No, it’s not Christmas yet, but for some parents and kids it’s a close second. August is almost gone, which means it’s time for children and teens everywhere to head back to school. For many young adults, it’s also time to begin their journey on to college.
Attending college is a fun, challenging and life changing experience for teens everywhere. Often, it’s their first taste of independence from their parents. They’re living away from home for the first time, and are responsible for taking care of themselves and making the most of their college years.
Here are a few areas you and your teens should discuss so they can have a healthy and exciting college experience:
Proper Eating – It can be hard to eat properly when you’re busy running from class to the library to activities around campus, but it’s important to eat a balanced diet. Keep healthy snacks with you in your dorm room or apartment, like fruits and cheese. Also, just because the cafeteria is open 24 hours, make sure not to graze or overeat. If it’s hard to adjust to healthy eating in the college environment, ask to speak to a nutritionist at the school for help.
Fatigue – There may be parties every night of the week, but that doesn’t mean you have to attend. Make sure to get enough rest each night. It may be helpful to set up a sleep schedule, and to avoid sugar and caffeine in the evening in order to ensure rest.
Mental Health – Adjusting to life away from home and the workload of college can result in a lot of stress. It’s important to take care of your mind as well as your body while at school. Join a few clubs and make friends, and surround yourself with a support network that can help you during difficult times. Make it a point to regularly visit with professors during office hours so if you do find yourself overwhelmed with class work, they are able to help you. Also, visit your campus health center if you feel depressed or need some extra help.
Relationships – Finally, it’s important to make sure the relationships you have are healthy. You should be able to have open and honest communication with your partner about your relationship. It’s also not wise to become involved with anyone that uses drugs or drinks excessively. Finally, be sure to protect yourself by using the appropriate contraceptives. A healthy relationship is one where you can talk about all of these issues together, and make choices about what’s right for you as a team.
Good luck to everyone who is headed back to school in the next few weeks!