Teaching our children to become healthy individuals is an integral aspect of both homeschooling and general parenting. While we know that we should incorporate physical education and health courses into our homeschool curriculum, we also need to make sure we take a unified approach to helping our children learn how to pursue physical, mental, emotional, spiritual, social, and environmental (specifically home and organizational) health. Here are some thoughts to consider for the Getting Excited stage of learning (2nd through 4th grade).
Healthy Activities for the Getting Excited Stage
Children are very curious during this stage and are information sponges! So, don’t hesitate to supply the information within age-appropriate parameters. Most parents know that negative information will begin hounding their children in coming years, so this stage is a good time to gently lay the groundwork for introducing certain concepts so they can be more easily discussed later.
- Attend health fairs and encourage your child to share thoughts about the experience.
- Help your child learn how to talk through how he or she feels physically, emotionally, or mentally. Try not to lead your child, but ask targeted questions that can help him or her identify feelings. For instance, “Is your tummy ache an all-over yuckiness, or does it hurt in a specific place?” Or, “What do you think is causing you to have trouble focusing? Is it really hard to understand or do you just not feel like doing it today?”
- As soon as your child starts to notice activities such as smoking, drinking, and drugs, go ahead and begin discussions about them. This is a young age, so keep it simple, focusing on ideas such as how our bodies are supposed to work and how these things make them not work like they should.
- Look for underlying causes for behavior issues. Are there circumstantial issues contributing to an increase in grouchiness, misbehavior, or fighting? Talk through possibilities and figure out solutions together. Remind your child that we are always responsible for our own behavior, but sometimes we need to look for underlying causes.
- Expand chores and teach your child how to follow a family calendar.
- Teach your child how to honor family time, and set a solid example by not overloading the family calendar.
- Find resources that help your child develop a daily devotional habit.