By Evie McDonald on January 1st, 2010
With adult guidance, school children can start practicing a life time of healthy habits.
- School-aged children should perform at least thirty minutes of weight-bearing exercise daily. Ideally, they should get in an hour’s worth of aerobic exercise every day. Don’t assume without investigation that the school is providing this opportunity. Help youngsters safely participate in team sports and develop individual athletic skills. Cut back on their television watching and restrict computer use. Now is the time to learn table games, develop a love of reading, join a scout troop, learn to play a musical instrument, or to take a ballet or tap dancing class as well as to first enjoy outdoor leisure activities, for example, camping, star gazing, bird watching, or fishing.
- Learn to swim beyond the beginner level.
- Learn to eat a healthy, balanced diet, staying away from junk foods. Children should eat dinner with their parents and away from the television. They should also understand the difference between healthy and unhealthy menu choices and begin to make these choices themselves. Accordingly, parents shouldn’t use sweets as a reward system, and children should learn to defer gratification.
- Reinforce basic rules of hygiene: Wash hands after using the toilet and before eating. Establish a lifelong habit of bathing daily.
- Drink between six and eight glasses of water daily.
- Learn anger management and how to disagree with others–Not everyone thinks like you do.
- Learn how to be a loyal friend and begin to accept responsibility; for instance, helping to feed and to walk a dog.
- Brush with an electric toothbrush twice daily; learn how to floss correctly. Begin regular dental checkups.
- Learn to respect gender, race, and religious differences; understand the difference between peers and adult authority figures, for example, parents and teachers.
- Keep a healthy schedule: Lights out at 9 p.m.