You’ve heard the horror stories about children being fatter than they’ve ever been, and less fit physically and mentally. And you hope and pray your kids will be an exception. You don’t have to stop at hoping, though. Here’s what you can do.
- Remember, They’re Watching Your Example
If the kids always see you slumped in a chair or in high-stress-nonstop-work mode, they’ll never believe you when you say exercise, rest, and nutrition are worth the effort. Anyone can find time and energy for what they truly believe is important.
- Give Them Your Attention
It does a child’s mental health no good to have parents who are always “too busy” to listen. Make regular time for togetherness, and be willing to put down whatever else you’re doing when major concerns surface.
- Serve Real Meals
If you can’t have everyone eat in the same place at the same time (sans all screen devices) every day, at least schedule it several times a week. Besides the benefits to relationships and digestion, the menus themselves are usually healthier.
- Get Everyone to Bed—and Up—on Time
The greatest sleep benefits come from consistent bedtime-and-rising-time hours, seven days a week. Offer your kids a deal: if they go to bed on schedule without complaints, you won’t grumble about them waking you up “early” on weekends and days off.
- Stay Active
Need it really be said? Kids who fill their spare time with active play—outdoors and in—are healthier than kids who spend ten hours a day on screen time. That goes for you too, parents: there’s more to life than checking email and following CNN!
- Encourage Use of the Imagination
Besides keeping children physically fit, active play lets them create their own adventures and build their self-confidence. (Keep dolls and other toys as generic as possible, to avoid the limitations of having everything “typecast.”)
- Exercise the Brain, Too
Even quiet play needn’t be exclusively passive or electronics-oriented. Puzzles, blocks, and board games are still winners, as are hard-copy books. (Even in the YouTube age, books are still the best tools for exploring individual interests in detail.)
- Emphasize Mindfulness
Work on permanently weaning your family from multitasking and rush. If your kids are still stopping for extra looks at everything, enjoy it with them rather than hurrying them along—and if that’s a hardship to your schedule, modify the schedule.
- Stay in Touch With Your Doctors
Whatever the conspiracy theorists say, licensed MDs usually do know best (and tell you what’s best), whether the topic is exercise, vaccinations, or diet. It’s always good to have a regular doctor, and to schedule regular check-ups for every family member.
- Seek Out Optimistic Input
Most media push the impression that catastrophes happen to everyone sooner or later. That may attract viewers, but it puts unnecessary stress on viewers’ emotional and physical health. The bulk of your family’s information should come from sources (including live people) that focus on empowerment and the better side of the world.
WE HELP YOUR KIDS STAY HEALTHY
Shady Oak knows there’s more to learning than academics, lectures, and workbooks. Our private primary school emphasizes growing the whole child through participation, play-based learning, and plenty of outdoor time. Contact us today to learn what we can do for your family!
Blessings to parents and children of all ages!