Making your home a 'safe haven' for your teenagers during lock-down (YEP)

Posted on 17 August 2020

Making your home a 'safe haven' for your teenagers during lock-down

Teenagers have been particularly affected by COVID-19. Disrupted learning, job loss and a future that seems very uncertain has a major impact. Added to this is the stress of their parents losing jobs and their financial worries. Their safety, security and well-being are paramount. Taking steps to make your home a 'safe haven' will help them to navigate through the year. 

Here are ten suggestions that may help:

1. Keep it positive, hopeful, and upbeat within the walls of your house – Commit to making home the place your teenagers feel safe and happy in, the place where they can rest and restore. Talk with them about what this would look and feel like.

2. Weekly family meetings – Schedule and give priority to weekly family meetings/hui. Encourage everyone to attend. Keep it positive and something to look forward too. Role model and encourage sharing of feelings. Here are ten tips to help get started.

3. Write up agreed family rules/kawa - How do we want members of our family to behave towards each other. We can take it for granted that we will act with love and with kindness, but, under stress this doesn’t always happen. Create a family kawa together and put it on the fridge so you use it. Doing weekly check-ins on how well everyone has been sticking to it, is super helpful. Check out these ideas on how to do this:


4. Set up lock-down routines - The best way for teenagers to stay well and to keep up with their learning is to stick to routines. Same bedtime, get up time, start/finish school etc. Also ensure they relax and have fun.


5. Don’t over-load your teenagers with your worries - While it's important that teenagers are aware of issues that impact on the family, it's important they are not left feeling responsible. They don't need to solve the problem. They have enough of their own issues to be working on.


6. Eat healthy and keep (or start) exercising - The temptation to eat junk in lockdown is particularly strong. Trouble is that junk food highs are immediately followed by junk food lows. Keep it out of sight. Encourage them to keep exercising even if it’s in the confines of a small yard. There's lots of research that teens will feel happier when they are feeling healthy.  

7. Team up - Because you are in lockdown, it does not mean isolating. Create a virtual team to help-out with your teens. Who can help with study, who can help them stay positive and confident, who makes them laugh? Teaming up is smart!


8. Help them to focus on what they have control over - Watching every update will wear you and your family down. Set goals and write lists of daily achievements within the confines of what’s possible. For example, build up the number of press ups you can do each day. Build a new play list. (Nelson Mandela was a great advocate of this approach).


9. Sharing of chores - A great way to prevent ‘chore conflict’ is to front foot it with agreed chore lists. Defined responsibilities are a great way for teenagers to feel they make a contribution. It's also a way to learn about the relationship between rights and responsibilities. Here are some good ideas on how to do this.

10. Create family fun time - Here are some ideas.