Some things to think about

Healthy eating

Encouraging a varied diet can often be achieved by parents and carers and young people cooking meals together. There are many recipes to choose from online whether your starting point is a vegetable or a style of food from anywhere in the world. Think about seeing a nutritionist to give you some guidance on portion sizes.

Keeping fit

Taking some exercise has been well publicised in the media for a long time as way to keep fit. Whether a young person is permanently seated or able to walk there are a number of ways to become active. Games are especially useful when played as a family and not an enforced exercise regime. Think about what you enjoy doing together as the health benefits are so worthwhile.

Giving up smoking

It’s thought that about 207,000 children take up smoking before the age of 16 but by the time they reach 18 around 138,000 will have stopped. A further 80% of this number will have given up by the time they are 20. Those who remain smokers and those who take up the habit later in life are presented with considerable health risks.

Emotional wellbeing and Mental Health

Young people can feel under pressure during transition. They are not depressed but may show signs of stress or anxiety. Awaiting exam results, leaving friends behind at school and other people they have known for many years are no longer part of their lives can be emotionally challenging. Other young people can be very good at suggesting ways of alleviating the impact of change.

Drug and alcohol misuse

Substance misuse tends to occur among young people who are borderline or have a mild learning disability. Parents and carers may appreciate some advice as to how to recognise the signs. If you discover that your child is drinking alcohol excessively or taking unprescribed medication you’ll need to consider who will be able to be part of your circle of support.

Sexual health

Young people will form relationships at different times and so it’s important to be ready to help them to understand their feelings. Part of this conversation is to explain what is meant by consent and to know when a relationship is sincere. Sensitively talking about sexual health often begins in school but you may want to involve someone else at a later stage.