How to Teach Your Child About Health and Posture

healthyhabits1As a parent or nanny, you play a vital role in teaching your children about health, posture and illness prevention. Even though your child may be maturing and developing as an independent individual, he still needs your encouragement and advice to learn the basics of how to care for himself.

Through educational activities, discussions and real-life examples of healthy habits, you can foster a child who is conscious about how to maintain the best health and posture.

The Talk

It’s not uncommon for many children to resist bath time or the task of washing hands before and after meals; however, you can enlighten them by discussing the results of healthy behavior. The Sandbox Learning Company, a team of experts offering online resources for childcare and education providers, recommends using simple language to explain why preventative behaviors are crucial to good health.

“If children understand germs cause illness and eating different foods gives them energy to play, they are more likely to follow healthy practices,” say the psychology experts at the Sandbox Learning Company. “Explain in simple language why children should wear coats, wash their hands and exercise. This can be done through books, class activities or conversations while teaching children a skill.”

Creative Health Lessons

Beyond discussions about why good health practices are important, parents and nannies can utilize visuals to serve as a reminder for their children. Pictures, drawings and creative word art displayed in your home and even created by your children can help them remember to get a coat when the weather is cold, throw tissues away after use and flush the toilet.

You can even get creative while teaching healthy habits. If you want your children to wash their hands for at least 30 seconds, sing a song or dance around until the time is up. They will eventually learn how to time themselves when they wash their hands. Brushing teeth is another opportunity to improve your child’s healthy habits. Purchase a toothbrush with a timer or one that plays a song so they brush for at least two minutes. The bells and whistles will make these habits much more memorable and fun.

Model Healthy Behavior

Since obesity is a major health risk for children and adults, it’s important to model healthy eating practices for the children in your care. Instead of making your children a healthy meal while you chomp down on fatty foods, make healthy meal preparation a group effort. Encourage your children to suggest and research foods and recipes that provide health benefits and launch your very own cooking show, complete with a video to share with friends and family. When you show them that you are invested in healthy habits, your children will likely follow suit.

Since your children often look to you for examples of how to behave and lead a healthy lifestyle, get active and bring them along, recommends Dr. Wendie Trubow, physician and quality director of Visions HealthCare in Wellesley, Massachusetts. “Go for a walk, play outside and turn off the TV and electronics,” she says.

Stand Up for Posture

One of the most overlooked healthy habits is posture. Without good posture, your children will likely experience physical ailments that can affect their ability to walk, run and lead an active lifestyle. Teach them early on the importance of posture by exploring its importance to their happiness.

According to the Women’s and Children’s Health Network, you can discuss the benefits of good posture by pointing out that good posture means that:

  • your bones and joints are in line so that muscles can be used properly
  • your spine has its three normal curves
  • ligaments holding the spine together are not being stressed
  • you don’t get tired as quickly
  • you don’t get pain in your back or other muscles
  • you look good

In addition, your children must understand that they will need the following to obtain good posture:

  • strong, flexible muscles, especially on each side of the spine
  • well balanced muscles, not overdeveloped on one side
  • to be able to move freely
  • to be aware of your posture and work to improve it
  • engage in regular exercise, like running, walking, cycling and playing different sports, to help keep your back strong

According to Trubow, if you stress that good posture leads to how much bigger they will look with a healthy spine, they will likely understand the importance of standing up straight.

Commuting Tips for Live-Out Nannies

commuteLiving outside your client’s home offers greater privacy and neatly set boundaries, but the responsibility for ensuring you are there on time and ready to report for duty is a little trickier than walking down the hall. The number one rule for nannies is not to be late and compromise the parent’s obligations, so the burden is on you to make sure no unforeseen issues create a problem for the family.

Use these stress-free tips to stay on time and start your mornings on the right foot:

Leave Early

No one likes to add a half hour to their day, but your responsibility as a nanny may mean you need to leave early to make sure an accident, traffic jam, late train or other unexpected issue doesn’t prevent you from reaching your job on time. Just as the parent respects your need to leave when your day is done, you need to honor their need to not be stressed on a rushed commute to work or late for an important meeting.  Find ways to put a positive spin on the trip. You may get there early, but if you make a special hot drink for yourself and download your favorite audiobook, those extra 15 minutes spent parked down the street won’t feel like a chore, but a mini-escape.

Beat the Traffic

If your commute coincides with the rest of the world’s drive time, consider altering your routine to save frustrating time behind the wheel in bumper-to-bumper traffic that could make you late. Research great coffee shops in your client’s neighborhood that might have frequent visitor perks, Wi-Fi or free refills. The amount of gas spent start-and-stopping or sitting in traffic can end up paying for your coffee or morning pastry. Calculate your extra cost and use the time to catch up with online friends, on paperwork or reading a book.

Consider Public Transportation

If an early departure isn’t practical, public transportation might make for a more enjoyable trip. Riding the rails could also be more reliable than braving traffic or hitting the highway in inclement weather. Depending on your location, a monthly commuter pass could even be transferred and passed between you and your employer, saving you serious money on travel costs. Either way, a ride where someone else is at the wheel frees you up to use the time as you like.

When the Weather Outside is Frightful

Even when freezing rain, nasty snowstorms, or even flooding become a road reality, your employer still needs you at your post. Discuss the possibility of staying over on nights forecast to include dangerous commuting conditions, and be aware that when nasty weather sets in, there is a possibility that the parents could be similarly trapped and unable to reach home. Keep sleepwear, a toiletry case and an extra set of work clothes at the residence to make yourself more comfortable when the unexpected hits.

Be Prepared

Preparation can be the best solution to commuting woes. If your car is less than reliable, you need to make sure your cellphone is charged and your AAA is up-to-date to quickly solve car mishaps. If cold weather affects your battery, ensure you have cables with you and pop out to start the car a half hour early just to make sure your charge is strong on particularly frigid days. Ask the family in advance what the road rules are for plowing in their neighborhood and if they have a backup plan for parking, as leaving the kids alone to shift the car for a plow is not an option.

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