Helping Young People Manage Themselves

In every school we see young people coming to secondary school tired, lethargic, distracted, with incomplete home assignments and generally being disorganised.  This is a common pattern. Of course adolescence can be a difficult time when bodies and minds are changing rapidly, however often these symptoms are often caused or exaggerated by slipping into bad habits with electronic devices.  I have seen parents try to deal with this by getting angry and by demanding their kids change but this often sets these emerging young adults against their parents or further reinforces the terrible habit of compliance. A better way is to approach young people as a coach – gaining trust and reasoning with them through questioning (lightly) what’s best for them.  It’s difficult however I have seen some parents help their children with this by working out a schedule for home time and helping the kids manage the schedule with help at first but then with gradually more independence until they can manage themselves

Setting a Schedule to Manage Habits

Set a schedule for the day – set homework time, social media/gaming time, reading time, time to start sleeping, waking up time, exercise time etc. You can help by having them ask or tell you that they are about ‘to start homework’ or that they ‘have completed their homework and are going to have their hour of gaming’, etc.  Of course you might have to start by reminding them to move from one stage to another however, ultimately, they need to take responsibility for that rather than you being seen as the bad person doing this to them!

Here is a suggested schedule which, of course, you may need to adapt to fit with how you do things at home:


Arrive home – organise bag, papers, take out or write down what has to be done during homework time, do some of the easy things that can be done to be ready for the next day. Hobbies, rest, etc.


Eat with family


Homework and learning time – complete assignments, revise previous topics, read/research around subjects – if your child has difficulty staying on track, have them do all this outside their bedroom where someone else is around to keep an eye on them and encourage them to stay on track – it is also good for them to discuss the learning he is doing with parents.

2030 – 2130

Hobbies, social media, gaming, etc

2130 – 2230

Getting ready for bed, reading in bed




Wake up and stretch, have breakfast , come to school

Obviously, the times set may need to change depending on the age of the young person, family lifestyle, etc.  Involvement in sports or other activities outside school might mean setting home assignment time back to later.   Also, the length of time might also need adjusting to include hobbies and jobs around the house, and if you spend more or less than an hour eating – or if one hour of social media/gaming isn’t enough – but what is important is:

  • Once you set a schedule that works, don’t change it
  • Keep the steps – especially organising things as soon as they get home; keeping some time for ‘play/socialising’; turning off electronic devices and reading before sleeping.

I have seen this work well – but it does take self-discipline, and habit breaking, and habit forming – tough challenges for anyone, young or old, but great things for young people to learn so that they can manage themselves better in life.

If parents would like support from school with this, we are happy to discuss and support from our end. Contact me at

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