Starting around age 9 to 10, the brain has a growth spurt that lasts into the mid-20s. The outer covering of the brain (called the cortex) gets thicker. The brain follows the simple principle of use it or lose it: the brain connections that teens use again and again become stronger. The connections they do not use just fade away. How teens spend their time matters. What teens do will help to shape their brains. One of the last areas of the brain to mature is called the prefrontal cortex. Located right behind the forehead, the prefrontal cortex helps teens to learn how to solve problems, set goals, and control their feelings.
Here are Some Ways You Can Help Your Teen's Brain Grow:
• Encourage your teen to try a new hobby or practice a new skill like learning a musical instrument.
• Help your teen learn how to manage time and tasks.
• Teach your teen to make lists of things to do. Help her or him use a calendar to keep up with
homework and chores.
• Help your teen to be physically active. Sports, exercise, and being outdoors are good for the brain.
• Work with your teen to set time limits for the computer and TV. Also set limits for cell phones and
playing video games.
• Find ways to expand your teen’s role in family decision making, how to budget money, and other tasks.