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lie ahead. For example, they might not realize how much more accessible junk food is at college. Teach them a couple easy recipes to help them maintain good nutrition. You can also help them develop a fitness routine to keep them active. Most schools have a gym for students, but walking into the gym without a planned workout can be intimidating. Having a routine will help. Furthermore, talk to them about what warrants a trip to the doctor. For many young adults, visiting the doctor’s office for the first time without a parent is almost more frightening than dealing with the fever or sore throat. Back when I worked in a clinic in Detroit, Michigan (before the age of smartphones), we would meet and work with students to create documents filled with information regarding which symptoms warrant a doctor’s visit and whom to call in case of emergency. I highly recommend doing the same with your child before the school year starts. It’s always better to be safe than sorry. Even if your child still has a few more years left under your roof, having these conversations about health care is equally as important. By instilling these practices and values early on in life, you ensure they will treat their own bodies with respect as they grow older. Most middle-aged adults understand the unfortunate reality that good health in the first half of life is more low maintenance than in the latter half. So, by taking these steps early, you’ll help make your kid’s future easier. Think about it. You spend years teaching your kids about morals and ethics, hoping that as they grow into respectable, independent adults, they’ll remember your words and actions. Why not extend that to health care?
One of the Best Lessons You Can Teach Your Kids as They Head to College Can They Care for Themselves When You’re Not Around?
Parents who have kids heading off to college for the first time this month have a lot of thoughts swirling around about their young adult’s readiness to face the world on their own. Did they pack enough clothes? Will their old car make the trip safely? Did they sign up for the correct classes? Will they get along with their dorm mate? While all of these questions are logistically important, the one that keeps parents up at night is this: Will they remember the values I taught them now that they are on their own? As your child’s role transitions and they become more independent, they’ll have to start considering who they are away from home and you. They might take a number of paths. They might try out for intramural dodgeball tournaments,
dye their hair and join a band, or even change their intended major a few times. But, despite these prototypical college student changes, it’s still unlikely they will compromise the values their parents have instilled in them. One of the most important (but often overlooked) values parents can impart to their children involves their own health care. Even if they aren’t eating home- cooked meals or participating in high school sports, or they aren’t surrounded by people who will take them to the doctor when they are hurt or sick, they still can ensure their own physical and mental well-being with a little preparation.
–Dr. Trace Kelly
If you haven’t already, start talking to them about some of the challenges that
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