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Raising Teens Today:
Guiding Teenagers with
Essential Parenting Dos and Don'ts
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CurlyStache Raising Teens Blog | Cover Banner strip (background) of 4 teens walking on campus with books

Raising Teens Today and the 5 Essential Parenting Dos for
Going Back to School in 2023

CurlyStache Raising Teens Blog | 4 teens walking on campus with books
Kick your feet up, bathe in the sun, enjoy family time around the campfire, and vacation with your loved ones. Now that it's August, there is little time left to enjoy the summer spectacles with your kids and teens before it's back to the grind of school. In this raising teens blog post, we will cover essential parenting dos and don'ts when getting your children ready to start the school routine back up in full swing with the top 5 essential parenting dos to prepare your teen for the school year.

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Raising Teens Today and the 5 Essential Parenting Dos for Going Back to School in 2023

CurlyStache Raising Teens Blog | Cover Photo for Blog, "Raising Teens Today and the 5 Essential Parenting Dos for going Back to School in 2023"
Written By Dan Currie
Published: August 14, 2023

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CurlyStache Raising Teens Blog | Number "01" Circled in Orange with small arrow pointing right

Back to School Habits and Sleep

Start Small: Curfew

CurlyStache Raising Teens Blog | Caucasian teen male on his porch in the evening on a laptop

When raising teens today, whether physically or mentally, a developing mind and body require regular routines to rely on so the mind and body don't work overtime and become tired and run down. As you can imagine, this is critical for teens returning to school. A simple curfew is a good starting point to transition your teen from summer to school life. Curfews are an excellent way to allow some downtime at night and begin forming your teen's routine, which can help prepare them for the upcoming sleep schedules and school routines.

How Much Sleep?

A constant, stable sleep schedule is paramount. We all need a dependable sleep schedule of 8 hours to repair and recharge our bodies and sharpen our minds efficiently. Our teens, however, per the CDC, require 8 to 10 hours; tweens even more, ranging between 9 and 12 hours of sleep per 24-hour period. We must ensure our children are well-rested for school, which will assist in staying focused throughout the school day and not feeling lethargic while boosting their mood and behavior.

How much sleep someone needs depends on their age. The American Academy of Sleep Medicine has recommended that children aged 6–12 years should regularly sleep 9–12 hours per 24 hours and teenagers aged 13–18 years should sleep 8–10 hours per 24 hours.

Sleep Schedule Mastered

CurlyStache Raising Teens Blog | Caucasian Teen Girl on her phone under the bed sheets

It is important to note that teens are naturally wired to stay up late and sleep in. If your teen is a night owl and has been staying up late, start by allowing them to continue, but make sure they wake up 8 to 10 hours later, not excessively sleeping in. Gradually push the time back by an hour every few days or week. Keep doing this until you reach the time they need to be in bed on a school night, ensuring they wake up the next morning like it is a school day. Establish this routine for at least five days before the start of the school year to prevent trouble getting up and staying awake throughout the day.

CurlyStache Raising Teens Blog | Number "02" Circled in Purple with small arrow pointing right

School Shopping

The Essentials

Most schools require essential items such as pens, notebooks, folders, and binders—and nowadays, this may include electronics such as earbuds; make a list so everything is remembered. Typically schools will also send out information regarding the basic materials needed, be mindful of this and watch for it in your mail, email, or school website. If it is not feasible to acquire the items, reach out to your local school district, which will usually assist in supplying them or direct you to an assistance program.

CurlyStache Raising Teens Blog | Caucasian Young Teen Girl with a bookbag shopping in school isle

The Wearables

CurlyStache Raising Teens Blog | Caucasian Young Teen Girl excited about school shopping with mom in dad in background

Along the lines of school supplies, another trendy topic is school clothes. Ensure it does not violate school policies when buying your teen school clothes, despite what your child may like. If your school mandates uniforms, ensure your child follows these guidelines, and you purchase any clothing not included with the uniform, such as undergarments or gym clothes, if applicable. Pro tip: as all parents with teenage kids know, they grow like weeds! Think about going a size up if they are in their growth spurt.

CurlyStache Raising Teens Blog | Number "03" Circled in Green with small arrow pointing right

Get Organized

Old School Calendar

This topic makes sailing very smooth if you can capitalize on it. The more organized you can get, the less hectic, chaotic, and stressful it will be. As stated in the previous topic, create a list of items needed for school and discuss it with your teen to confirm that you remember everything. Then sit down with them and make a calendar of their upcoming events; put your affairs on the calendar there with theirs. Doing this is particularly helpful if your teen participates in sports, clubs, or other extracurricular activities. Now you and your teen can better tackle future conflicts and address them head-on before it becomes problematic.

CurlyStache Raising Teens Blog | Caucasian Young Teen Girl sitting with parents going over activites on calendar getting ready for school

School Schedule

CurlyStache Raising Teens Blog | Caucasian Mother going over upcoming school schedule with young teen daughter

Continue being proactively organized and ensure your teen receives their schedule from the school so they know where they are supposed to be and when; most schools will send home the school schedule a few weeks beforehand via mail or email. They may take frequent outside or off-campus classes, such as an environmental sciences class. It is essential to check and see that no permission slips or release forms need to be signed to participate in their class or activities. Sit with your teen and discuss their schedule actively, asking them about their schedule, the classes they are taking, and what is involved in each class.

Open-Campus Programs & Lunches

Many high schools hold an open-campus program for seniors or students with excellent grades allowing them to arrive late, leave early, or leave the school property during study hall or lunch periods. If your teen has these privileges, ensure the proper documentation and forms are signed if you approve of them enjoying that benefit. If these benefits do not pertain to your teen or they cannot leave for lunch, ensure you have a plan for their lunches. Plan it out. Are they buying lunch from the cafeteria or paper-bagging it? If packing their lunch is the way to go, plan and stay organized: make a lunch calendar. It doesn't necessarily mean certain days eat certain meals or even the same meals daily unless you choose to. Instead, utilize the calendar like a shopping list, ensuring you have everything you need until the next shopping trip. Be sure to add healthy snacks on there too! When doesn't a teen stop eating?

CurlyStache Raising Teens Blog | Caucasian Teen Girl reading a book and snacking outside in field during open-campus
CurlyStache Raising Teens Blog | Number "04" Circled in Dark Blue with small arrow pointing right


Summer vs. School Rules

CurlyStache Raising Teens Blog | Caucasian Mother and Teen Girl  discussing expectations for upcoming school year

There should also be a time to sit down with your teen and review some ground rules, or expectations, for when school begins. For example, summer vacation rules typically are more lax because it is precisely that: vacation. Explain to them what you, as their parents expect regarding their behavior, responsibilities, housework, curfews, friends, and work life, if applicable. Along that notion, ensure they understand your expectations of the school's rules. It could mean explaining what will happen if you get a phone call from the school because they are missing a class; this way, there are no surprises if and when that incident happens.

The Usual Expectations

Cover most logical situations, such as skipping school, participating in fights, failing subjects, substance abuse, or disrespect. Explain the consequences at home in conjunction with any school punishments. Doing this will make them more likely to think their decision through, knowing that the consequences could be compounded. Lastly, include items you want them to avoid bringing to school from home, such as something of great value.

Phone & Electronics

Discuss the phone and electronics policies for your school, and if there are additional rules regarding their phone, Internet usage, etc., Ensure you address them, confirming they understand what could happen if the school and home rules are violated.

CurlyStache Raising Teens Blog | Caucasian Mother and Young Teen Girl discussing technology policies for upcoming school year

Off-School Hours, On-Campus

If your teen plans on riding the school bus or is involved in athletic or other extracurricular activities before or after school, do due diligence, research the expectations, and confirm their understanding. Let this also include general school property rules and etiquette when school is not in session.

Rule Changes & Refreshers

CurlyStache Raising Teens Blog | Caucasian Father and Teen Son enjoying conversation smiling

While discussing some of this with your teen is considered expected and common knowledge and therefore seems unnecessary, I assure you it is essential to discuss. Taking an evening a few weeks before school to let them know what you expect is a good refresher every year—and as they get older, perhaps the rules change and bend as they mature. This essential "brush up on rules" is also an excellent time to get your teen's input, incorporate changes, reflect on the past, and look to the future.

CurlyStache Raising Teens Blog | Number "05" Circled in Light Blue with small arrow pointing right

Transportation Planning

School Bus

The final item to ensure you cover is transportation. First and foremost, determine whether your teen will be taking the school bus or something private. If they are utilizing the school bus, gather the necessary information from the bus garage or school district, including the pick-up time, location (if not at your residence), and drop-off time and place. Check with the school; bus forms may be required to ride.

CurlyStache Raising Teens Blog | Caucasian Teen Girl walking towards her school bus in the distance

Private Rides

CurlyStache Raising Teens Blog | 3 African-American Teen Girls getting ready to drive to school

If your teen is not taking the school bus, decide what is best for your teen's transportation needs and involve them throughout the process so they are in the know and can ask questions along the way. Depending on your proximity to the school, parenting work/activity schedules, climate, and many other possibilities, determine the best transportation options and for what days. Whether it's driving them to school, they are old enough to drive themselves, walk, skate, bike, carpool, or whatever—it is critical to go over the details and communicate it as a family. Be sure to include the family or friend in a carpool situation so that a ride is not missed and, crucially, for their safety.

Extracurricular & Communication

School clubs, athletics, and other activities like marching band may require early drop-off or late pick-up. Make plans for this as early as possible, utilizing carpooling with teammates/classmates and other parents if necessary. Just as important as securing a ride to or from their activity, make sure to let their usual method of transportation know the days your teen will not need a ride. Communication is critical regarding transportation needs, whether courtesy or safety; it is one thing never to be overlooked.

CurlyStache Raising Teens Blog | 2 African-American Teen Girls horseplaying in soccer uniforms in the back seat of a car

In Conclusion

CurlyStache Raising Teens Blog | 2 Caucasian Teen Girls and a teen boy walking on campus with books going to class

Returning to school tugs on all sorts of emotions during this time of year. The excitement and anticipation of entering a new grade and seeing old friends, the anxiety of a challenging subject, the dread of school itself, and the appreciation of climbing the mountain of books to be rewarded with an A+. It is our job as parents to set our teens up for success. We must deliver the fastball down the middle to them, ensuring they are ready for the year ahead by following the 5 Essential Parenting Dos for Going Back to School in 2023. If we do this correctly and the pitch is perfect, they will have no problem knocking it out of the park, making us the proud parents we are!

Lastly, before I close this blog out, I want to leave you with a personal bonus step that frequently gets overlooked; especially with those teens having to make a new start in a strange new environment. Please indulge in "A New Start" and know that we haven't forgotten about you, those going through an entirely different phase in your life. To those of you, I wish you the best of luck in your journey!

CurlyStache Raising Teens Blog | Number "06" Circled in Yellow with small arrow pointing right

A New Start

For those parents and teens who are beginning a new chapter in their life with a move to a new school district: Parents, we can handle a move to a new town, but please remain sensitive and understanding that it is one of the most challenging things your teen will have to undergo to that point in their school careers. Here is a list of things to keep doing for them:

  1. Support them emotionally, and follow their leadif they need space, give it to them, but ensure they know you are there for them no matter what.

  2. If they act out, and reprimanding them is required, try not to limit their social devices unless absolutely necessary so they can continue to see and communicate with old friends and family members in their former town.

  3. Allow for weekend trips or day trips back to their former hometown until they begin making new friends to help prevent possible depression and homesickness.

  4. It will take about half of the school year for them to fully transition, begin making close friends, and establish a social life; remember, they are going through a lot during this period.

CurlyStache Raising Teens Blog | Caucasian Teen Girl sitting on school stairs with books sad and depressed

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