Managing a Year 12 student’s health
Year 12 is a stressful year at best, but with COVID -19, the stresses have been magnified.
Still, as a father or father-figure you can help your Year 12 student by better understanding the elements that contribute to the health of our students.
Here is a check list to help provide a greater level of knowledge and understanding around student health, and copying in Year 12.
Tips for managing Year 12 stress from Dr Tim Hawkes
- Sleep. The teenage brain needs at least eight and a half hours of sleep a night, and more if under the age of 15 years. Sleep is a time the brain processes the previous day and re-wires itself to cope better with the morrow. It’s worth noting that sleep deprivation can be a feature of teenage life because their biological clock is set an hour or two ahead of the adult clock. This means many teens find it difficult to sleep before 11 pm and wake before 8am. During year 12 a healthy sleep program is vital, good screen hygiene, and no mobile phone activity 1 hour prior to sleep.
- Stress. A teen that is worried is a teen whose mental function is so consumed with ‘fright’ it has little capacity to cope with learning. For this reason, a priority needs to be placed on effective pastoral care and early intervention if a student is suffering stress.
- Mental stimulation. Mental stimulation is important for brain growth. The brain pays attention to stimuli that is new and interesting. A brain that is exercised is a brain that will grow.
- Physical exercise. Exercise oxygenates the brain and helps it get rid of stress. There is truth in the saying, ‘A healthy mind, a healthy body’. Develop a healthy brain program for year 12 and ensure it contains regular exercise as fitness is critical for the brain.
- Diet. It’s accurate to say we are what we eat. If ‘brain food’ is eaten such as fish, fruit, nuts and vegetables, the myelin coating around the neural pathways will be healthy and speed up brain function. If what is eaten is full of sugar and saturated fats, thinking will be slowed down. A rainbow diet of phytonutrients and antioxidants is needed for good myelination and effective brain function.
About Dr Tim Hawkes OAM
Father of two daughters and a son, Dr Tim Hawkes has written on raising teens with his latest book, “Ten Leadership Lessons You Should Teach Your Teenager” being popular with parents. Dr Hawkes has been active in the area of values education and the development of leadership skills in students. His four book series, “Learning Leadership – a leadership course for secondary students” has become popular in schools throughout the world.
In 2007, Dr Hawkes was given a “Quality Teaching” Federal Government award for excellence as a school principal for “rejuvenating the educational philosophy and practice of The King’s School by building on its strengths as a national leader in boys’ education, residential education and leadership education.” The citation went on to say that School’s academic results had also improved significantly under his leadership.