For us parents, the teenage years are undeniably tricky. On the one hand, we realize that adolescents aren’t renowned for having the healthiest habits, but we also know how crucial these years are to their overall health and development. This is also the stage of independence, so it’s possible that your child will kick back against everything he’s been told is “right” or “healthy,” such as eating well or not drinking and smoking.

As a mom or dad, it’s your job to nurture your child through these turbulent years and help them through any emotional or physical difficulties they face, but what do you do when your teenager doesn’t listen? Here are four things you can do to help your teenager stay healthy.


Encourage Exercise

Teenagers need to be active for around 60 minutes each day – a statistic that may horrify you if your child spends half their life playing Xbox or watching TV. Exercise doesn’t necessarily mean an organized sport or activity though, as teenagers get plenty of physical activity by walking around with their friends, riding a bike to school or playing football during recess. The key is not to push it, as your teenager may refuse to do something simply because you want them to; yet another way they will assert their independence from you. Encourage fun hobbies like skateboarding or mountain biking and give them a gentle nudge to get out and about each day.


Provide a Balanced Diet

We all know how important a good diet is to our overall health, but nutrition can be a bit of a worry for teenagers. While healthy eating is vital for growth and development, you don’t want to give your child a complex or make them feel insecure about their weight. Try not to label foods as “good” or “bad.” Instead, provide a balance of different foods at home and don’t try to control what your teenager eats when they’re at school or out with their friends. Consuming junk foods is a right of passage for teenagers, and it’s something most kids grow out of so try not to worry. If you’re worried about your child’s weight or overall health, consult your family doctor for advice.

Don’t Make Them Dread the Doctor

No teenager likes gong to the doctor, but a certain number of visits are necessary to maintain their good health. It’s important to note that medical anxieties can arise at this age, especially if there has been an illness in the family, so it’s important to foster a healthy relationship with your child and their healthcare provider. Depending on your child’s age, you can find a friendly pediatric specialist or family physician by searching top doctor reviews online. That way, your teenager will feel in safe hands if they encounter any problems with their health.


Make Sure They Get Enough Sleep

Lack of sleep will contribute to your teenager’s mood and could impact their ability to do well at school, so you should try to make sure your child gets 9-9.5 hours per night. You may want to consider a reasonable Internet curfew if your teenager is prone to staying up late online, but the main thing is to let them sleep in on weekends and get the rest they need. Growing up is hard, and those long days at school can take their toll, so try to have a little patience, even if at times it feels impossible.