Perhaps one of the most difficult aspects of being a parent is keeping your children fit: physically, emotionally, socially, spiritually, and intellectually. With all the demands parents contend with, especially single parents, raising a healthy, well-rounded child is quite a challenge, but it’s doable. With a little planning and a lot of love, parents can steer their little ones toward life’s healthy path. It is important to note that it is never too early to start.
Parents of newborns are normally taught how much and how often to feed their infant, either at the hospital or birthing center or at home with a doula. Continue to feed your baby carefully as he/she grows up, and you have half the battle won in keeping your child physically fit. Don’t avoid feeding your baby a veggie that you may dislike, it very well may become their favorite. The other half of the puzzle is to help them develop their physicality. It all begins with balance. Once a baby has found their center of gravity, and learns to balance on two feet, they eagerly begin to explore its new upright position, wobbling around its environment and learning about the world. By focusing on balance as they continue to grow, parents help their children develop core strengths, which is why the experts at Balance at an Early Age.com focus on helping children develop and master balancing skills. Once children have this foundation, other skills such as maintaining a good posture, developing coordination, and gaining command of their physical being will adhere more readily.
Doctor Roy Menninger, of the Menninger Foundation, supports the theory that in order to raise an emotionally healthy child, five critical needs must be met. These include: Being respected, feeling important, feeling accepted, and feeling secure and included. Although it sounds simple, sometimes grown-ups need to remember that children are small people. Helping families raise emotionally healthy children is so important that emotionallyhealthychildren.org, a non-profit, is dedicated to assisting parents to achieve this goal.
Allowing children to interact with their peers helps them to develop social skills important for social health. Eileen Kennedy-Moore, Ph.D., helps parents understand how children develop by breaking social interaction into its key components: seeing, thinking, and doing. In other words, “Monkey see, Monkey do.” Her article, What are Social Skills?, which appeared in Psychology Today, helps parents understand what social skills are. Once parents have a clear understanding of what social skills are, they can help build them. Any social setting becomes a classroom.
Spiritual health can be achieved, even if one doesn’t believe in God, Buddha, or any higher power. By having a deep respect for humanity, one can instill in their child this aspect. Parents with a religious preference have a leg up as most religions have a road map that leads to spiritual well-being.
Stimulating children’s intellectual health is fun and easy. Teaching using song is one of the most common methods parents use. The ABC song is one that most households have enjoyed. Some parents use flashcards and some useful videos. While experts will tout some methods over others, parents seem to have a natural affinity to teach their children language skills. Sometimes maintaining their intellectual health means hiring a tutor.
Parents that work to raise their children in healthy environments and to live healthy lives will be rewarded with children that are naturally good stewards. Raising healthy children doesn’t have to be difficult. As one area becomes healthy, others are encouraged and overall health will be achieved.