The kids might not be alright, but we can do something about it.

In a recent report, the CDC found that more than “1 in 3 high school students had experienced persistent feelings of sadness or hopelessness in 2019, a 40 percent increase since 2009.” 

As we enter the third back-to-school season during an ongoing pandemic, we need to help our kids (and ourselves) manage mental health.

The New York Times published an excellent checklist for college students. The practical advice includes useful tips like how to expand one’s social circle at school and how to create an on-campus safety net in case of a potential crisis. 

Even before your child heads off to college, you can start creating good habits and healthy communication at home. 

“This is the time when teenagers are learning to establish their identities, manage hormonal shifts, develop independence, and build resilience.” Promoting these kinds of daily habits helps instil confidence and sense of self in teens, important when taking those next life-changing steps in adulthood.”

The British Victorian educator, Charlotte Mason, echoed this sentiment a century ago:

“The formation of habits is education, and education is the formation of habits…The [parent] who takes pains to endow their children with good habits secures for themselves smooth and easy days...”

Here are a few greetings, earthling sustainable rituals for parent and teen to do together:

Start cooking meals together using healthy, easy recipes they can replicate at school using one pot or one pan.

The years leading up to college can be chaotic and one can only rise and grind for so long. Emphasize the importance of quality sleep and practice nightly household wind-down routines

Good hygiene is good health. Give your teens the tools and know-how to properly wash-up from top to toes. 

It’s most likely going to happen, so frank conversations about alcohol are important and can “prime them for more difficult topics down the line.”

Create core memories with your kiddo with a nightly meditation practice to close the day. The life-long benefits and the time spent together are invaluable. 

Lots of conflicting advice with regards to screen-time, but most experts agree a “digital curfew” is critical

Make the time for meaningful conversations, free from distractions including work and phones. Be respectful of their interests, their concerns, and anything else they share. 

Prioritize self-care rituals as a big part of respecting and loving ourselves and our bodies. Try scheduling regular events with your teen like home spa nights, volunteering, or taking up a creative hobby together.