Can’t fall asleep?
Sometimes it’s hard for teens to wind down by the end of the day. Between school, sports,
tutors, friends and homework—their brains are constantly on overdrive. No wonder many teens complain of waking up tired in the AM. They aren’t getting the proper rest they need. Think about it. People teach us how to drive, how to cook, how to study…so why don’t people teach us how to sleep? The solution is a sleep ritual.
Here are a few tips to help you sleep.
- Limit your screen time. Not just at night, but during the day. Opt for going outside, reading, or relaxing without a smart phone or tablet near by. It helps your brain wind down.
- An hour before bed, begin what I like to call the “sleep ritual”. Put away all school books, notebooks, homework, etc., and pack your backpack for the next day. Then, put the bag out of sight, ready for the morning.
- Shut all computers, smart phones, and video games off. The key here is no bright lights distracting you.
- Pull down your bed covers, then lower the lights in your room. This triggers your brain that sleep is coming. (*Low music is optional.)
- Take a warm shower in low light or no light. Slow down your mind in the shower by breathing in through your nose and out through your mouth. Focus on your breathe. The warm water helps produce oxytocin, which help us relax and preps us for sleep.
- After the shower, keep your eyes cast downward. This limits the visual distractions that cue your brain to be active again. After leaving the shower, so straight to your room. Do not interact with family, or get distracted by sounds.
- Once you enter your room, shut off the low light (and music if it’s not on a timer) and go to bed. Chances are you will fall a sleep faster and sleep more soundly.
1) Watching tv in bed is the worse! It doesn’t trigger sleep and inevitably you will keep waking up when the actions on the screen shift in volume. This disrupts your entire sleep cycle.
2) We sleep best in cool environments. So, if you have a habit of keeping socks on before bed or loading on the covers, think about changing that habit. Chances are you kick off the socks in the night and wake up from being over heated. Open a window as well.
3) Drink a glass of water before bed. It hydrates the brain and helps with it’s “self-cleaning” process. You will wake up more rested.
4) If you are a light sleeper, sleep with ear plugs. The average person wakes up far more during the night than they realize. Just because you can’t remember waking up, doesn’t mean that you didn’t.
Introducing Girls to Code
As a VP at Hackbright Academy, (the leading coding school for women) people always ask, “What is the best age to introduce my daughter to code?” My answer.… “As soon as possible!” The same goes for all the STEM sciences (Science, Tech, Engineering and Math.) It’s never to early to introduce a child to something new. The next question they ask is always– How?
Every child is different, but why not expose them to “all things science” early on in a fun way. There are: science museums, science based board games and video games, science based TV shows, experiments you can watch on Youtube, great tutorials by Khan academy, coding camps for kids, and the list goes on. The earlier any child is exposed to something new, the more it opens their eyes to possibility. It makes them curious about the world. First hand exposure is always a great tool and it provides a safe environment for children to ask questions if they are a bit shy.
The other day I passed a dad and daughter on the street. They were crouched down on the sidewalk looking at something. (I’d say the daughter was about 7 years old.) Once I got closer, I could see that they were inspecting an acorn. A very large and lonely acorn that seemed out of place on such a busy city street. Where did it come from? The dad was talking about what an acorn is, what it does, the shell, how it will spout, etc. He was also taking the time to answer all his daughter’s questions. It was a wonderful exchange and teachable moment that they were both clearly enjoying. He didn’t rush by the acorn on the sidewalk, he stopped and took notice of his daughter’s curiosity. He used the opportunity to teach her about nature. This type of time and patience helps ignite curiously in kids. So, introduce your child to code (or any science) when you are ready to dive in and be part of the conversation with them. If they see that you are engaged and curious then they will be too.
If you need help identifying some great resources for your child, just reach out!
Guest blog By Tammy Walsh
With school out for summer break, teens are likely to spend a lot of free time with friends and may face challenging situations they weren’t expecting. This can be scary for parents, but know that you are not helpless!
Summertime presents a great opportunity to start talking with your teen about peer pressure and the influences it can have on his or her behavior. Take advantage of this time to work with your teen on confronting peer pressure and doing what they think is right.
Here are some things you can do this summer to make sure your teen can appropriately handle situations where they feel pressured to participate in something they aren’t entirely comfortable with:
- Have a conversation, not confrontation: Whenever you choose to talk to your teen about peer pressure, make sure you are having a discussion with them, not lecturing to them. If your teen feels like he or she is being lectured to, he or she may respond defensively and not listen to you. Even if your teen is being unresponsive or appears agitated, remain calm and don’t give up. If you are looking for ways to initiate a conversation, take a look at these conversation starters.
- Prepare an exit strategy: Sometimes teens simply don’t know what to say when pressured to participate in a risky behavior like experimenting with drug and medicine abuse. Take some time to brainstorm phrases that your teen can say if pressured to engage in a potentially dangerous activity. Here are a few examples to get started:
- “No thanks, I don’t do that stuff.”
- “No thanks, I’m not interested.”
- “The side effects just aren’t worth it to me.”
- “I’m committed to living a healthy lifestyle and doing drugs is not part of that.”
Even saying something like, “If you were my real friend, you wouldn’t ask me to do that” can turn the conversation on the perpetrator. And finally, be sure to remind your teen that sometimes the best option is to simply walk away.
- Continue the conversation: Just because you’ve had the conversation once, doesn’t mean you can’t continue it. Bringing up the topic of peer pressure every once in a while will help keep it top of mind for both you and your teen. Casually check in with your teen when an opportunity presents itself. For example, if you see an article about peer pressure in the news, don’t be afraid to share it with your teen—sometimes seeing real life examples can help put things into perspective.
Do you have any other tips for talking to teens about peer pressure? Please feel free to share them in the comments below!
Tammy is a mother of two, a high school math teacher and a contributor to The Five Moms blog on StopMedicineAbuse.org. Tammy has a passion for addressing the issue of substance abuse openly and honestly with parents and teens. Through her work with The Five Moms, she hopes to reach more parents on a national level, educating and empowering them with the tools to make positive change in their communities. Join the conversation by following Stop Medicine Abuse on Facebook and Twitter