Having children is one of life’s greatest joys. From the minute they enter the world, it seems like they are just full of happy – and sometimes not so happy – surprises. The magic of the moment when they speak their first words, take their first steps, and form their first opinions (“I don’t like that!”), is hard to replicate. But as much fun as having kids is, it is also a great responsibility and can at times be overwhelming. A lot of parents worry all the time. As soon as their sons or daughters walk out the door, they wonder, “Will they make it to school safely? Will they eat the lunch I packed or trade it for something less healthy?” There are seemingly limitless opportunities for something to go wrong. That is why parents need to educate their children so that the kids can protect themselves. One important area to teach kids about is health and wellness. You might not be able to supervise your children at all times, but if you give them the tools they need to make smart decisions, hopefully they will. Do not rely on the teachers and schools to teach your kids everything they need to know – take matters into your own hands!
Tip #1 – Lead by example. There is no surer way to instill good values into your children’s minds than to show them that you are also living by these values. Whether it is about the importance of reading instead of watching television, getting plenty of physical exercise, or eating healthy foods, make sure you are leading by example.
Tip #2 – Encourage outdoor, physical activities. A lot of children fall into the habit of watching television and playing video games at the end of the school day. But this is not good for physical health, as most of us already know. Encourage your sons and daughters to go outside and play, whether by grabbing a ball and a mitt and playing catch, choosing a team with them to sign up for, or making play dates with their friends. Explain to them that the feeling of being tired and sweaty at the end is a good sign, will keep them healthy, and help them sleep better at night. Reward this behavior by serving up a healthy snack at the end of the activity.
Tip #3 – Serve healthy snacks instead of sugary ones. There are a number of healthy snacks that you can prepare for your kids that they will enjoy just as much as they like unhealthy snacks. One old classic favorite is called “Ants on a log.” Simply wash and trim so fresh celery, spread peanut butter down the center, and then line raisins up in a line down the middle on the peanut butter. While your son or daughter is munching on the crunchy, delicious snack, you can tell them that it’s healthy too.
Tip #4 – Play games that teach about anatomy with your kids. There are a number of fun games that you can play with your kids that will teach them about their own bodies, without any of the awkwardness that can go along with those conversations. A game of Twister, for example, is perfect for kids because it’s fun and silly, and also teaches them to think about and use their own bodies. Playing the board game Operation is another great option, because it also teaches about body parts. What is great about these games is that kids are learning without even realizing it.
Tip #5 – Answer questions honestly and with the correct information. Kids ask a lot of questions, and sometimes adults like to dance around the answers. But filling your kids heads with misinformation will not serve any good purpose; instead you will probably just leave them confused. Not every question needs to be answered fully, either, but that doesn’t mean you should answer it inaccurately. You can gauge your children’s ability to understand certain concepts better than anyone else, but try not to underestimate their intelligence. Kids pick up on a lot, so it’s better that they learn about touchy subjects from you instead of from a third party.
These are just a few tips for educating your children about health and wellness. Every family and every child is different, so figure out what works for you. The important thing is to instill a sense of pride in their bodies, instead of shame.
Kids pick up on a lot, so it’s better that they learn about – indoor activities for kids – from you instead of from a third party.