Archive | May 2012

Overseeing Your Family’s Health

A healthy family makes for a happy family. Your bodies are your earthly houses. You will live in them until you die. If your physical needs are not met, your bodies will not function to their full potential and can be the start of many serious health issues.  It is up to you, the parents, to see that your family stays in good physical shape. What do your bodies need to stay healthy and fit?

Proper Nutrition

What you eat and how much you eat can affect your health, emotions, and how well your brains work. Each person is given only one body; therefore, it is important that you all learn to take good care them. It is necessary to make sure you have the proper nutrients so your bodies can develop properly and stay healthy. Where do you get the vitamins and nutrients that your bodies need? You get them from different kinds of foods. The government has a website (myplate.gov). The website is filled with valuable information to help you know exactly what kind and how much food each person in your family needs. Check it out.

Make sure you keep your home filled with healthy foods and drinks. When your children go for a snack and the cupboard is filled with candy, cookies, chips, pretzels, and other packaged foods, of course they are going to choose foods that have no nutritional value. Stay away from Kool-aid, Hi-C, pop, and other drinks that are full of sugar and other additives. The foods and drinks  just mentioned should be a rare treat, not an everyday food. Have fresh fruits and vegetables cut up and at your fingertips so you all can easily get something healthy when you are hungry.

Exercise

Physical exercise has so many benefits. Some benefits are: it controls weight; reduces blood pressure, high cholesterol, type 2 diabetes, stroke, and certain cancers; improves mental health, moods, cardiovascular fitness, healthy bones, posture, balance, and muscle growth and developmental skills. Most health professionals recommend that children and adults should participate in at least thirty to sixty minutes of physical activity every day.

What do you do to make sure that everyone in your family is getting enough exercise? Go outside and play tag, baseball, or touch football. Have fun playing together at the playground, riding your bikes, or going hiking in the park. Unable to get outside for whatever reason? There are now video games where you can get a good workout. Play as a family. Just remember that video game activity is only to be used when you cannot get outside. Obesity is on the rise in America because too many people are not active enough; instead, they are sitting on a couch watching television or playing video games for long periods of time. Start today and do thirty minutes of physical exercise as a family.

Sleep

Many people do not realize the importance of getting enough sleep. Sleeping is a time when muscles, bones, and skin grow and repair themselves. Sleep builds the immune system. People require more sleep when they are sick. Other benefits of sleep are that it helps you to pay attention and concentrate more, solve problems more proficiently, and get along better with others. When people lack sleep, they are more moody, have more trouble making good choices, and have less patience. If your children are having behavioral problems, you might want to make sure they are getting enough sleep. People are able to function so much better when they get the sleep their bodies need. People who lack sleep also tend to be sick more often because their bodies do not have time to build the immune system.

How can you help everyone get the sleep they need? One of the most important things is that you have a bedtime routine. Having a routine helps the body know it is time to get ready for sleep.  Start at the same time every night. Have your children take their baths, get their pajamas on, and then have your quiet time together where you talk and read. Sometimes children like to listen to music as they go to sleep. Have them listen to something relaxing and that builds the qualities you would like to see in them. My children loved to go to sleep listening to Patch the Pirate. His songs are about the Lord and are great to instill godly character into your children’s lives.  You want to make sure the rooms are dark, cool, and quiet. Light tells the body it is time to be awake. You want to avoid having a big meal before bed, drinking sodas with caffeine, and watching action movies. These things keep the body awake.

Make Your Home a Safe Place

Not only should you keep your home safe in the ways we talked above (limiting junk food, providing a quiet atmosphere for sleeping, and not being stationary), you should also keep your home safe from other things that can harm the body such as cigarette smoke. Breathing in second-hand smoke is just as harmful as actually smoking. If you smoke or are around people who smoke, I would suggest doing a little research about the facts of second and third-hand smoke. Also, be very careful when it comes to alcohol and drugs in your home. Many people who have addictions started from what they found in their own homes.

You can see from above that there are many things that you are able to do to contribute to your family’s health. Start with making one change today and stick with it. You will be glad you did.

By: Linda Svacha 🙂

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Teaching Your Children Academics

Parents play a huge role in overseeing their children’s academic needs. Children learn so much more and have a greater advantage academically when parents are actively involved in their children’s education. You start working on academics with your children before birth and continue until they graduate from college.

Many people are unaware of how much information children can obtain even before they start school. I was a preschool teacher for fifteen years and was amazed at how much children could learn before entering kindergarten. Because children’s brains are developing, they are like little sponges. It was sad when parents did not know this and never worked with their children before starting school. They started with a disadvantage. Take advantage of the time you have at home with your children and work with them.

You can make learning fun by singing songs, or playing the “letter game.” Buy some magnetic letters, put about five into a bag at a time (trying to learn all of them at once can be overwhelming). Have your child pull one letter out. If he knows the letter, have them put it on the right side of the refrigerator. If he does not know it, have him put it on the left. Always ask him what letter he pulled out and have him repeat the letter. You can start with letters that he can link to a person, such as P for Papaw, D for Daddy.

There are many other ways you can work with your children in a fun way. Put food coloring in their cereal to learn new colors and how to mix colors. When they are eating fish, count ten fish and as they eat one say, “Ten minus one equals nine.” Continue doing this until they are gone. Play I Spy looking around for letters. Put Bible verses to a tune and sing them in the car. Use your imagination. The important thing is that you are always teaching them something new.

Make your home a place that encourages learning. Stock your shelves with lots of books, paper, crayons, markers, scissors, glue, and tape. Purchase life skill tools, such as blocks, Legos ©, dolls and doll houses, tool benches, or kitchen sets, that cause them to use their imagination and learn to role play. A white marker board is a great tool to help your children learn their letters, draw, and read. They can also “play” school with it. Buy exploration tools, such as bug cages, magnifying glasses, sand, buckets, and shovels, which will encourage them to explore the outdoors. Buy sidewalk chalk so they can learn their letters and numbers, play games like hopscotch, or draw some amazing pictures.

Many toys and games can provide academic learning opportunities for your children. Card games can teach your children about numbers, matching, addition, and subtraction. There are electronic games like LeapPad © that can help teach them their colors, letters, numbers, and even reading skills. The more supplies you have around the house for them to use, the less time they will spend sitting in front of a television. A word of caution with electronic games is that you do not want the games to be the main tool teaching your children their academic skills. They should be an addition to your teaching.

Schools can never give all children the attention they need to achieve their full potential. Because classes have a large number of children, teachers are unable to focus on each individual student. It is important that you work with your children’s teachers. If you do not understand something they are learning, you need to work with your children to find other ways to help them. Suggest staying after school if the teacher is willing to help. You may have to help them find a friend or family member who understands what they are working on or hire a tutor. It is up to you, the parents, to oversee your children’s academic progress. If your children start falling behind, and you do not do what it takes to get the help they need, they will only get further behind.

Start today! Go to the store and buy some supplies, turn off the television, and start being creative to make learning fun. Call your children’s teachers and find an area they are struggling in and work with your children in those areas. If you do not know the material, find someone who does. God has placed your children in your hands to help them succeed in all areas of their lives. The growth of your children in all areas physically, emotionally, academically, socially, and spiritually is your responsibility. Other children are not your responsibility. God will place other people to help you, but all-in-all it is up to you to oversee every area of their lives. Yes, it is VERY time consuming, but the sacrifice is worth it in the end!

By Linda Svacha 🙂