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KnILE Wellness Blog2020-09-14T17:19:36-05:00

KnILE Wellness Blog

Keeping you up to date on information regarding overall wellness

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Author: Victoria M. Guzman, MSCP, LPC-Intern

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:

Intellectual

Emotional

Physical

Social

Spiritual

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.

Intellectual

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.

Emotional

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.

Physical

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.

Social

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.

Spiritual

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.

Life skills to focus on teaching children by the time they are 10

Children in today’s world seem to be incredibly in tune with the technological world and what is happening online. While adapting to a life where school may now be online for young children and people are using technology to gain access to basic needs, it can be easy to have children not experience moments that teach practical life skills. While it might be easier to do everything for your child because it: gets done faster, better, there’s less mess, there is frustration; children lose the ability to find out how to figure out problems themselves. Children need to learn independence, and the way children learn is by watching their parents. By focusing on teaching children practical life skills they will eventually need, will help foster a sense of independence, self confidence and help children feel they can manage life at home.

Navigating 

It is important to help children develop a sense of direction. Getting lost is an inevitable part of life, and it is best to teach children to not panic and use means other than technology and gps to help them navigate the world. Activities such as treasure hunts, looking at maps, learning to read a compass can build these skills. Parents can try having children lead the way with easy to read maps in places like a zoo or trail. Learning how to find your way can be a life saving skill!

Meal Preparation

Invite children to make meals with you. It helps to assign them jobs, and remember it is ok to get messy! Be sure to gauge how ready your child is to use certain equipment or tools such as knives, stovetops, blenders, and toaster ovens and always supervise. By age 10 children can try to make simple meals such as smoothies, salads, sandwiches, and use the stovetop with supervision to make foods like eggs, grilled cheese, etc.

Laundry & Dressing Themselves

Many adolescents and young adults go off to live independent lives without knowing how to clean their clothes. Help your child learn to sort through laundry, separate through colors, measure detergent and work the washing and drying machine. Keep a step stool nearby so your child can watch you a few times before they start helping out. 

Money Basics

Children still need to know the basics of handling money, knowing the cost of basic items and learning how to save. Being able to manage their own savings such as an allowance or rewards for chores or accolades help instill a sense of pride in what they have accomplished and saved, and helps children learn the art of money management. 

Hygiene 

Children on a regular developmental track should be able to do self care activities such as brushing their teeth, taking a bath/shower, being able to wash themselves, as well as basic grooming.

Caring For a Living Thing

Children who are able to help keep something alive start to develop more empathy as they get older. Being able to care for something other than themselves such as a plant, fish, or family pet helps instill responsibility, patience, a nurturing and empathetic attitude towards other living beings.

Have a Conversation

Children need to be able to carry on a conversation with either a peer or an adult. Being able to communicate and develop long lasting, healthy and interactive relationships is extremely important. Nowadays with so much technology, children must practice being able to communicate and hold a conversation face to face and be able to get their point across in a respectable manner.

Manners

Children should be able to know basic manners such as greetings, saying please and thank you, waiting their turn, table manners and proper etiquette when it comes to different environments such as a restaurant, movie theater, friends houses, school, etc.

Emergency Situation

Children should feel like they are able to help in a crisis situation, having your child practice what to do in an emergency situation will help decrease any anxiety or fear should a real emergency happen. Children should start practicing how to dress a cut or scrape, call for help, stop drop and roll, use ice for a swollen injury, and basic first aid if they should ever need it. 

Learn To Be Alone

Navigating the complexities of our emotions and thoughts can be exhausting. However, teaching your kids the art of being alone, (and enjoying it) can be very beneficial to their mental health in the long run. Teaching kids to be alone with their thoughts and emotions without family or friends around will help kids self regulate and improve their mental health. It can be helpful to designate a quiet or calm corner or area in the house with calming/sensory activities to help kids self regulate.