There’s a lot that goes into preparing for a new school year, especially for tweens and teens. From school supply shopping to finding the perfect first-day outfit, don’t forget to also equip your teens with the knowledge and tools they need to protect their health. A new school year comes with new germs, viruses, a potential lack of sleep, academic stress and more. Establishing healthy habits now can go a long way toward keeping your teen healthy – and happy – until summer rolls around again. Here are a few healthy tips you can share.
Healthy Tip #1: Snacking for Success
Food is fuel for our bodies, and maintaining a balanced diet can help set up your student for success. Try to always have a few quick and nutritious breakfast items on hand, such as:
- Egg bites
- Cut fruit
- Overnight oats
You can even pre-make smoothies by combining the solid ingredients (fruit, ice cubes, protein powder) in a Ziploc bag and placing it in the freezer. Then, simply dump in the blender, add liquid (such as milk or yogurt) and enjoy!
Encourage your teen to drink plenty of water and limit caffeine and sugary sodas. Having a go-to water bottle to bring to school can help them remember to hydrate. If they bring lunch to school, shop for ingredients together and do some meal prep. You can also send healthy snacks in their backpack for them to have throughout the day.
Healthy Tip #2: Keep it Moving
Staying active and getting exercise should be fun. Talk to your student about any interest they have in sports or other activities, such as a dance team. These are great outlets for making friends while keeping their bodies moving. Of course, not every child will be physically able to participate in sports or other physical activities, so encourage your child to find an outlet that is a good fit for them.
When you can, encourage your teen to spend time outside – go for a walk with friends, visit the local community pool, and find other ways to stay active throughout the week.
Finally, make sure they have everything they need for gym class if it is included as part of their school curriculum. Having supportive shoes that fit correctly can prevent foot and ankle issues later in life.
Healthy Tip #3: Focus on Mental Health
Mental health is just as important as physical health, especially for teens who are exposed to a lot of different pressures at this age. Talk with your child about how they are feeling, and remind them to seek support from you, a trusted friend, family member or counselor whenever they need to talk.
While some teens might resist being told to limit screen time, there is evidence that too much scrolling can have negative effects on their mental health. It can also disrupt healthy sleep habits, so check in with your child about how much time they spend on their device each day.
Healthy Tip #4: Catch Some ZZZs
Ever wonder why your teen is always napping? That’s because kids need a lot of sleep at this age. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that teens from 13-18 years of age get anywhere from 8-10 hours of sleep per 24 hours, which is more than recommended for adults.
In addition to not using smartphones right before bed, help your teen set up a restful environment for sleep at night. Keep an eye on whether they are consistently going to bed late, especially when staying up doing homework.
Healthy Tip #5: Don’t Forget Immunizations
One of the easiest healthy tips for your teen is to stay up to date on important immunizations. Schedule a general well check before the school year starts to make sure they have everything they need.
This appointment is also a good opportunity for your student to discuss all these areas of health – mental health, sleep hygiene, nutrition and more – with their care provider.
Need a Primary Care Provider?
ACV Health is now accepting primary care patients aged 14 and up. Call today to schedule an appointment for your teen– our friendly providers would love to speak with you.