Playtime, Downtime and Family Time - Teens Need it Too!

Welcome to installment #2 of our Better Together Principal’s TEAM blog! Today, I would like to begin to share some information from the Challenge Success Conference at Stanford University. Through our partnership with Challenge Success, a team of 10 from SMCHS comprised of administrators, counselors, parents, students and teachers recently attended the fall conference. Below is part of the group that attended!

It was an incredible experience, and I look forward to sharing more along the way. We will be getting together as a group this week to talk more about how we can all work together to meet the learning, social and emotional needs of our community of learners while embracing a broad definition of success.

Nationally, the levels of stress of high school students have become of increasing concern in our achievement culture. Although we may think that times are the same and we just need to tell our kids buckle down and do it, changing statistics are telling us otherwise. The statistics shared here are gradually increasing.
Did you know? 
• 42% of teens say they either are not doing enough to manage their stress, or they are not sure if they are doing enough to manage it.
• 37% of teen girls and 23% of teen boys report feeling depressed or sad due to stress.
• 35% of teens report that stress caused them to lie awake at night
• 42% of teens who sleep fewer than 8 hours per night say their stress level has increased over the past year.

Source: American Psychological Association (APA). (2009). Stress in America.

The research is clear: adolescents need Playtime, Downtime and Family Time! Our lives have become increasingly overscheduled. Below you will find some practical tools to create PDF for your home! Download a copy here

Whether stopping by Campus Ministry for snacks and conversation, visiting the Sacred Heart Chapel for quiet time in prayer or dropping by the library to play a board game with friends – it is our hope that SMCHS is also a place of where your students can take a “time out” to pause and connect. Recently, our IB program participated in Worldwide Character Day. Students watched a short film, “The Science of Character,” followed by a small group discussion on character strengths including humility and justice while sharing a meal provided by our IB Booster parents.

Students said the experience was inspiring “because sometimes we get so focused on success or all the college stuff that we don’t make time to look inside ourselves to think about who we are and who we’re becoming.” One of the most profound statements revolved around students being there for one another, “Sometimes, presence is more than enough.” 

I would also like to touch on cheating. Through the Challenge Success program, over 200,000 middle and high school students from more than 200 schools have taken the Student Survey since 2007. These are the results in relation to cheating:

  • 87% of students reported cheating within the past month in high school
  • 72% of high schoolers worked together when asked for individual work
  • 46% of high schoolers report copying someone else’s homework at least once in the past month 

Has the achievement culture we are now living in made cheating more prevalent, and perhaps, accepted?  What can we do to help our children to understand the effects of stress on their moral choices? Challenge Success addresses this in the following article that we have attached here providing valuable information for both parents and educators:  

Cheat or Be Cheated? What We Know About Academic Integrity in Middle & High Schools & What We Can Do About it.
As always, I also encourage you to take a look at our wellness website for a variety of resources and upcoming events as we continue to nurture not only the developing mind, but also the body and spirit for overall wellness. 

I hope this food for thought is valuable to you in some way. Let’s keep talking and asking the questions as a home and school team for the resilience, happiness and balance of our children. 

With the love of Christ, we are Better Together
Cheri L. Wood, Principal

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