10 tips for teen wellness.
With as busy as the world can be for teenagers today, Castle Valley Children’s Clinic has compiled a list of 10 tips for teen wellness that is sure to improve your teenagers physical and mental health, mood, as well as overall life experiences.
Tips for better wellness for teenagers.
- Connect with your teen in covnversation.
- Limit social media.
- Teach them basic coping skills.
- Get them involved in extracurricular activities.
- Support community connections.
- Discipline with dignity.
- Model self care.
- Nobody succeeds alone.
1. Connect with your teen through conversation.
Why? Having a trusted adult is one of the most important factors to increase resiliency and mental health wellness in teens.
How? Schedule a time to converse with your child. Show interest in what they talk about. Be an active listener: no cell phone, pay attention, don’t judge, repeat and summarize what your teen shares with you.
2. Limit social media.
Why? Over 3 hours of social media per day increases teens’ risk of mental health problems. Kids need to escape the constant peer pressure, negative comments, and bullying that can happen on social media. Their brains need a break!
How? Set time limits. Take electronics at night consistently. . Have a conversation (see #1) about social media and develop expectations together.
3. Teach basic coping skills.
Why? Teens are in the process of developing lifelong habits. Coping skills increases resiliency in youth, and teaches them healthy ways to manage challenges.
How? Experiment with what works for you and your teen! Ideas include: deep breathing, taking a break from the situation, walking or other physical activities, journaling, coloring and listening to music.
Why? Diet is directly linked to mood and brain development and function. (As kids get older, they eat out of the house more often- do the best you can!)
How? Ask your teen what their favorite foods are. Pick some ideas that are healthy and have those on hand as much as possible. Schools have free breakfast and lunch this year, so encourage your child to eat meals throughout the day. Limit sugary drinks as much as possible and encourage water. Talk with your teen about their diet and make little changes to get started.
Why? Exercise reduces stress! Exercise causes a release of endorphins in the brain-these are the happy chemicals! These happy chemicals reduce anxiety and depression in our teens! Exercise also boosts self-esteem and promotes a more positive self image.
How? The Centers for Disease Control recommends at least 60 minutes of activity on most days for teens. Find something your teen likes to do and encourage that! Bonus: Exercise together! Go outside!
6. Teenagers should be in extracurricular activities.
Why? Extracurricular activities are associated with improved academic engagement and performance. They build strong connections with peers, strong time management skills and increase social skills in teens. Activities like art and music increase neural connections on both sides of the brain. These connections are beneficial in all aspects of a teen’s brain.
How? Encourage your teen to try something new! Explore around your community and see what is out there! Check out the Glenwood Rec Center and after school programs at your child’s school. If you need some ideas, call the school… there are often flyers in the main office and ideas posted on the school’s social media pages.
7. Support community connection.
Why? Connecting with the community ensures your teen is able to develop relationships with peers and trusted adults outside of the home. Also, helping others
helps your teen feel better!
How? Look for service project, volunteering opportunities, yard clean up for elderly neighbors, working with a younger student, tutoring… or have your teen come up with some ideas!
8. Discipline with dignity.
Why? Discipline comes from the Latin word, “to teach.” Discipline should teach teens responsible behavior and self-control.
How? Regulate, Connect, Redirect Regulate: When our brains are clam, our brains can produce rational thoughts. Take some time to calm down before addressing anything. Make sure you and your teen are calm. Be patient! This can take some time! Connect: Build on your relationship and trust. Listen to your teen, share perspectives, and don’t judge. Redirect: Work with your teen to teach them about owning their behavior and how to change the outcome of their
actions next time. Have your teen brainstorm how to repair any harm that was caused.
9. Model self care.
Why? You can not pour from an empty cup. If you aren’t well-rested, eating healthy and prioritizing your physical and mental health, you can’t be at your best! This is a huge aspiration for most parents- do the best you can!
How? Set some priorities and small, attainable goals for yourself. You could even do this with your teen! As parents of teens, we often think that they want to do the exact opposite of what we do… this is not true! They are always watching… Model self care for your teen.
10. Nobody succeeds alone.
Why? This is hard!!!!!
How? Lean on others for support. Raising a teen is not easy for anyone, no matter what they say. Reach out to health care providers, mental health clinicians, teachers, coaches, school counselors, and friends. Find support groups you can attend (RFSchools has one). There is power in sharing stories. Give yourself some grace. Everyone makes mistakes. Everyday is a learning opportunity, and we are all doing our best.
Article By: Grace Tennant, MA,EdD
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Doctors For Teenagers Near You, Serving The Roaring Fork Valley
Visit our New Castle office for your teenager’s health needs. View Location | Call Us: (970) 984-3333
Visit our Carbondale office for your teens health care needs. View Location | Call Us: (970) 984-3333