12 Ways To Boost Your Teen’s Health

Middle and high school students experience tremendous change within a few years. The fast pace of teenage development can present challenges for physical and mental health. Family and friends are essential in supporting healthy habits during these pivotal years. Assist your teen in optimizing their health before they head off to college or their first job. Think about the following ways to boost your teen’s health and shape them into empowered young adults.

1. Talk About How They Feel

Simply having safe and honest conversations about how your teen feels during their years of change is vitally important. The physical and emotional stress of adolescence can trigger health imbalances like dysautonomia and joint or spinal pain. Student-athletes may notice shifts in their center of gravity or frequency of injuries. Pay attention to signs of unusual fatigue, as addressing health issues right away is the best way to keep your teen on track.

2. Provide Age-Appropriate Education

Help your teen to understand the changes in their physical experience and social peer relationships. Provide topical materials at home, such as books or movies. Sit down and answer any questions they may have after being exposed to new information. Learning about puberty in a gentle and secure environment can protect your teen from making costly mistakes.

3. Prepare Meals Together

Encourage healthy nutrition and positive thoughts about food by planning and preparing meals together. Look at the week ahead and come up with creative ideas to blend nutrient-dense foods with fun flavors. This is a great way to teach essential life skills and to connect away from computer screens. Consider cooking meals that can be reimagined for lunch on the second day.

4. Develop Stress Management Skills

School and social shifts are common stressors for teens, and they require tools to manage the impacts of such changes. Stress mitigation skills can include self-advocacy, journaling, meditation, physical movement, going to counseling, and time management. Some healthy stress or motivation can lead to growth, and knowing their limits will help your teen to live well.

5. Explore Happy Hobbies

Let your teen know that it is okay, even necessary, to have hobbies that are not graded or competitive. There is value in pursuing an activity for pure enjoyment and peace. Provide options for developing existing hobbies or trying new ones, like making pottery or writing stories.

6. Encourage Social Connections

The social scene is frequently intimidating for teens. Your teen may be afraid of saying the wrong thing and putting themselves in an embarrassing social position. Watch for signs of isolation or loneliness and let them know that your home is a space for friends to feel most welcome.

7. Teach Sleep Hygiene

Create boundaries around using screens in the evening, especially on school nights. Promote sleep hygiene by limiting television in the late hours and discouraging afternoon caffeine consumption. Suggest reading before bed and aiming for at least seven hours of sleep. Periods of rapid growth often necessitate more rest.

8. Spend Family Time Outdoors

Go on nature walks and plan family camping trips before your teen feels too cool for such outings. Developing a love for the outdoors can serve them well for their entire life.

9. Emphasize the Importance of Hydration

Make clean water readily available and talk about the benefits of daily hydration, such as improved focus and optimal skin.

10. Get an Annual Physical Exam

Take your teen to their trusted medical care provider for an annual physical before their sports season begins. This is the perfect time for them to ask health questions that are easier to address with a professional.

11. Offer New Exercise Experiences

Consider getting a family pass to your local gym or pool. Yoga, pilates, running clubs, and martial arts can be awesome introductions to lifelong exercise routines.

12. Use Neutral Body Talk

Endeavor to speak about your own body and your teen’s appearance in the most neutral manner possible. Base their concept of health around how they feel rather than how they look in the mirror.

Model healthy habits and be your teen’s best teammate as they embark on a lifelong journey.

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