Pre-teen years can be challenging for parents as children are striving for more independence. One thing that is really important is a nutritious diet, and it is especially critical for a tween's overall physical and mental health. Pre-teens often have fluctuations in appetite, so try to provide a variety of healthy foods, and let them make choices on their own. Limit the snacks in the pantry, and encourage your tween to drink water instead of soft drinks.
Try to have dinner together every night, and you might see that your tween does better in school and is less likely to experience depression or anxiety. Encourage positive conversation without devices.
Talk about how eating certain foods makes them feel so they can develop a healthy relationship with food. Avoid using food to bribe or reward, and try not to make an issue out of their eating habits. Too much focus on food can increase the risk of eating disorders and negative body image. The most important part of teaching your child the importance of a good diet is modeling good behavior.
Check in with your tween every single day by spending some private time together. A few minutes at bedtime is beneficial, but car rides allow kids to feel less threatened when you aren't looking directly at them.
Schedule regular alone time, but don't expect them to volunteer a lot of personal information each time. If you listen and show that you're interested in what's on their minds, you'll experience a closer connection.