beforehand. If it’s to practice lacrosse plays right after dinner, at least one homework project should be done before going outside.

  • Urge your teen not to cram for exams or quizzes. For example, instead of waiting to learn all the vocabulary words in one night, she should go over them for a few minutes every night as part of daily studying. This approach will produce much greater comprehension than if your teen waits to learn all the words at once.

  • Encourage your teen to do homework in a comfortable spot where there won’t be any interruptions by siblings, parents, the phone, or e-mail. Before homework begins, ask your teen to let friends know that she is signing off for an hour or more for homework and won’t be available.

  • Ask your teen to read the statistics detailed in Chapter 4. They should reinforce your counsel that all-nighters should be a thing of the past. Last-minute studying puts teens at a disadvantage compared to students who give information the sleep time it needs to be incorporated and refined in their brains.

Strategy 7: Reduce Stress

There’s no doubt about it—school is exhausting. Not to mention the sports, activities, homework, after-school jobs, family time, and responsibilities that are also part of a teen’s day. To help your teen cope with all there is to do, suggest some of the following stress reducers as a way to cope, wind down, and rejuvenate:

  • Teens should reward themselves for surviving another school day by doing something relaxing for at least half an hour when they get home. They can nap if they must, but they shouldn’t sleep for more than 30 minutes (see more on napping below). Instead, they should try:

    • Listening to music or watching TV (they can tape a favorite show that’s on at night and watch it after school)

    • Eating a delicious—and healthy—snack (a bit of junk food is OK if it’s accompanied by something nutritious)

    • Getting some exercise if they haven’t already had sports

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