Promoting Health Awareness in Our Homeschooling Life
As of 2012, about 3.4% of children in America were homeschooled. As a parent, you know just how challenging and rewarding homeschooling your child can be. Most of the challenges come from making sure you’re “doing enough” or covering all of the subjects ane material required.
But there is more to homeschooling than just going over the curriculum. When children attend public schools, they are introduced to a variety of classes, people, teachers, and experiences. When you’re teaching them at home, it’s important to be able to give them the same life lessons they might otherwise pick up on their own. The good news? You can help to guide them down better paths than they might have to discover on their own.
That includes talking to them about their overall health and guiding them to make healthy choices in life. In 2016, according to the WHO, over 340 million children aged 5-19 were considered obese. About 210,000 youths in America under the age of 20 are diagnosed with diabetes, many as a result of obesity.
It’s not just about weight, of course. Promoting health awareness includes everything from oral and vision health to mental health awareness.So how can you make health awareness a priority for your child, not only in homeschool lessons but in everyday life?
The Responsibility of Multiple Roles
We certainly don’t have to tell you how many hats you have to wear as both a parent and a homeschool educator. One of the unique benefits you have, though, is knowing your child better than anyone and having the opportunity to observe them each day.
Observation can be a great way to learn about where your child stands when it comes to their own health and health awareness. You can notice certain health issues quickly. For example, is your child experiencing any of the following issues?
- Tilting/turning their head
- Short attention span for reading
- Covering or closing one eye
If so, they might be struggling with a vision problem and could benefit from glasses or contact lenses. By being able to observe these behaviors right away, you can help your child to deal with them before they become a bigger issue. It’s also a great opportunity to teach them a life lesson about health and taking care of their eyes. Or if they have a toothache, taking care of their oral health. If they scrape their knee, it’s a good time to teach them about keeping it clean and infections. Make the most of your role as parent and educator by talking about health and wellness as often as possible.
Have Health-Centered Conversations
Like anything else, children need to learn about their own health and why it’s so important. They also need to be made aware of how their everyday habits and choices can impact their health. It’s not just a one-time decision to do something good for your mind and body. Establishing a lifestyle of health requires:
- Consistency — Sticking with healthy habits every day, including exercise, eating right, taking emotional breaks, and getting outside. Consistency is what will develop healthy habits.
- Effort — Putting in the work to reach health goals. For example, setting an alarm every morning to wake up and eat a healthy breakfast or to exercise, instead of sleeping in.
- Adaptability — A willingness to be flexible even when things don’t always go as planned or goals aren’t accomplished in a set period of time. Adaptability shows mental and emotional strength.
But it’s not always easy for young children to hold themselves accountable or make the healthiest choices. One way you can encourage them to develop healthy habits and take responsibility for their own wellbeing is to have them journal different activities they do each day to take care of their bodies. This could include everything from brushing their teeth to playing outside to eating veggies with every meal. When your child starts logging their healthy choices, they’ll be more motivated to continue, and can feel a sense of pride knowing they can take care of themselves and be responsible. It may take some initial encouragement, but eventually, a technique like this can help your child to become more responsible for their own health and wellness.
Incorporate Healthy Habits Into Lessons
There are always opportunities for kids to learn more about taking care of themselves. Life itself is full of lessons, and you can incorporate healthy habits into your school routine each day by getting a little creative.
For example, if you’re working on creative writing lessons, use it as an opportunity to connect health and education. Take your child on a nature walk and have them write a story about the things they saw or experienced. Plant a garden with them and teach them about the science of plant growth. Have them cook dinner with you and use it as a way to improve their math with measuring, weighing, and fractions.
As an adult, making healthy choices every day likely comes naturally. But, they were all things you had to learn as you grew. You have a unique responsibility as a homeschool instructor and parent to incorporate those health lessons into your child’s everyday life. You’re already probably a pro at thinking outside the box when it comes to homeschool lessons, so don’t be afraid to get creative when it comes to teaching your child about the importance of health awareness in and out of the “classroom”.
More about the author…
Sam Bowman is a writer who enjoys getting to utilize the internet for community without actually having to leave his house. In his spare time, he likes running, reading, and combining the two in a run to his local bookstore.
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