The ABCs of Raising a Healthy Kid–Part 2

the abcs of raising a healthy kid

Today we continue in our 5 day series – The ABCs of Raising a Healthy Kid.  This series is great for giving parents important pointers in how to raise kids.  Today I am sharing F-J.

If you missed any of the series click on the button above to see all the posts in the series!

F is for friends. We all need friends! Not only are friends there for fun and encouragement, but they also stretch us because of their differences too! 
Thoughts About Friends

  • Encourage your kids to be friends with their siblings! These are their lifelong friends – foster that relationship
  • Get to know your kids friends and their family. Aside from your family, friends probably have one of the strongest influences over your child and their attitude & actions.
  • Model being a good friend! Make sure you take time for your friends. Model for them the fun you have by allowing them to see you interacting with your friend.
  • Make sure your kids know that you can have lots of friends! Some friends are closer, but that doesn’t mean you can’t be friends with lots of people!

How to Foster FriendshipsDecember 2012 765

  • Provide opportunities
    • Invite other families over
    • Plan play dates
    • Invite friends over or along for fun events
    • Make sure there is time in their schedule for play
    • Enroll in local classes or participate at church clubs to provide a chance for your kids to make friendships based on similar interests like adults do.
  • Make your house inviting – You want your child’s friends to want to come over. So make sure it is free from clutter, clean, area to play, toys to play with without providing sensory overload, healthy snack, and not too many things they can’t play with so that you and your child are constantly saying – oh we don’t touch that….
  • Be Friendly – Make sure you take the time to chat a little with your child’s friend to show you value that person. Always take the time to say hi and ask them how they are doing.
  • Remind your child how to be a good friend – sharing, taking turns, putting others first, etc.
  • Don’t talk disparagingly about their friend of friend’s family
  • Show an interest even when they are not there – ask your son or daughter about their friend and what they did after they spend time together. Not only will this show you value the relationship, but it also gives you insight into their relationship.

G is for germs. Inevitably your kids are going to get sick – that is just part of childhood. And believe it or not, to an extent, it is good for them!! When kids are exposed to germs that helps them build up their immune system.  That is why so many teachers are sick a lot when they start teaching, but not so much oater on.  Teach your kiddo how to keep germs at bay.
How to keep your Kids Healthy

  • Make sure your kids are getting plenty of sleep! If your kids are worn down they will be more likely to get sick when exposed to germs. My favorite book on sleep is sleep is this one. It advocates going to bed earlier will actually help them sleep longer (because they will enter another sleep cycle) – it worked for us. My kids have all be wonderful sleepers and nappers and I am convinced it has played a big factor in their behavior, attitude, and overall health. There are also wonderful charts and guidelines so you know how much sleep your child should get birth – 18 years!
  • Make sure your kids are eating healthy! Diets filled with sugar and low on fruits & veggies leave your child’s body week and easily infected. (Did you know sugar actually suppresses the immune system!) Unsure about what your child should be eating – visit myplate.org to find out. And here are some super
  • Boost their immune system with these SUPER foods:
    • Yogurt – the”live active cultures” found in yogurt, are healthy bacteria that keep the gut and intestinal tract free of disease-causing germs.
    • Fresh Garlic – contains active ingredient allicin, which fights infection and bacteria. So add some to stir friends or grate over meat for some savory germ fighting action1
    • Chicken Soup – not just an old wives tale! The salty broth thins mucus, the added veggies like garlic and onion boos your immune system, and the soup as a hole blocks the migration of inflammatory white cells.
    • Tea – Both black & green tea have L-theanine which boosts your immune system. This is true for the decaf version too! So incorporate tea as an after school drink to boost their immune system
    • Orange Veggies- Orange veggies are rick in Vitamin A that is necessary for your skin – your first line of defense – to stay healthy!
    • Mushrooms – Mushrooms boost your product in white blood cells which are necessary to fight off infections.
  • Wash hands frequently!  – Teach your kids to wash their hands with soap & water frequently. They should be washing their hands after being out of the house, after using the bathroom, before meals, if they sneeze/blow their nose, or if the come into contact with someone who is sick
  • Keeps hands out of mouth, noses, and ears! Teach your kids to keep their hands out of their eyes, mouth, noses, ears, etc. where they will spread the germs with their body.  This can be especially challenging with younger children and thumb suckers, but with repeated training they will get than hang of it….. eventually!

What to do when they are sick– Sometime, despite the best defense, your kids get sick.

  • Lots of rest – Sick people needs lots of rest for their body to fight off the germ. Sleeping is best, but sitting quietly on the couch reading a book, coloring, or watching TV is the next best alternative
  • Make every bite count – Sick people often don’t have a big appetite. Make sure that you are giving healthy foods to help fight off the cold! Try some green tea, homemade chicken noodle soup filled with garlic, and yogurt. When they are ready for more add some veggies, whole grain bread, and lean protein like chicken.

NOTE: If your child has been vomiting start with the BRAT diet first! B – bananas, R – rice, A – Applesauce, T – toast (plain is best)

  • Reaching for Vitamin C….. hold on! Interestingly enough research does not actually support that Vitamin C has any effect on a cold whatsoever. (Source)
  • Limit medication as a slight fever is actually your bodies way of fighting off the germ!
  • Warm baths relax muscles and keep your body relaxed and clean (remember to supervise children closely in any water)
  • Make sure everyone washes their hands even more frequently when someone in your household is sick!
  • Stay home! No one else wants your germs – try to keep those that are sick home for 24 hours after that last symptom or sign of fever!

H is for hugs. Kids need to know you care not just by words (although they need to hear that too), but in action too! Making sure you are giving your kids plenty of physical touch – hugs, cuddles, holding hands, etc.
Benefits of a Hug: (source)

  • Lowers blood pressure & heart rate
  • Improve mood
  • Increase nerve activity
  • communicates compassion & acceptance
  • increases comfort level
  • sense of closeness

Something particularly insightful to me was The 5 Love Languages by Gary Chapman. The book talks about how we feel more loved when people are speaking to us in our primary love languages. With kids they need a good mix of all 5!  Make sure your child is feeling loved by you in the language of physical touch!January 2013 003
Did you know Jan 21st is National Hugging Day? So try to squeeze in 8 hugs a day!
I is for Intentional! This is my mantra so you’ve probably heard me say this a couple times =-) Intentionally means deliberately. Although some crazy hectic days it might not seem like it, these precious kids that have been entrusted to your care are only “yours” for a limited time. If you are not deliberate in those precious years they will be gone all too quickly. Then you will be the “old” Mom/Dad telling some young Mom/Dad “they grow up so quickly”
So what does it really mean to be intentional with yours kids? It means that you acknowledge you only have limited time to enjoy, mold, and create memories with your children. If you want to get everything done you want to you need to be deliberate about it! Chances are it wont randomly happen – you need to make it happen!
So take a moment and think about 5 things your kids to get out of their 18 years growing up at your home. Now write down 3 ways you are going to make that happen. Then set realistic goals to help you keep on track. Here is mine as an example:

  1. Know, love & serve Jesus as their Lord & Savior
    • Have family devotions – 6-7 days a week
    • Go to church weekly
    • Set an example for our kids of obedience to the Bible, serving our family/church body/community, giving to the needy/offering, and reaching out to the lost.December 2011 1250
  2. Connecting with each other in a meaningful way on a daily basis!
    • Take time every and every day to do something special & meaningful with each kid individually. It could be as simple as reading a book together, playing a board game, or going on a mother/kiddo outing.
    • Spend time daily tucking them in talking with them and hearing their hearts.
    • Create, play & explore as a way of daily life so they are able to enjoy their childhood!October 2012 003
  3. Strong Education intended to help them harness their strengths, round out their weaknesses, and prepare them for a lifetime of providing for their families & learning.
    • Homeschooling with emphasis on things in perspective to their Christian walk (daily Bible time plus intertwined in all areas of study and using teachable moments)
    • Emphasis on Reading/Writing and Math that are essential to any career path they choose
    • Make learning fun and child directed to help kids have a love of learning that will last a lifetimeJanuary 2012 1247
  4. Create precious memories together filled with fun as we explore a wide variety of different places and experiences.  
    • Weekly family fun time (family movie, game night, walks, playing at the park, etc.)
    • Monthly activity (museum, concert, bowling, mini golf, family classes at park district, day trips, etc.)
    • Annual Vacation (planned at the time of year to make it thrifty, but with variety to expose the kids to planes, trains, desserts, beaches, Disney, new countries, all 50 states, etc.) – We actually have a basic outline for all our vacations through Goofy’s 18th birthday to get him to all the states, family missions trip, etc.Spring 2012 Vacation 200
  5. Teach how to live complete healthy lives by having the habit of eating well & balanced diets, exercising as a part of life, preventative medicine, and feeling confident of why they are as individuals.
    • Eating – providing a variety of nutritious meals to expose them many fruits & vegetables as a way of life. Still adding in treats, but teaching moderation.
    • Exercise – Family walk most days of the week as weather permits plus enrolling the kids in sports or other opportunities for exercise several times a year.
    • Doctor – taking for regular preventative care, helping them learn how to stay healthy, and teaching them how to research to no just take things at face value.
    • Well-Rounded Person – helping them develop meaningful relationships, community involvement, knowing how to politely interact with others.
May 2012 418August 2009 104

Additional Resources (click to read more)

        quality time

J is for Jesus. Making sure that our kids really KNOW Jesus, LOVE Jesus, and SERVE Jesus is the most important thing to me (you can see my specific goals above under I).  It is the biggest reason (although there are others ) that we homeschool.  I could write so much on this topic it is a little overwhelming. I am going to hit some high points, but if there is a certain topic you are interested in leave a note in the comments and I’ll write about it!!
Note: If you do not know Jesus as your Lord & Savior I’d love for you to meet my friend here!
Keeping Jesus first & foremost

  • Pray Continuously – “Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18
    • Before each meal – teach your children to be grateful by praying and thanking God for the food (the men/boys in our family also take off their hats as a sign of respect)
    • Before bed – end the day pondering God’s word together, praising God for his goodness, and taking the cares of the day to God in prayer.
    • Throughout the day – if your child is worried, hurt, you hear an ambulance, you learn of a prayer request, whatever it is make sure to be going to God in prayer continually!
    • Pray for others – As part of our family devotions we pray for our family & friends. We keep all the Christmas cards we were sent and put them in a small plastic box. We go through them one by one, picking a new family to pray for each day! This is one of our favorite traditions.
  • The Bible – ”All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be competent, equipped for every good work.” 2 Timothy 3: 16-17
    • Family Devotions – Make sure to spend time in the word together as a family daily! Pick a time that works for your family and that you can be consistent – morning, evening, or another time that works for your family. We read through a devotional (usually a Kenneth Taylor one) together, sing a song of praise, think of something we are thankful for that day, take prayer requests, and pray together as a family.
    • Memorizing Scripture – The Bible tells us to hide God’s word in our heart (Psalm 119:11). Why not memorize a verse together as a family! If your kids are in Awana or other Bible club they may already have verses to memorize. Write them down on an index card and keep them with your Bible stuff. Then you can review them together so they will remember God’s word!
    • Bible as a SwordApril 2009 050
  • Church – “And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near. For if we go on sinning deliberately after receiving the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins, but a fearful expectation of judgment, and a fury of fire that will consume the adversaries.” Hebrews 10:24-27
    • Make it a priority for your family to go to church each and every week to learn more about God, praise him, and fellowship with other members of the body of Christ!
    • Traveling – Let your children know that nothing is more important than God by keeping him front & center even on vacations! You can go to church with another family member or even having your own service with a short devotional, prayer, and singing.
    • Stewardship – Teach your children while they are young about being good stewards financially. If they get an allowance help then learn to set apart money first (their first fruits) for the Lord. It is so much easier to set these habits in place before greed takes ahold of our hearts! Our kids love putting their own money in when the offering plate comes around. Remember it is not about how much they give  – remember the story of the widow in Mark 12:41-44.
    • Church & Sunday School – In our family we view it as a priority to have the kids with us in church – worshipping with other believers once they are in Kindergarten. We also attend Sunday School weekly so we are taught and encouraged with others in our same journey (i.e. age for the kids). If your church doesn’t have Sunday School they probably have other ministries like small group, kids clubs, etc.
  • Ministry – “to prepare God’s people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up” Ephesians 4:12
    • We not only want to model service for our children, but we consider it a privilege to minister together! I think there are seasons for ministry – time to take a break, times to do lots, time to do certain ministries, and others where that won’t fit with your particular families time constraints. No matter what you need to be serving. We are called to serve! From children to seniors the body works when each member does his part (Romans 12:5-8)
    • Kids can serve as greeters, helping out in their class, copying or collating bulletins, cleaning up messes, befriending others, watching younger children, singing in the church choir, etc.
    • Find ways to serve in your community! From things like packaging meals for Feed my Children to buying a goat for a community in Africa to ringing the Salvation Army Bell there are lots of opportunities. A pastor can help you identify good fits for your family.
  • Great commission – “Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”” Matthew 28:19-20
    • Teach your children the importance of telling other about Jesus! Disciple them and encourage them to tell their friends about Jesus.  Model this yourself – maybe by inviting another family over for dinner.

One of my favorite resources is What’s in the Bible. This DVD is way more than just entertainment – it really shares a LOT of information! Don’t be surprised if you learn something new too! I love how it goes through the Bible systematically in a fun, memorable way. (read my original review here)

Additional Resources

Stay tuned tomorrow as we continue our 5 day series – The ABCs of Raising a Healthy Kid.

About the author

Beth Gorden

Beth Gorden is the creative multi-tasking creator of 123 Homeschool 4 Me. As a busy homeschooling mother of six, she strives to create hands-on learning activities and worksheets that kids will love to make learning FUN! She has created over 1 million pages of printables to help teach kids ABCs, science, English grammar, history, math, and so much more! Beth is also the creator of 2 additional sites with even more educational activities and FREE printables - www.kindergartenworksheetsandgames.com and www.preschoolplayandlearn.com

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