about all they have to do; an incredible amount of time can be lost in worrying and complaining. Urge your teen to get in gear and just do it. In fact, encourage her to do the most difficult project first and the easy stuff closest to bedtime. The quality of homework is directly related to how rested teens are when they do it and to whether or not they’ve done it in a rush. If teens get the rest they need at night, they’ll be able to stay focused in class and do their homework much more easily.
Teens will really benefit by writing in a journal or diary about anything that’s worrying them (see page 122 for more about diary writing) and perhaps work on a plan that will resolve the issue. They can also read something soothing or inspiring, such as Chicken Soup for the Teenage Soul or some favorite poems.
Talk with your teen about not taking on too much. There are only so many hours in a day, and some of them need to be unscheduled to have the opportunity to regroup and refresh.
Sometimes sleep-deprived teens are just going to have to take a nap. When that time arrives, encourage your teen to follow these guidelines:
Teens shouldn’t nap for more than 40 minutes (20 or 30 is better). Anything longer may let them cycle into deep slow wave sleep that will make it very hard for them to wake up. When they do wake up, they may actually feel worse than they did before the nap— sluggish, disoriented, and very cranky.
Teens shouldn’t nap late in the day; the later they nap, the harder it will be to fall asleep at night. If your teen knows she is going to need a nap to get through all the homework, the nap should take place as early as possible after school. Any nap should be over no later than 6:00 p.m.
Teens should set up a mechanism for waking themselves after a short nap. If an alarm clock is too brutal, they should enlist a parent or sibling to get them up. But if they wake up cranky, they need to promise they won’t take it out on the person who woke them.
If possible, it’s a great idea to take a brisk walk or do something active to break out of a post-nap fog.