With this information, students will learn how to live a healthy lifestyle for kids while picking-up healthy lifestyle tips.
1. Healthy Food for Kids
“WHEN DIET IS WRONG, MEDICINE IS OF NO USE. WHEN DIET IS CORRECT, MEDICINE IS OF NO NEED.” – AYURVEDIC PROVERB
Healthy food for kids is key to a child’s good health, ensuring they get the necessary nutrients to be healthy physically, mentally, spiritually, and emotionally. Healthy foods for kids are an essential component in creating a healthy lifestyle for kids.
Sounds simple right! But these days food has become a huge and commercialized industry, where health is not the priority. Attractive packaging and false advertising draw the buyers in, and young people are particularly at risk of becoming addicted to unhealthy eating habits as they are encouraged and misguided by so many unhealthy options on offer. The key is to go back to basics when it comes to kids’ health and food. Avoid buying packaged, processed, or fast foods and aim for fresh, organic, and natural foods.
So how do we get our kids to care about this? One way is to start some healthy habits for kids. Educate them about food. When you go to a supermarket or market, talk about the things you are thinking of buying and what nutritional value it has to their health and energy. Look at ingredients together and help create an understanding that our food is our fuel, and we are what we eat! The key to getting kids to eat well, is getting them to want to eat well, get them excited about the healthy nourishing foods on offer and they are sure to follow suit! This may take some perseverance but it´ll be well worth it!
2. Grow and cook your own food
“IT IS HEALTH THAT IS REAL WEALTH AND NOT PIECES OF GOLD AND SILVER.” – MAHATMA GANDHI
Another way to encourage healthy lifestyle for kids is to involve them in the process of growing and cooking food. If you can grow food with kids, then this can really help them to understand where most of their food comes from! If they can get their hands in the soil, plant some seeds and watch them grow, this helps them create a conscious connection to their food and respect it! The activity of growing food is also one of the simple exercises for kids.
So, whether you have a garden or just space for a few potted plants, check what grows best in your region at what time of year and get planting! If this really isn’t an option, take kids to a farmers’ market where they can see fresh produce for sale and where they came from.
Finally get cooking! If you can use the produce that you have grown, chosen from the market or supermarket and have the kids help with preparing, mixing and cooking the food, they are sure to start enjoying the process of healthy eating! Cooking your own food gives you the control of the ingredients such as salt or sugar while avoiding harmful ingredients like preservatives.
3. Spend time in Nature
“Encourage your child to have muddy, grassy or sandy feet by the end of each day, that’s the childhood they deserve.”~ Penny Whitehouse
Another healthy habit for kids is to run, play and interact with nature. One of the fun activities for kids to learn from the natural world. To investigate the trees, to observe the insects, to get their feet in the sand or the earth.
This one obviously depends on where you live. If you have access to some wild nature- a walk in the forest or by the sea then this is a wonderful opportunity to allow kids to learn, connect and relax in nature. Being out in nature is not only a simple exercise for kids but also one of the fun activities for kids. If you don’t then you can still encourage your kids to look at the sky and notice the clouds, to go for a walk in the local park, or even take a good look at the trees in the city.
Allow them to interact with nature and recognise their connection to the earth as a living being. If they can have bare feet on the earth or sand even better, as this connection to the ground known as earthing has been proven to have numerous positive effects including, reducing stress, promoting better sleep and normalising the body’s biological rhythms. These activities are a simple remedy for many children’s health problems. All great for children’s health and wellbeing.
“When it comes to health and well-being, regular exercise is about as close to a magic potion as you can get.” Tich Nhat Hanh
Exercise is so important for kids and another essential healthy habit for kids. Get them out, running around, playing sports, swimming! It could be a team sport or an activity they do alone- but alongside their family and friends! It’s very well known that exercise is key to good health, it can help overcome certain children’s health problems like obesity and help kids get away from screens and sitting too much, so encourage your kids to get up and be active. Sports activities for kids and exercise in general is great for physical health but it’s equally as important for mental health-, as it releases positive endorphins that increase happiness and sports allow kids to switch off from their everyday life!
5. Yoga and Mediation
“The quieter you become the more you are able to hear.” Rumi
Yoga encourages a healthy lifestyle for kids as it’s a great way for them to stay healthy in body, mind and spirit. It’s another simple exercise for kids while providing a remedy for many children’s health problems. Allowing them to connect to themselves in a deeper way, learn relaxation techniques and connect to their breath and heart. Yoga and meditation can be part of physical education for kids as it provides tools to help them calm down and it encourages them to listen, accept, be still and just be. They can also have fun while doing yoga asanas of different animals or forms and short routines like the sun or moon salutations. Yoga can help kids to accept themselves, and be conscious of acting and thinking in a kind and loving way towards themselves and others.
6. Rest, Sleep and no screen time!
Don’t underestimate the importance of rest, quality sleep and a no screen time period before bed. Good quality sleep at night sets kids up for good quality days. Many children’s health problems are caused by bad sleep patterns as they often feel lethargic throughout the day, can suffer from mood swings, anxiety and concentration issues. One way to improve quality sleep is to have a period of relaxation before bed. This could be a time that the kids do some yoga and meditation, listen to soft music, draw a picture, or read a book. It is important that this down time doesn’t involve screens or too much action. If kids are watching action packed tv programmes or playing video games before bed, it’s likely their nervous systems will switch on their parasympathetic (stress-fight and flight) response, and this is not at all conducive to sleep. Many adults and teenagers begin to live in this fight and flight mode, and it is up to us to make enough down time in order to keep ourselves healthy in body and mind. If you can teach and demonstrate these healthy habits to kids, we can help create a healthy lifestyle for kids and we will all be happier!
7. Drink water!
‘’Water is life’’
Staying hydrated is key to a healthy lifestyle for kids! They should be drinking water throughout the day to keep their brains and bodies working at optimum. Fatigue and tiredness can often be due to dehydration. Children should always have water available and should be drinking water regularly. Drinking plenty of water is definitely a healthy habit for kids.
8. Fun creative classes
‘’Dance like no one is watching’’
Kids need to use their imaginations in order to be healthy! Fun activities for kids can include painting, storytelling, acting, dancing, playing an instrument, and for these activities to be creative there needs to be an element of freedom to them, but before and during the process of freedom it is good for children to be taught some techniques of the creative art.
This could include them taking a class locally or learning from YouTube videos if a class is not accessible. Classes in creative arts can serve as tools to expand one’s own mind and ability to be creative. Giving kids the opportunity to learn to sing, dance or play an instrument can serve them in many ways for the rest of their life. Creative arts are also fun activities for kids.
So, try out different creative arts with your kids and see which ones they take to most, some kids will respond better to a more introverted practice like painting or writing and others will prefer a more extroverted activity like acting or dancing. Creative arts are still highly underrated in mainstream education throughout the world, and they are so valuable to human beings, mental, emotional and social wellbeing.
9. Creative improvisation and play
“There is no must in art because art is free.” -Wassily Kandinsky
This is a very important part of creativity- allowing it to flow. Children need time to experiment with their creativity. They can do 100 dance or art classes, learn all the steps and lines but if they are not given the chance to play and express themselves freely and improvise with their creative art, it is not quite theirs. They have learned how to copy.
So, encourage them to take the next step to play freely- paint any way they like, sing silly made up songs, get the fancy dress box out and allow them to act and dance as they please, make things out of recycled/ natural materials, tell a story or act out a poem. Allow them to do these activities with no guidelines and no criticism. The freedom to express themselves in the arts is another one of the fun activities for kids.
This is so essential to health and wellbeing, helping them to express themselves, make decisions, use their imaginations, and find freedom. Improvisation and free play can help children make sense of the world and their experiences and express their emotions or any negative feelings in a more positive way. These are very healthy habits for kids to engage in.
10. Make a difference in the world!
“The greatness of a community is most accurately measured by the compassionate actions of its members.” ― Coretta Scott King
It is beneficial for kids to take some responsibility in their life and feel they are making a difference in the world. These sorts of activities are another fun activity for kids. A couple of ways they can do this is to look after something or take part in a community project.
Younger children can be encouraged to care for something– a teddy bear, a plant, a pet (with guidance and support). As they get a bit older, they can also take part in community projects, for example: planting trees, litter picking, baking for charity, helping at an animal shelter…there are any number of things that you and your kids can do to contribute to making the world a better place.
Giving children this sense of responsibility is paramount to raising their self-esteem, enabling them to see their worth and know that their love is needed in this world! Whilst creating strong friendships and having fun, participation in community projects is a great healthy habit for children!
So here are 10 rules to live a healthy lifestyle for kids! There are others such as brushing your teeth and being kind! But here are others, some as obvious and some less so!
Eleanor is a facilitator at Shiminly. She has been teaching for 13 years in the U.K, Austria and Spain.