Guide and Educate
I was recently walking down a busy street in New York City’s Upper West Side. My attention was grabbed as I heard a parent shout at a young boy as he was stepping into the street. In New York City children are trained at a young age to stop at the corner, wait for his/her caregiver, hold hands and proceed to the other side. The child on this day was ahead of his parent, didn’t pause at the corner and stepped off the curb.
One of the many jobs of a parent is to guide our children. We protect them from the physical dangers of cars and fast, oncoming bicycles, but when it comes to health, nutrition and wellness sometimes we either forget to educate our children or take the easy way out. “My child is a picky eater. I just give him/her what I know he/she will eat,” is something I hear often. Parents are teachers by virtue they have lived longer; they have more experience and therefore, more knowledge than their children. So, why when it comes to health and wellness is there a lapse in our teaching?
Children all over the country have returned to school. Let’s take some time to think about and practice our role in keeping our children healthy through the fall and the rest of the school year. As kids are spending more time indoors, amidst other children (germs) the tendency to get sick arises.
There are four key things caregivers can provide for their children:
1. Provide a balanced diet.
While there are is a lot of ambiguity in the nutrition and health world, I believe and teach that there are some absolutes, including, whole foods are best and when eating processed food, do not consume those containing corn syrup.
In his book Food Rules, Michael Pollen says, “Eat food, not too much, mostly plants”. Sounds simple, because it is.
2. Allow time for children to regularly move their bodies
The below links contain wonderful ideas to get and keep the family moving all year long
3. Help reduce stress
Try not to over-schedule the after school hours.
Practice mindfulness and relaxation with your child
Be a role model
4. Ensure they get enough sleep
Sleep is a natural stress reliever
Hormonal changes that happen during sleep are necessary for growth and development happen during sleep
Children usually need between 10-13 hours of sleep
Do yourself and your child(ren) a favor and make sure to share with them why you make the decisions you do. Educate, and we can help make these habits last a lifetime.