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Basic Stress Management: Quick Tips for Less Student Stress

Student Stress Out Of Control? Here’s How To Help

School’s back in session. So is student stress. So, take a moment to reflect. Was last year too stressful for your teen? If so, try adding more basic stress management into your teenager’s schedule this coming year, says Dr. Catherine Steiner-Adair, a clinical psychologist and leading expert on children’s social and emotional development.

Basic Stress Management For Teens

1. Get enough sleep.

Encourage your teenager to get nine hours sleep at a minimum. Well-rested teenagers do better in school and are all around less stressed than their sleep-deprived peers. Need help? Start by asking your teenager to store her phone outside her bedroom at night. Research shows that screens in bedrooms decreases sleep by about an hour a night (for everyone).

2. Healthy food (mostly).

You can’t control what your teenager eats outside of your house, so try to make sure that what you’re serving at home—and what’s available in your cupboards—is healthy.

3. Exercise.

Regular exercise is a major stress buster, so get your teenager moving—whether that’s a daily walk, intra-murals, yoga, or whatever else she’ll stick with. Hint: walking to school and walking the dog are great exercise.

4. Daily downtime (even if that means doing less).

If there is not enough time in the day for your teenager to just relax for an hour or so, then it’s time to take stock of how much your teenager is doing. There’s no reason to schedule every waking minute of every day.

5. Less screen time.

Keeping up with technology (read: social media) can be stressful for teenagers, not to mention highly distracting. So this school year, consider setting limits that help your teenager take a break from screens everyday. Many experts recommend no screens at the dinner table and no screens in the bedroom at night (starting at least 30 minutes before bedtime). Others advise no screens while studying—too tempting—so you might consider asking your teenager to only use his phone or other device during study breaks (every 45 minutes to an hour).

Catherine Steiner-Adair

Learn more about Dr. Catherine Steiner-Adair and The Big Disconnect at her website.

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