Healthy Living Parenting Tips: Helping your teen cope with exam stress.

Hi, I'm Samantha and this is Keith We're Public Health Nurses from the Durham Region Health Department and we're here today to give parenting tips on helping your teens cope with exam stress

Good mental health is important It helps us cope with life's stresses and reach our goals Mental health is about how we think, feel and act When our mental health is good, it helps us get the most out of life We all experience highs and lows in our mental health

When your teen has a low period, it does not mean they have an illness Stress is part of everyday life and it's normal for your teen to feel stressed when they are faced with challenges such as exams In the short term, stress can be beneficial as it can motivate your teen to work towards goals and problem solve in this video we're going to talk about some ways you can support your teen in preparing for exams and managing exam stress Healthy, active living is a great way to manage stress on a regular basis

By talking to your teen and role modeling healthy coping you can support them by identifying stress management strategies that work for them Tip #1 is encouraging your teen to eat healthy Stress can sometimes cause teens to lose their appetites but fueling their bodies with nutritious meals and snacks will give them the positive energy they need to manage their stress and get through their school day During times of extra stress you can support your teen by having healthy snacks easily accessible, so you can have such things as carrot sticks and hummus and encourage them to start their date with a healthy breakfast with 3 of the 4 food groups Starting their day with a healthy breakfast and healthy snacks throughout the day will help with their concentration, learning and studying! Tip #2 Encourage your teen to be physically active

Being active will help teens feel good, will help them mange their stress, maintain a healthier weight and lower their risk for illness Encourage your teen to find activities that fit into their life and match their interests, like going for a walk, a bike ride, jogging or swimming During their study sessions, encourage your teen to incorporate physical activity into their breaks Going for a walk or jogging will help clear their mind and refocus Remind them that taking breaks can result in a more productive study session

Tip #3 is encouraging your teen to get enough sleep Sleep is important for mental alertness, learning and retaining the information that they are studying It can be tempting when under pressure for them to pull an “all-nighter”, but it is not ideal for brain health or learning It is recommended that teens get 8-10 hours of uninterrupted sleep each night Encourage your teen to aim for this and remind them that screen time before sleep should be avoided

Tip #4 Role model healthy behaviour So you are your teens greatest teacher Role model healthy coping by being positive, eating healthy, being active and getting enough sleep Modeling healthy coping strategies when you are stressed can help your teen learn that there are effective strategies that help during stressful times It also shows your teen that stress is a normal part of life and that it does get better

Healthy Active Living is a great way to manage stress on a regular basis Encourage your teen to try a variety of healthy coping strategies and hang on to those that work best for them So some different ideas are listening to music, journaling, chatting with friends, and drawing These are just a few additional strategies that can definitely help Looking for more info on supporting your teen through life’s ups and downs? Check out Teens Can be Resilient! – A Parent’s Guide or Teens Can be Resilient…in High School! – another parent’s guide

Both of these resources can be found at durhamca/mentalhealth Also, if you would like to follow us on our Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, or YouTube channel, you can find us at Durham Healthy Families

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