Kids should take control of their own physical and mental health, doctors say

Posted: 7th September 2023

NEW YORK — Did you get enough sleep? Did you eat your vegetables? Those are just two of the many questions parents ask their kids about their health.

But experts tell CBS New York’s John Dias, as the new school year quickly approaches, parents should be reminded their kids should be taking ownership over their own health, both mental and physical.

“The very best thing that you can do for your kid’s health in the future is to get them involved in their own health care,” said Susannah Hills, pediatric airway surgeon at Columbia University.  “Developing healthy habits early on is incredibly important.”

Hills says when kids put their own health first, they’ll see a significant difference.

A healthier, prolonged lifestyle they created on their own could lead to:

  • More energy
  • Health weight
  • Avoid illness
  • More self-esteem

“Getting them to think about what they’re putting in their bodies in terms of nutrition, getting them to thinking about using their bodies and how important exercise is,” said Hills.

One of the more important things experts stress is making sure kids are comfortable being alone with their doctors and not relying on parents or guardians to take charge.

According to the resource website FamilyEducation.com, that should happen by the age of 15. So when kids transition away from a pediatrician between the ages of 18 and 21, they’re prepared.

“Helps kids take ownership of their own health when they are asked the questions about… what are your medicines, and how much do you sleep and how do you feel about this?” said Dr. Amanda Jacobs, who works in adolescent medicine at Maria Fareri Children’s Hospital.

Jacobs also says parents should still guide their children to an independently healthy lifestyle by making it fun and speaking their language.

“You have to meet your kid where they are,” said Jacobs. “Whether they’re an overall relatively healthy person and you’re just trying to help them maintain their mental health and well-being, or they’re really struggling with something.”

She also say teaching kids to maintain a proper sleep schedule, one they can control on their own, will have a lasting impact.

Source: Kids should take control of their own physical and mental health, doctors say – CBS New York (cbsnews.com)

Categories: Mental Health News