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Positive Habits to Encourage for Your Teen During Day Treatment for an Eating Disorder

Eating Disorder

Day treatment centers prove to be highly effective for adolescents with an eating disorder, and day treatment programs for teens are most successful when parents are on board to encourage habits and behaviors that support recovery. To help your child be as successful as possible throughout their treatment, there are a handful of positive habits you can encourage at home for your child and the rest of the family unit.

Self Care

A poor self-image can be one of the underlying contributing factors to the development and maintenance of an eating disorder, one of the components day treatment programs strive to help adolescent patient’s challenge and re-evaluate. Encouraging positive self-care regimens can help all individuals, including those with different eating disorders, in a few ways, including:

  • Encouraging a positive view of the body
  • Encouraging a deeper connection with the body’s overall health and wellness
  • Encouraging activities that improve mood and anxiety levels

There are multiple self-care regimens to implement for your teen at home if they are taking part in eating disorder day treatment programs. Self-care can range from getting a massage or manicure to something simple, such as:

  • Taking a walk in nature
  • Meditating or doing yoga
  • Doing something you enjoy, such as listening to music or swimming

By encouraging these self-care activities you will support the habits introduced in a day treatment center.

Social Activities

According to NEDA’s Parent Toolkit, one of the potential signs of a developing eating disorder is social withdrawal. Social withdrawal can occur when a teen spends the majority of their time focusing on their eating disordered behaviors, feels shameful about their behaviors or eating habits or simply because they have a poor body image and do not want to be seen in public. A major component in eating disorder treatment at a day treatment program for teens is a focus on positive social interactions through group therapies and activities. At home, family members can support these experiences by guiding and encouraging additional positive social interactions.

Social interaction can come from many different activities, and it can be best to start slowly, whether at home or at a day treatment program. For example, taking a teen to see a movie might be a good ice breaker activity. This activity requires the teen to be around people, but they do not necessarily have to interact in the same manner as they would at a lunch outing with friends. A few other social activities to get your teen involved in outside of day treatment include things, such as:

  • Taking part in community charity events
  • Volunteering time at local churches or youth groups
  • Signing up for a skills class at a local library or extension office
  • Attending festivals or sports events with friends

There are numerous ways to support your teen in exploring new and positive social interactions with family, peers or at school.


Keeping a journal can be highly beneficial psychologically and can be an integral part of allowing a teen to understand his or her own behaviors, triggers and challenges. If the day treatment center the teen visits does not already require journaling, or even if they do, as part of their therapeutic process, this can be something you encourage your child to do at home.

Clementine, a Monte Nido Affiliate, is a state-of-the-art eating disorder treatment facility dedicated to helping adolescents and young women enter on the path to recovery. Through our affiliate programs, we offer both residential and day treatment programs for teens in a compassionate and comfortable environment. To find out more about our day treatment programs, please reach out to us at any time.

If your son or daughter is 18, has been diagnosed with a mental health condition, and has developed an alcohol or drug addiction, you should look into a treatment center that handles co-occurring disorders such as Foundations Wellness Center.

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