The coronavirus pandemic has resulted in shutdowns of everything from sports, to schools, to even parks and beaches.  The result, a completely unstructured day for teens and parents alike. One way to help your teens and tweens through this time of uncertainty is to provide them with a more structured day. We could just as easily let time pass by, but it would be too easy to forget to fit in activities that will help us thrive and be better as a result. I’ve seen many new schedules online that are useful for tweens and younger kids, but not many for teens and high schoolers. So I am sharing a suggested quarantine schedule specific for teens to address their different needs for schooling, connections with friends and family, while fostering their independence and encouraging them to build new life skills.

What Kind of Quarantine Schedule Can Teens Handle?

You would be surprised how much a structured schedule, at least in blocks, can help your teen get through the day.  Since we’re in this for the long haul, there is no reason not to mimic a schedule similar to what they get at school. Teenagers are definitely old enough to learn to follow time blocks. They may need some encouragement and reminders to start, but they should get used to it within a few days.

The weekday schedule below shows blocks with different types of work, putting some structure back into our teens’ day. Some important elements that we wanted to make part of their daily schedule were:

  • Getting up and getting ready for bed

A consistent time to wake up, get dressed, and get ready for the day. It’s important that their day is similar to a normal school day. Same with a consistent time to get to bed.  It would be too easy to let our teens stay late and get up late, but that is detrimental to their health and immune system. Learn more from Dr. Rolando Diaz, Ph.D., about structuring your teen’s day while online distance schooling.

  • Distance Learning

Teens should have the maturity and focus to handle blocks of up to two hours at a time for studying, work on online lessons and homework set by the school. High schoolers who are home schooled typically spend about 4 hours per day on schoolwork. For some variety in online learning, including STEM projects, online art classes, and virtual tours of museums and national parks, check out the Activities for Teens During the Coronavirus Quarantine.

  • Breaks and Personal Time

Breaks set aside to catch up with friends, on video chat or playing online games together. This way they still feel connected even though they can’t see each other in person.

  • Family Teamwork

Teens are more than capable of pitching in at home, helping with cleanup and preparing meals, taking the trash out, wiping down tables, etc.  Now that everyone is “sheltering at home”, all teens can pitch in and keep the household running smoothly.

  • Family time

With parents working from home, and teens being self-sufficient, we may lose track of time and miss out on actually spending time together.  Set aside time before dinner to play games with parents or siblings, or do video chats with cousins or grandparents.  In our home, we are using this as a chance to reconnect with grandparents who are out of town.

  • Time away from electronics

We give our teens freedom over using apps, video games, or video chat to connect with their friends. It’s just as important to make sure they have down time from screens, and spend quiet time reading, writing in journals, or engaging in other reflective activities.

  • Creating Goals and Working the Plan!

Up until now, your teens may already have been working on goals with their coaches, teachers, or mentors. Now that structure is gone, and teens can take over responsibility for their goals, be self-accountable and keep making progress. With limited time spent on schoolwork, they can start working on a new goal that makes them excited. A goal can include building new skills, creating something new, or learning about a new topic. Your teen will be able to clearly see how just a few extra minutes a day on a long-term goal adds up and makes a difference. Download our SMART Goals worksheet to set up goals with maximum chance of success.


Quarantine schedule for teens

Make Your Own Schedule With Your Teens

We think the quarantine schedule for teens works pretty well for our family.  But of course many of you will want to come up with your own version. So we’re sharing a blank template that you can print and make your own with your teen. You can determine together:

  • The best time of day to spend on learning activities
  • Best times to take breaks to connect with friends
  • What activities can your family share to bond during family time
  • When is the optimal time to work on a new goal
  • Other quiet time activities to help settle down before bedtime
  • Specific time of day to wake up and go to bed


Quarantine Schedule for Teens Template

Let’s Turn Downtime into an Opportunity

We can give our teens some independence, teaching them to take on the responsibility for their own work and effort.  Setting a structure and new goals will help them build executive functioning skills like planning and prioritizing, time management, task initiation, and goal directed persistence. Learn more about What is Executive Functioning and Does My Teen Need It?.

Join our Facebook group Parenting Busy Teens, and let us help you with answers to any questions or challenges you may be having. We hope to be a resource for you and your teens, by providing ideas and encouragement, and celebrating success together!


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Quarantine Schedule for Teens


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