Raise healthy teens by teaching them these important lifestyle habits.
(Thank you to Stonyfield for sponsoring this post.)
Ugh, what’s that smell? One day while hanging out with my tween son, I smelled something a bit rank. We were loooong past the diaper stage, so what could it be? Something he stepped in? Something on me? Imagine my surprise when I realized it was my own precious boy putting out that stink. Body odor already? How could it be?
The parenting manuals we are glued to when we first give birth give us lots of advice on diapers and potty training, but not many of us ever get around to reading up on the fun smells of puberty – until we’re wondering what the heck is going on with our formerly sweet-smelling kids.
After my smelly wake-up call, I realized I needed to start teaching my son some healthy hygiene habits so as not to scare away everyone within a 4 block radius. Regular showers, daily deodorant, you know the drill.
Fast forward a few years and I’ve got 2 tween/teen boys who need a lot of guidance on developing healthy habits – not only for self-care but for eating, physical activity and other lifestyle choices. If you’re like me, you want your teen to be as healthy as possible, but you know for a fact that they won’t always make the healthiest choices. There’s a fine line between preaching to your teens and setting them up for success – I get it!
I have yet to find the ultimate parenting manual for healthy teens, so I put together a list of some of the healthy habits I think are most important. Use this guide to encourage your teens to develop healthy habits so they can feel good physically and feel good about themselves. No, they won’t follow everything you suggest but you’ll know you’ve done your best!
(Note: affiliate links ahead! If you make a purchase, I may receive a small commission – at no extra charge to you.)
Good Habits for Healthy Teens
1. Drink water – Hydration is super important, whether kids are in sports or not. Make sure your kids understand the value of drinking plain old H2O and not sugar-laden soda, juice or sports drinks.
Tip: Invest in a high quality, reusable water bottle they will love to carry.
2. Stay active – Ideally kids should get some type of exercise every day. Not only is exercise good for cardiovascular health, it’s helpful for weight control, stress relief and better sleep.
Tip: Encourage walking or biking to school if possible.
3. Snack healthy – Teens do a lot of snacking outside of home, so educate them on how to choose healthier snack options that have protein for energy, as opposed to sugary or greasy junk food.
Tip: High protein organic Greek yogurt from Stonyfield is a healthy, filling and delicious snack.
4. Limit screen time – Talk to your kids about the negative effects of screen time and encourage them to spend plenty of time interacting with real people and getting outdoors.
Tip: Have an occasional screen-free week for the entire family. We do this a few times a year and I’m always amazed at how creative my kids become when they get away from technology!
Back to my stinky boy story – One thing I knew for sure was that I did not want to start out my child on traditional deodorant made with strong artificial fragrances and other questionable chemicals. Finding a natural, plant-based product free from parabens, aluminum and artificial fragrances was a top priority.
5. Practice self-care – Teach your kids to take care of their bodies. That includes regular brushing and flossing, frequent washing and showering, and daily use of deodorant and sun protection.
Tip: Tom’s of Maine has Wicked Cool! deodorants especially formulated for teenage boys and girls!
6. Get sleep – Make sure your teens prioritize sleep. They may be busy, but they should be getting at least 8-10 hours of sleep a night.
Tip: Ensure that phones and tablets are stored away from bed and preferably out of the room completely.
7. Eat your fruits & veggies – Probably the most forgotten food group for teens, fruits and vegetables are important nutritional building blocks. Eating them regularly will help kids develop both the habit and the taste for them, to carry into adulthood.
Tip: Keep a bowl of fresh fruit on the kitchen counter and offer veggies and dip with dinner or between meals. If it’s there, they will eat it!
8. Limit sweets – It’s tough not to love sugar, but kids need to learn moderation and that too much sugar is not good for their long-term health.
Tip: Watch the movie Fed Up with your kids. My teenager saw it in school and was pretty blown away (although he still has a sweet tooth!)
9. Learn to chill – Stress has a lot of negative health effects. Learning to take time to relax, whether it’s through meditation, yoga, or listening to music, is a valuable life skill.
Tip: Headspace has a free series of 10 minute meditations – a good place to start!
As I’m sure you know, teens don’t necessarily follow all the advice their parents shell out. We’re still working to control the stink and follow through on other healthy habits, but I trust that our healthy values are sinking in and they’ll get there in the long run.
How do you encourage healthy habits for your teens?
(This post is sponsored by Stonyfield and products were provided by Tom’s of Maine. All opinions are my own.)
Top image altered with permission via Charmaine Sylvia Photography – flickr cc
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