3. Ask questions, address concerns, and offer advice about your teen's:
Eating. At this age, teens should begin making healthy food choices on their own. Explain that eating five servings of fruits and vegetables per day and avoiding sweet, salty, and fatty foods not only is better nutritionally but will support a healthy weight. Calcium and iron are important for supporting the growth spurts of adolescence. Aim for three daily servings of low-fat dairy products to provide 1,300 milligrams of calcium. One cup of low-fat milk has 300 milligrams of calcium. Include enough lean meats, poultry, and seafood in the diet to reach 8 milligrams of iron per day. One serving of beef has 2–3 milligrams of iron.
Sleeping. Teens generally need about 9 hours of sleep per night. Inadequate sleep is common during the teen years and can have negative effects on school and athletic performance. Changes to the circadian clock make teens want to stay up later, but early school start times can make it hard for them to get enough sleep. Establish a bedtime that allows for adequate sleep and encourage your child to follow a relaxing bedtime routine.
Physical activity. Aim for 60 minutes of physical activity per day. Experts recommend limiting screen time, including TV, DVDs, video games, smartphones, tablets, and computers, to no more than 2 hours per day.
Growth and development. By age 13, it's common for teens to:
yearn for peer acceptance, independence, and time to be alone
focus on personal appearance and behavior (because they think all eyes are on them)
4. Update immunizations.Immunizations can protect people from serious illnesses, so it's important that your teen receive them on time. Immunization schedules can vary from office to office, so talk to your doctor about what to expect.
Teens should always wear a seatbelt while in a vehicle. Teach your teen to never get into a car with an intoxicated driver. Instead, let your teen know to always call you for help.
Make sure your teen wears a helmet while riding a bike, skateboard, or scooter.
Your teen should apply sunscreen of SPF 30 or higher at least 15 minutes before going outside and reapply about every 2 hours.
Monitor your teen's Internet usage. Keep the family computer in a place where you can watch what your child is doing. Install safety filters and check the browser history to see what websites your teen has visited.
Prevent gun injuries by not keeping a gun in the home. If you do have a gun, keep it unloaded and locked away. Ammunition should be locked up separately. Make sure kids cannot access the keys.
These checkup sheets are consistent with the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP)/Bright Futures guidelines.