Guest post by Vasilis Stefanou of TheLifeUpgrades.com.
Even though I’m not a father, I dislike the idea that most of the kids in our days are raised in unhealthy ways and by the time they reach their teenage years have multiple health problems because of the living they are used to have. Why is that the case? How can it be changed?
After many years of scientific studies, we know that children try to understand and mimic what they perceive in the world around them. They have to learn what is right and wrong. Thus, they look for answers mostly from their parents. Parents are the first role models kids having growing up until they have matured enough to learn about new things and become influenced by other people, either good or bad.
Both parents have their own roles in raising their children. In most cases, children express their emotions and cuddle more with their mother. They look to the father as the parent who will protect them and teach them different skills. Of course, both parents are important and are needed in different situations but the father is more likely to teach kids how to play outdoor games like football or how to use the environment safely.
Everyone knows electronic babysitters are bad, but what are some of the specific problems over-use can cause?
- The immune system becomes weaker because the kid doesn’t get exposed to nature, the weather and the outside world.
- The child’s muscles and bones become weaker because the child doesn’t move a lot.
- The child also might become obese because of the previous point and also because the child is sitting day long at home eating junk foods.
- The child has less energy because he/she doesn’t get exposed to the sunlight and fresh air.
- The child becomes addicted to electronic devices.
- The child becomes lonelier and doesn’t care about building relationships with other human beings when he/she grows up.
As you can see the negative effects are plenty and I’m sure you can find more if you think about it. Here are some ideas for avoiding those:
- If your workplace allows it, take your kid with you a few times to teach him/her how the real world works. (Try to make it a day when you aren’t stuck in front of a computer or sitting in meetings all day.)
- Talk with your child and find out what hobbies he/she wants to try. Here is a list of ideas. Here are more ideas, including a few for adults. (Even when they are full grown, they’re still our kids and we still want to stay in touch.) Look for a summer camp, club, or class you can sign him/her up for. Don’t forget to check local museums, historical buildings, and county parks & recs programs.
- Every now and then, go out in nature for running or walking.
- Teach your kid how to safely climb, swim, and ride a bike. If you don’t know, find a class for them or, better yet, take a class together.
- Work out together.
- Teach your kid some activities like gardening or taking care of a pet.
- Take a camping trip every few months. You can teach them some survival skills and show them the beauty of wildlife.
- Remember that friendships are important. Kids today use tech automatically and online tools are often an important way for kids, even in elementary school, to stay in touch. Just be plugged into what they are doing, who they are doing it with, and how they are doing it.
- Replace junk foods, candy, and sweets with healthier choices. It’s OK to move gradually and is easier to be successful. Switching from cookies to pretzels and then later to veggies (like carrots) won’t cause the same kind of revolt that going straight from cookies to veggies will.
If you really want to raise your child in healthier ways from really young age until the teenage years, it is possible. Let us know what ideas you have tried and how they work out for you.
Vasilis Stefanou is a creator, coach, and educator who helps people improve their way of life. He is the Founder/CEO of the www.thelifeupgrades.com. When he isn’t creating content for the website he likes to study, hang out with friends or exercise.