Let’s Talk About Wellness
Wellness isn’t just about exercising and eating, it is a state of being healthy in the body and in the mind. It’s really hard to have one without the other. Yes it is important to look at what we eat, and the physical activity we engage in everyday. However when talking about wellness to kids, let’s consider talking about 5 separate areas:
By encouraging kids and adolescents to focus on improving their health and investing time and energy into these five areas of wellness, it can provide a great foundation for strong life skills.
Helping children and adolescents understand and be curious about the world around them is the first step in creating lifelong learners. Children deserve to understand how the world around them functions and be able to ask questions. Helping them see that a love of learning does not just come in the classroom but in all areas of life (ex. Cooking, sports, crafts, friendship, etc) Getting children and adolescents to understand that there is a world that exists outside of google, social media and video games. Engaging them in activities throughout the day that involve them in the community may spark an interest in something. Limiting screen time is an important aspect of facilitating intellectual growth. Screen time limits opportunities to learn “real life” lessons and limits the opportunity for interpersonal growth.
Let’s face it, stress takes a massive toll on all of us, but especially children. If you find yourself in a stressful situation, children often pick up on body language and environmental stressors. Being able to teach children how to respond to stressful events in a healthy manner can help lessen the negative effects that stress has on their day to day lives. Stress affects more than just mental health, but can have adverse effects on children and adolescents’ physical wellbeing. Positive ways to respond to stress are normally learned by watching caregivers respond to stress themselves.
Nutrition and physical activity are what normally come to mind when we think about physical wellness. Being able to incorporate proper nutrition into our daily lives is important in order to help our bodies and most importantly our brains to function well. Helping children and adolescents form healthy living habits can aid in preparing them to take care of their physical wellbeing when they are on their own and living independently. Understanding how nutrition and physical activity affect each child is crucial in being able to make healthy changes if necessary.
Teaching children and adolescents how to engage in relationships and helping them understand how friendships impact development relies on fostering positive examples. Children and adolescents learn by mimicking caregivers and those they look up to, and therefore learn how to respond in social situations by watching others rather than by being told what to do. Modeling appropriate and positive interactions help create healthy habits in dealing with others. Helping children and adolescents understand social cues, body language, appropriate ways to handle conflict can help impact how a child or adolescent handles interpersonal relationships.
Helping children and adolescents get to the question of “What’s the meaning of life?” can seem daunting. However helping a child or adolescent get in touch with their sense of purpose can aid in fostering spiritual wellness. Weather that means believing in a specific religion or form or spirituality, we all have a purpose in this life. Fostering experiences for children to help develop their sense of self and purpose, even if it is small (ex. Loving animals, helping the community, being a good sibling) Children need opportunities to learn what they enjoy doing and what they can do to give back to this world. Having a sense of purpose helps children foster resilience, goals, and helps develop a strong character.
What is important to take away is that children learn from watching their parents, caregivers, siblings, peers, role models, etc. Teaching children and adolescents positive and healthy living habits is more than just sending them to school. It’s about constantly looking into our current wellness habits.