by Lesley Adams, Behavioral Health Counselor
How to Successfully Transition Back to School after a Long Break by Lesley Adams
Welcome back NDP families and a warm welcome to all of our seniors returning for their last semester here at NDP!
As we embark on a new semester filled with grace and mercy, we're wondering where to even begin transitioning back to busy schedules, sporting events and many school activities. We wanted to review a few quick and easy tips for a successful beginning to this new semester.
1. Start getting back to bed on time. This first tip may be the most obvious, but it's also the most important. Teenagers specifically need on average 8-10 hours of sleep per night due to cognitive and brain development during this time. Lack of sleep can hinder our ability to absorb and retain new information, our mental and emotional health can be negatively affected as well as increase the risk of injuries to ourselves. So make a commitment to a schedule, use an app to notify you of a scheduled bedtime, but make sure your student gets the sleep they need.
2. Plan, Plan, Plan. One important to skill to stay on top of schoolwork and student's other commitments is learning to prepare and prioritize. Utilizing a physical paper-based planner, time management apps, (such as Rescue Time, Focus Booster or Evernote) or taking time to write down your priorities for each day, week and month can help any student focus on homework, study for big tests or work on upcoming presentations. It can be easy to fall behind on schoolwork or forget about an assignment. If you aren't using some type of planner currently, invest in one for your student to utilize throughout this semester.
3. Time is precious, use it wisely. Time management is an important skill to have when getting ready for each semester. An important part of planning is knowing what's coming, and that's super easy to do here at NDP! We have an app that accesses important events and a weekly calendar that shows everyone what's going on here on campus. We also send out e-mails and notifications regarding any other NDP events that you may want to know about!
4. Take care of you. Stress and anxiety can be a common occurrence at the start of a new semester. It can be overwhelming with so much information being thrown at our students. Our last important tip is to make sure students have an appropriate outlet for your stress. This can be physical exercise, reading a non-school book, meditation, going to church, hanging out with friends or family, or anything that alleviates stress for you – do it!
If your student is experiencing any socio-emotional issues and you're looking for additional help or resources, please contact your student's counselor. We are happy to help our students be successful both at home and here at NDP
Moody or Depressed: What today’s teens are going through
In today’s Counseling Corner, we briefly explore depression and how that differs from “moody”. As our teens open up more about the anxiety, social pressure and depression they are feeling, the more opportunities we have as parents to help children grow their critical thinking and independent living skills to adapt and overcome. As we get into the second half of the semester, you may be wondering if your teen is going through the normal, age appropriate mood swings or if there is a bigger issue going on? The biggest mistake a parent can make is not to ask their teenager what is going on or assuming their teen won’t talk to them. Most students are open to talking, exploring their feelings and opening up to those around them.
A New York Times article highlighted statistics of today’s depression rates while also offering parents some insight on how to guide their children to become their own problem solvers. The most helpful advice is to identify the core issue through active listening with your child while also refraining from the impulse to solve their problem and rescue them. It can be challenging to watch your children struggle, but this gives them the chance to learn about themselves, develop resiliency skills and be successful in the future.
This is not to say we are not looking for some warning signs to bigger concerns. Most teenagers have mood swings that are developmentally and emotionally appropriate which include manageable stress around school, fitting in with peers and being able to juggle it all. But when is it too much? If your teen is beginning to be reclusive from friends, family or all previously enjoyed social activities, sleeping more than before, struggling with motivation for attending school or their appetite has changed, these can be red flags to a bigger issue. All of these signs are dependent on each particular person and can’t be compared to other children you may have, so be diligent in asking questions, offering support and consider seeking a professional who can assist you and your family together.
Here at NDP, we have a caring counseling team to assist our students with an array of issues to get them on the road to college and a happy, healthy life.
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