Three Healthy Habits to Teach Your Teen by Example

parenting teens The way we act as parents can impact the way our children feel about themselves. This sentiment is also true for influencing the health of our children. Although they might not want to admit it, our teens are watching us all of the time, keeping tabs on what we eat, how often we exercise, and if we buckle up in the car. With this in mind, the following three healthy habits are all things we can teach our teens by example:

Be a role model for safety

Do you want your teen to wear a helmet each and every time he or she heads out on a bike or rollerblades? Then as a parent, you should be sure that you do the same thing — every time. This concern for safety extends to other activities as well, notes the CDC, including always wearing a seat belt when you go out to drive, wearing sunscreen, and taking care of your eyes when heading out for a walk. Make sure you child wears UV-resistant sunglasses when outside. If you have some scratched up old shades you’d like to hand down, you can always replace the lenses inexpensively from a company like Revant Optics. If you go hiking together, have your teen help you to put together a portable first aid kit and set aside some bottles of water. By reinforcing these safety steps yourself, you establish a great model for healthy safety habits.

Watch what you eat

Teens and junk food seem to go hand in hand. If you are concerned your teen is overdoing it a bit on less-than-healthy foods, take an honest look at what you are eating and drinking. When you sit down to watch TV at night, do you have a bottle of water or a soda by your side? When you’ve had a busy day and are too tired to cook dinner, do you make an effort to throw together a quick salad and baked chicken breasts, or do you pile in the car and make a fast food run? As Sparke notes, it’s also important to not use food as a reward — at least not too often. In order to teach healthy eating habits by example, try not to motivate your teens with food. If you have had a great week at work and want to celebrate, treat yourself to a new pair of running shoes or maybe a nice new coffee mug instead of a big slice of chocolate cheesecake.

Take care of your body

Another wonderful way to lead by example when it comes to health is to be sure you are taking care of your body. At dinner, mention that you are going in for your yearly physical, and even though it might not be your favorite thing to do, talk about it in a positive manner. Brush your teeth at least twice a day and floss regularly — although your teen probably won’t stand in the bathroom doorway and watch you do this, he or she will notice that you are doing it. And if flu shots are important to you, ask your new driver to give you a lift over to the nearby pharmacy and hang out with you when you get your shot.

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Social Media Pages Your Teen Should Be Following

shutterstock_168815291-2Ninety-five percent of American teens are online, either via a desktop computer or mobile device, Pew Research reports. Internet-aware parents try to do a good job at keeping our children safe online; we lock down their access to various sites to protect them from all sorts of bad information and influences, and we give them advice on what they should follow. To that end, let’s take a look at the social media pages we think are helpful to teens:

Creating a Newsie Teen

More than two-thirds of Americans get their daily news from the Internet, according to the American Press Institute. Though news coverage is available 24 hours a day, few teens actually follow the news closely. One reason is that the teen would need to consciously seek out current affair information, an act that is not common unless a project or paper is due in school. If you are the type of parent who believes in staying up to date on global news, then ask your child to place a news feed on his or her social media accounts. This way, the adolescent does not need to search for news. It is present for the teen to read or not, as he or she chooses.

If you want to be more prescriptive, then look at the Facebook pages of the larger media outlets. For the smart but free-willed adolescent, Gathering of the Minds on Facebook is a news outlet that offers everything from current science to satirical politics. It promises open and uncensored coverage of ideas so be prepared to have some pretty heated debates about Middle-Eastern politics while eating your meat loaf.

Adolescents and Money

A third of high school seniors use a credit card, yet only a quarter understand how credit works, Charles Schwab reports. Financial literacy is a must, and it is not something that can be taught overnight. Some of the things that you will want your child to learn are credit and return on investments; both of these require a logical analysis of how much money is going out versus how much is coming in. This is the basis of all finance. You are not expecting your teenager to be filling SEC stock holdings, but an understanding of daily personal finances would serve him in the future. Investopedia is a good place for your burgeoning adult to get information about financial matters, and the J.G. Wentworth Twitter feed is a great resource for living-on-a-budget information.

Sports Chat Online

You do not need to suck all of the fun out of social media. Reddit is a fun way to stay up on sports and sports conversations. The Reddit sports category will have links to any number of interesting sports events. Some offer discussion on teams or sports figures, chastising them for poor achievement or making predictions on future greatness. Others have humor for the sports-minded. Reddit is designed to be a forum chat platform, so monitor your child’s activity closely. It is not uncommon for sports enthusiasts to use profanity or other language that would be considered inappropriate.

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From Test Drives to Tickets: Prepare Your Teen For the Road Ahead

teen driving One of the biggest moments of a person’s life is turning 16, getting the keys to the car and taking that first solo drive down the road. But that moment starts well before the sweet 16. Many steps need to be taken to help prepare teens for the road ahead.

Of course, your teen needs his or her driver’s training to gain experience on how to safely handle a car. But before your child ever gets behind the wheel, it is important to communicate to get them to understand the responsibility that comes with driving.

Distractions can cause problems while driving, but cell phones are perhaps even bigger of a concern. In 2011, at least 23 percent of auto collisions involved a cell phone in the United States, and texting makes a collision up to 23 times more likely to occur, reports Texting and Driving Safety. Ten states and Washington D.C. have laws against people using handheld cell phones while driving, while 39 states and Washington D.C. prohibit texting and driving.

However, texting is not the only poor choice a teen can make when in the vehicle. About one in 10 students in high school drink and drive, while teens are 17 times more likely to die in a crash when they have a blood-alcohol level of .08 percent, reports the Center for Disease Control.

If you want your child to avoid becoming a statistic, set clear rules. Rules should include the times the child gets to drive, who is allowed to be in the car, where they are able to drive, the best route to get there and what to do in case of an emergency.

Another important preparation is making sure a vehicle is road ready and safe for the teen to drive. Safety has to be a priority. A good to place to start is with the tires. The tires are not only what makes the car move on the roads, but they are also key when operating the vehicle – especially when stopping.

Start by checking tread depth. If you don’t have tread-depth gauge, an easy substitute is a penny. Place it in the grooves of the tire and, if it rises to cover part of Abraham Lincoln’s head, it is still good. If you can see all of Honest Abe’s noggin, it’s time to shop at a tire store like TireBuyer.com for some new treads. According to many state laws, at 2/32”, most tires are legally worn out and must be changed out to help insure safety of not only the vehicle operator, but also all other vehicles on the road.

A balding tire is dangerous and increases the risk of crashing. Statistics show more than one out of every 10 vehicles on the road has a balding tire, notes Right Turn. Without grooves in the tire treads, water is not channeled the way it is suppose to in order to keep contact with the road. Even in dry weather balding tires are more prone to punctures.

Also regularly check the air pressure in the tires. The manufacturer recommended tire pressure can be found on the decal inside the driver’s door. It is good to note the pressure given is for cold tires. Low tire pressure makes the tires run hot, uses more gas and affects how the car handles.

Give the car a tune-up, too. Oil and fuel filter changes are easy, but also make sure the timing and other belts are in good condition to avoid any breakdowns.

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