation on some issues, and we are very much an open house for friends to come and go.





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