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  • Julia Mitchell

Help Your Teen with ASD Maintain Good Mental and Physical Health

Keeping your teen healthy involves many factors: nutritious food, adequate sleep, and sufficient exercise. You can also teach good habits to your teen by modeling behaviors that improve well-being. Autism Vision of Colorado presents some pointers that are definitely worth keeping in mind.

Talk with Your Teens About Setting Goals

Having conversations with your teen about what they want to achieve is crucial for establishing a healthy lifestyle. Find out the objectives they hope to accomplish and help them plan steps to reach those goals. You need to model goal-setting and time management as well. Perhaps you are earning a master’s online degree in information technology while fulfilling your other duties. Or, maybe you are taking steps to start a business or save for a vacation. Your lifestyle habits will serve as a model for your child's behavior.

Promote Regular Exercise for Physical and Mental Health

Studies have repeatedly shown that physical activity helps maintain mental health, and there are certain activities that are especially beneficial for teens with autism. Martial arts benefit children by improving self-esteem, attention, and concentration. Karate and other disciplines teach mindfulness and discipline through physical exercise. Swimming, running, bowling and biking are also great options for your teen to try.

Stock Your Pantry with Healthy Foods

Healthy diets improve the condition of your body and mind. When you have vegetables, fruits, and whole grains on hand for snacking, your teen will learn good habits to last a lifetime. Be sure to set an example for your child by modeling good eating habits.

Plan Ahead to Make Healthy Choices Easy for Your Teen

When you plan your grocery list and purchase nutritious options, your teenager will be less likely to grab fast food or junk food items when hungry. Enlist them in the process by finding out what healthy snacks they like the best. Cut up the vegetables and other snacks into pre-portioned amounts, so it is easy for you and your children to grab healthy foods, even in a time crunch.

Encourage Your Teen To Get Enough Sleep

Some tips to help your child get on a regular sleep schedule for optimal mental and physical health include the following:

  • Reduce or eliminate caffeine intake

  • Limit screens before going to sleep

  • Enroll in a scheduled exercise activity

  • Get blackout curtains for your child's room

  • Help your teen maintain a consistent schedule

Make Health a Natural Part of Your Family's Lifestyle

If you demonstrate healthy choices in your everyday life, your child will naturally follow suit. Some suggestions for teaching good habits include:

  • Make it clear why it is essential to prioritize the health of your body and your mind.

  • Create routines for yourself and your child. Consistency makes it easier to choose things that are good for you.

  • Talk with your child about how they feel both physically and mentally. Communication is essential to build trust with your teen.

  • Surround yourself and your children with people who also make healthy choices.

  • Provide support for your child, so they know they can count on you to help them make good decisions.

Your behavior and habits are two of the most influential factors affecting your teen's overall wellness. When you make healthy choices that incorporate goal-setting, regular physical activity, mindfulness, and healthy eating, your child will make similar decisions.


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