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 Starting Out stage of learning (preschool through first grade).
Healthy Activities for the Starting Out Stage
Much of the learning at this age is relegated to visible, tangible health needs. So, by nature, the focus will be on physical and environmental health. But, it’s also a great time to help children learn how to appropriately communicate their feelings.
- Talk about food groups and what each one does. This is a great way to introduce a new food, explaining how it helps young bodies grow!
- Find ways to be active as a family at least three times a week. Something as simple as a family walk or bike ride after supper can lay the groundwork for great habits.
- When applying a band-aid, treating a fever, or helping care for a sick family member, explain how the body heals itself and talk about ways we can help that healing process.
- Teach healthy habits in simple sequence, such as when to wash their hands (before eating, after going to the bathroom or playing outside), an order for tidying their rooms, or even a good sequence for handling frustration with someone.
- Assign basic chores or encourage help with the chores you tackle.
- When your children are acting out or appearing emotional, train them to redirect to speaking more positively or calmly. Statements like, “How can you say that nicely?” can help them realize how they sound. Seeking to get to the root of a bad attitude helps your child know he or she is being heard.
- Read aloud from the Bible or doctrinal books designed for young children to start their spiritual thinking.