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Routine Checkup, 12 Years to Young Teen: Care Instructions

Most young teens tend to focus on themselves as they seek to gain independence. They are learning more ways to solve problems and to think about things. While they are building confidence, they may feel insecure. Their peers may replace you as a source of support and advice. But they still value you and need you to be involved in their life.

Spend some time with your teen doing what they like to do.

Let your teen know that you are always willing to talk. And listen carefully.

Forming healthy eating habits

  • Make meals a time to connect.
  • Offer fruits and vegetables at meals and snacks.
  • Limit fast food. Help your teen make healthier food choices when you eat out.
  • Offer water instead of drinks high in sugar or caffeine.
  • Put away electronic devices.

Practicing healthy habits

  • Encourage your teen to be active for at least 1 hour each day. Ride bikes or walk together, if you can.
  • Limit screen time.
  • Do not smoke or allow others to smoke around your teen.
  • Help your teen to get at least 8 hours of sleep a night.

Keeping your teen safe

  • Wear your seat belt to show your teen that it's important.
  • Teach that drinking alcohol and doing drugs can be harmful. Tell your teen to call for a ride if the person driving was drinking or doing drugs.
  • Make sure your teen wears a helmet that fits well when riding a bike or scooter.
  • If you have guns, lock them up unloaded. Lock ammunition away from guns.
  • Remind your teen to be careful online. Talk about what's safe and not safe to share online.

Parenting your teen

  • Try to accept the natural changes in your teen and your relationship with your teen.
  • Respect your teen's privacy. Be clear about any safety concerns you have.
  • Set realistic rules with clear consequences. But be reasonable as your teen tries to do things without you.
  • Tell your teen why you think school is important. Show interest in your teen's school.

Talking about sex

  • Start talking about sex early. This will make it less awkward each time.
  • Discuss your values and beliefs. Your teen can use your values to develop their own set of beliefs.
  • Talk about condom use and birth control before your teen is sexually active. Talk about unwanted pregnancy.
  • Talk to your teen about common STIs (sexually transmitted infections).

Getting vaccines

Make sure your teen gets all the recommended vaccines.

Follow-up care is a key part of your child's treatment and safety. Be sure to make and go to all appointments, and call your doctor or nurse advice line (811 in most provinces and territories) if your child is having problems. It's also a good idea to know your child's test results and keep a list of the medicines your child takes.

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Care instructions adapted under license by your healthcare professional. If you have questions about a medical condition or this instruction, always ask your healthcare professional. Healthwise, Incorporated disclaims any warranty or liability for your use of this information.