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Boost Your Teens Brain With Practical and Healthy Strategies

By Barbara Neiman

03/24/2012

 

 

Boost your Teens Brain with Practical and Healthy Strategies

Spring is here, our teens are in a frenzy with upcoming finals, SAT’s and Regents.  For Seniors College acceptance letters creates serious decisions to make!   Offer support to teens with these tips

Make a date with your Teen AND the family Calendar

Help your teen verbalize their priorities with the family calendar. Take 30 minutes of uninterrupted face-to-face time to outline important deadlines and events for the next 10 weeks left of the semester, exams and any doubled bookings that make those dates complicated and need a plan B to give optimal support to the test taker. Updating the family calendar regularly can reduce stress and surprises.

Plan Ahead

Make the week of the SAT or exams as simple as possible for the family by making sure the refrigerator is stocked, laundry is done, less chores, to make days before the test less stressful. Make sure there are plenty of healthy foods available.  Is your teen a stress eater or skip meals when stressed? It helps to have accessible fruits, nuts, low sugar items, proteins such as lean turkey or a cooked chicken, beans, soups, vegetables, veggie dumplings, baby carrots, avocadoes, healthy chips, and almond or peanut butter.

Commit to a check in time with your teen.

Plan a regular check in time with your teen on a daily basis about what is going on emotionally and how they are eating, sleeping, homework due or social issues that may be causing stress.  If college is being discussed limit the conversation to 15 minutes a day to not overwhelm the teen.

 Commit to not “ over-schedule”

We create stress by over-scheduling our very young children. Be on the alert for heavy scheduled weeks or weekends. Prioritize blocking out some down time, eating together and regularly exercising and talking daily by taking outdoor walks and fun.

Practice contemplation.  Allow time for quiet reflection. Going to breakfast with a teen can encourage conversation. Encourage your teen to listen and share what their intuition is telling them. Hone in on what is really important for you.

Make sure teens are getting adequate sleep. Lack of sleep contributes to sugar craving and a less sharp brain.

Keep humor alive when discouraged with the small things.  Humor is a great cure when things don’t go your way. Acknowledge the disappointment and the feelings and move on. Stay focused on the goal.

Set priorities for social events:  Everyone doesn’t always go to prom, with a date these days. Don’t blow it out of proportion.  Find ways to make it special without breaking the bank and think out of the box. Can you borrow a dress or have your parents or friend drive you?  Do what is right for your budget and personality, which might include opting out. Don’t worry about what others will think. These events are about having fun and no one will remember what you wore one month from now. Be open to whatever the evening will bring, and stay safe.

Get adequate exercise and outside time. Find some time to enjoy the outdoors, biking, walking or sports.

Improve concentration: Prepare yourself before you sit to do your studying with some stretches, yoga, pushups or playing with a fidget toy to distress. Chewing gum and drinking water will also help with concentration. Sometimes writing a list for a minute and “dumping all that is in your head “will allow you a clarity from which you can then find a new start.

Barbara Neiman, is the author of The Adopted Teen workbook and an adoptive parent. She works in New Paltz  with preschool children providing Occupational Therapy. See her books at Inquiring Minds or on Amazon.