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Low Energy for 12 Year Old

By Jodie Lynn


My 12-year-old daughter just doesn't seem to have energy for anything. She doesn't really enjoy school because she's so tired all the time. Her physical from the doctor came back fine. What else can I look for that might be causing these low energy levels?


Check to see if she is staying up too late. We thought our son was going to bed at a reasonable time, yet he too was drained during the day. Once his teachers started complaining that he was falling asleep in some of his classes, we also took him to the doctor for a physical. Everything came in as normal so we started monitoring his activities closer. There didn't seem to be anything unusual. However, when a storm arrived one night, I went to check on him around 1:00 A.M. and to my surprise, he was texting; thus, we found the culprit. Now, his phone is turned off and placed inside a dresser drawer in our bedroom. His energy level suddenly increased with no other problems. - Jim and Shelly Patterson in Seattle, OR


There are many reasons why your daughter's energy level may be zapped during the day. She could be getting too much or not enough sleep at night, either of which can make an individual tired the following day. Caffeine and sugar at night, up to a few hours before bedtime, is a common cause as well. We sometimes forget that caffeine comes from many sources from drinks to a food that contain chocolate. Take a close look at her diet for the morning, lunch, dinner and snacks. While you may not be sure of exactly what she eats at school, ask her when she gets home. There are still plenty of vending machines on school properties these days that offer non-healthy drinks, snacks and even candy. The possibility of a certain class, topic or cluster of subjects, or even a teacher may cause her to experience anxiety to the point of constantly analyzing her own performance and thus stressing out about it. Pay closer attention to her schedule, especially after-school activities. Maybe she is expending way too much energy on a specific activity. Ask her teachers if they see any type of bullying taking place. This is enough to make anyone of any age extremely tired. Another possibility is allergies. Perhaps have her checked out by an allergist. If this is in fact the issue and she begins to take medicine for it, you will see a dramatic difference in as early as couple days, depending on the severity of the allergies and medication taken. If none of these pan out, it could be a self-esteem issue that causes energy-draining stress or simply causes her to appear tired and unfocused. A counselor could make a significant change in this area if it was the problem.

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My daughter's school is offering typing as an elective course for fourth graders. I know she will use it frequently as she gets older but she's not really happy about it now. Is there an easy way to help her with this: build up her speed and encourage her enjoy it?

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© Jodie Lynn
Jodie Lynn is an award-winning internationally syndicated family/health columnist and radio personality. Her syndicated column Parent to Parent has been successful for over 10 years and appears in newspapers, magazines, newsletters and throughout the Internet. She is a regular contributor to several sites including,,,,, and Lynn has written four books and contributed to three others, one of which was on Oprah and has appeared on NBC in a three month parenting segment. Her latest books are "Mom CEO (Chief Everything Officer) - Having, Doing and Surviving It All!" (June 2006) and "Syndication Secrets - What No One Will Tell You!" (March 2006).
Please visit for details on her new radio talk show, Inside Parenting Success.


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