African American family of five in their daily morning routine, with three teen girls standing in the kitchen.

How to Create a Morning Routine to Reduce Stress Levels

How to Create a Morning Routine to Support Teen Mental Health

As teens learn to navigate the often complicated and messy passage into the adult world, they need the proper tools and guidance to make the transition as smooth as possible. As a parent, helping teens come up with a system is an excellent way to set them up for success and promote positive teen mental health. For teens, part of the process of growing up requires establishing routines and forming healthy habits. Creating morning routines for teens in your household can make life simpler and reduce stress levels for the whole family. Keep reading for our best tips for an easy AM!

Setting Schedules

When discussing the best time to sleep and wake, it is important that teens feel like their wants and needs are taken into account. Sticking to the routine is easier if they feel like they are making decisions for themselves and approaching independence at their own pace. Help them along the way, but wherever possible, try not to make them feel forced into anything. 

Rise and Shine

Whether your teen is an early bird or a serial snoozer, having a wake up routine can take the pressure off for the rest of the day. While getting up early might be an easy habit for you, keep in mind that it might be more difficult for your teen. Staying up late studying, or texting their friends past the appropriate bedtime can contribute to difficulties getting out of bed in the morning. But adequate sleep is crucial to teen mental health! So, above all, try to encourage your teen to set an alarm for bed that is at least eight hours before their wake up time. 

Them Time 

No matter how long it takes, be sure that there is enough time for your teen to do whatever it is that they need to do to feel ready to take on the day. As an adult, the additional time might seem unnecessary, but for teens, it can be incredibly valuable to take the time to prepare for whatever stresses their upcoming day might bring them. They may need some additional moments in front of the mirror to talk themselves up and fill up on confidence for the rest of the day.  

Dress Up

Clothes are often a way that teens can express themselves and start forming their identities. Having the time to pick the perfect fit can contribute to self-esteem and therefore is an essential aspect of any morning routine for teens. In order to make this possible, encourage them to get an outfit idea ready the night before so they have time to try it on and make changes the next day. If this feels too childish, or if they want to dress based on a whim, suggest they set aside a favorite, “go-to” outfit ahead of time that they could wear any day to feel confident and comfortable. This will take the pressure off if the alarm is snoozed a few too many times. 

Breakfast Time

As the saying goes, the first meal of the day is the most important meal of the day, and this is even more relevant for teens. Starting the day with the proper fuel can set the mood and energy level for the rest of the day. Much like with picking an outfit, suggest to your teen that they keep a regular breakfast meal in mind that they can grab quickly when running late. If there is time in the morning, encourage them to make breakfast for themselves. Or better yet, make breakfast together! This is a great opportunity to share the kitchen space, help each other out, and sneak in a bit of bonding every morning. 

Get Going

When crafting the perfect morning routine for teens, it’s crucial to plan for the exact time they need to be out the door. When setting the schedule, keep in mind when your teen needs to be at school, and whether arriving early might be helpful to socialize with friends or talk with teachers. If your teen is learning to drive, set aside extra time to get to school so they do not feel rushed or stressed on the road. If there is ever additional time in the morning before they leave, encourage your teen to make their bed and tidy their room so they will have a zen space to return to in the afternoon. 

At Tilly’s Life Center, we understand that growing up can be hectic and difficult to navigate. Our mission is to help young people live positive and fulfilling lives by providing essential teen mental health resources. To learn more about our workshops, visit