The teenage years are some of the most important years for both a child and their parents. This is the time when the parents prepare their children for the real world, ensuring they turn into responsible adults. Teaching teens how to practice a healthy lifestyle is one component of this time in a child’s life. Here are four ways a parent can help their teen achieve that goal.
Encourage Regular Physical Activity
From an early age, the importance of physical activity should be instilled in your child. It’s easier for young children to stay active because they love physical and imaginative play, but older children and teens tend to favor sitting in front of a television or computer screen in their free time. Encourage your teen to stay physically fit but enrolling them in sports and other activities that get them moving. Getting regular exercise yourself will also make them more apt to get up and move.
Talk about the Importance of a Healthy Diet
Children learn about the five food groups and how imperative it is to eat healthy, but oftentimes they are still raiding the cupboard after school for sugary, salty snacks that add unnecessary calories to their diet. Getting the whole family on board by making healthy meals and having everyone pitch in at dinnertime not only encourages healthy eating, it also prepares them for when they’re on their own and need to cook and grocery shop for themselves.
Address Body Image
Body image is a big deal, especially during those teen years when older children are exposed to social media where celebrities are seen flaunting their toned, fit, fake bodies. Those same celebrities also have access to personal trainers and dieticians that your teen may not have. Seeking treatment options for eating disorders right away can help turn around the negative relationship your teen has with food and turn it into a positive, lifelong friendship with a healthy lifestyle.
Make mental health a priority
Mental health is just as important as physical health for teens. While their bodies are changing, so are their minds. Making sure they have access to quality mental health education both in school and out is the first step towards tackling this task.
Teens thrive when their parents are active participants in their lives. Talk to your children about being healthy and practice it for yourself. That’s the best way to teach them healthy lifestyle habits.