A strong start

Parents, here’s how to help your teen make good decisions away from home, writes Eileen Chadnick

a st

When your child heads to university or college for the first time, you might feel proud but also worried. Will they make the right choices to stay safe, healthy and set themselves up for success?

It’s important to give your kids ownership and responsibility to make good decisions at this crucial time. At the same time, parents can give their kids some advice and coaching. You can help them feel in control when everything is new and uncertain. Here are three tips for your kids to help them get the best start possible.


Keep your head clear and develop the habit of writing things down. The quickest, surest ticket to overwhelm yourself is to try to keep everything in your head. As simple as it sounds, writing things down is a proven neuro-savvy tip. When we overload our brains, we reduce our critical thinking abilities. Encourage your kids to develop the habit of writing out their tasks. This means writing out daily, weekly, monthly to do lists and shopping lists. It can even include even resources for who to go to for services like healthcare. This small life skill can help them during busy times for the rest of their lives.


Speaking of which… know how to find trusted healthcare providers away from home. It’s important to prepare your kids to make informed decisions when they need a healthcare provider. Their usual dentist, doctor (and other providers) could be far away. When mom’s chicken soup isn’t available, knowing how to get the right health care makes a world of difference.

A new, powerful resource called LuminoHealth.ca makes it easier to find health-care providers anywhere in Canada. Lumino Health, an innovation from Sun Life, is Canada’s premier network of health resources. It’s fast and it includes cost information and user ratings for many types of health-care providers.

“We want Lumino Health to be there for students when they really need it,” says Sandy Delamere, Vice-President of Digital Health Solutions at Sun Life. “We have health information, apps, products and services all in one place. Students can find self-help tools plus their new dentist, psychologist or another health-care provider at a moment’s notice.”


Make sure you get enough sleep. No question about it. Students often stay up late – whether they’re studying or partying. It’s all part of student life. But there’s significant evidence that sleeping too little can make you worse at decision-making and managing emotions. Encourage your kids to pay attention to their sleep habits. Getting enough quality sleep can make a huge difference to their moods, their performance and their overall success.