According to Statista, in 2019, there were approximately 21.8 young children between the ages of 10-14 and 21.05 million people between the ages of 15-19 living in the United States. That means there’s a lot of parents out there worrying about what is best for their kids.
With so many different ways of parenting, it can feel like the challenge is taking years of life off your lifespan. The good news? The most important thing is that your children feel loved and nurtured as they transition into young adults.
But, for those situations where love isn’t enough — here are five great tips for keeping your teenager happy and healthy into adulthood:
1. Make their dental care a priority.
Whether it’s by enforcing basic good oral hygiene for a healthy smile or it’s the more strenuous task of ensuring a beautiful smile by caring for braces; you must make sure they follow their orthodontist’s advice on taking care of braces. Between the brackets and rubber bands, having braces make cleaning teeth difficult. To prevent plaque buildup, cavities, bad breath, gum disease, and further dental problems, however, caring for braces must be clean.
Caring for braces isn’t as simple as getting adjustments from the orthodontist and getting regular cleanings from the dentist; it also takes extra daily effort to keep them clean. By keeping a few extra toothbrushes around the house (and for on-the-go), you can encourage them to brush every time they eat and before bed. Be sure to encourage them to take extra care in the areas between their gums and their braces when brushing because food particles can build up there.
By getting extra floss, a floss threader (to get between the brackets and braces when flossing), and maybe even considering getting an oral irrigator (i.e. a water pick); you can find effective ways to keep braces clean. Another great way to keep braces clean is to talk to your orthodontist and dentist about foods your child should avoid such as caramel, taffy, popcorn, and other foods that can damage the braces as well as the teeth. Note: when braces are first put on, there can be some irritation on the cheeks. A mouthwash of warm water and salt may help with this type of inflammation.
2. Help them dress for their body type.
Remember being a teenager and trying to “look cool” through your wardrobe? For the petite girl, finding blouses and other petite tops can be difficult to find for someone with such tiny bones. It’s hard enough to be a teenaged girl without the hassle of finding adequate petite sizes! Luckily, White House Black Market has a wide selection of petite blouses as well as petite sizes in multiple other fashion staples such as tee-shirts, jackets, and skirts to fit her petite legs as well.
At White House Black Market, you can find all the best styles in petite sizes with free shipping and free returns. Help your teen find blouses with sleeves that don’t hang on her petite frame. Checkout a petite size that will work for her!
3. Look for signs of hearing loss.
According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), in the United States, roughly 5 out of 1,000 children between 3-17 years of age were found to have hearing loss. There are multiple causes of hearing loss ranging from genetic factors (around 20 percent of infants with hearing loss also have another medical condition such as Down syndrome or Usher syndrome), congenital hearing loss caused by an infection such as herpes or congenital cytomegalovirus (CMV), premature birth, tinnitus, or simple wax buildup in the ear canal.
If you suspect your teen is experiencing hearing loss, it’s important to look for signs of common hearing problems for children. For example, a common sign of hearing loss is when they seem to hear you fine sometimes and not others (like when there are loud noises in the background) or if they’ve been struggling in school. If you’re concerned your teen has a hearing problem, make an appointment with your family doctor for a thorough hearing screening to see if they have normal hearing. Getting a hearing test by a specialist like an audiologist is crucial, so your teen doesn’t struggle with their language skills.
4. Keep their vaccinations up to date.
Vaccinations are the best way to prevent illness from common viruses that could be deadly or lead to further medical problems (they are especially important for travel). According to the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), vaccinations should begin at infancy, and older children between the ages of 7-18 need vaccinations to prevent serious viruses such as measles, mumps, rubella, varicella (i.e. chickenpox), and many more. They also recommend doing “catch up vaccinations” that may have been missed based on your pediatrician’s recommendations.
5. Discuss their mental health with your health care provider.
According to the CDC, in children between the ages of 3-17, 7.4 percent have a diagnosed behavioral problem, 7.1 percent have diagnosed anxiety, and 3.2 percent have diagnosed depression. They also note that having one mental health disorder may be a risk factor for developing another. Talk to your child’s doctor about the possibility of them having a mental health issue as early treatment can reduce the severity and increase your child’s ability to function in everyday life. You may also want to consider medication (if prescribed by the child’s doctor).