Have you ever noticed how there are some habits that you adopt at a very young age and don’t think twice about later on in life? Things like washing your hands after you’re done in the bathroom or putting on your seatbelt as soon as you sit in a car. While this may sound intuitive to you, the thing is that you’ve adopted this at a very young age – it’s an acquired skill, not something innate.
Not many things are more important than the health of your kids, so wouldn’t it be great if you taught them some of these good habits, too?
For those interested in this course of action, here are a few things you should know about health education for kids from a young age.
Make it age-appropriate
First, you must understand that you’re teaching little kids. Kids’ health education is different than teaching adults. Kids don’t understand complex technical terms, and they’re usually not as hypochondriac and germaphobic as adults, meaning you need to find other incentives for them to care.
Your first objective is to find a way to explain why the subject should matter to them.
Second, you need to figure out their reading/listening comprehension level. There’s a reason we say you should explain something like one’s five/ten. The thing is that here, AI NLP tools like ChatGPT can be incredibly helpful. You can just type in the subject matter in a way that is clear/understandable to you and then just ask the platform to rephrase it so that it’s age-appropriate.
Remember, you don’t have to take notes or use the exact words; sometimes, just getting a general idea of what the lecture should sound like is enough.
Make it fun
The best way to get kids invested in the subject matter is to make learning fun. There are so many ways to incorporate games or gamify your current curriculum. Also, you can make everything a fun competition.
You can also use storytelling and pick learning formats that interest kids. Most importantly, you should make the content interactive. This way, kids will be more incentivized to get involved in the subject matter.
This particular aspect heavily relies on the creativity of the teachers. Sure, it’s a lot of fun but it requires effort and constant creativity. From the time they’re babies, you constantly need to adapt to them; education is no exception.
Focus on the most important categories
Teaching kids about health, in general, is important; however, your main objective should be actionable knowledge that you can implement. Therefore, start splitting this knowledge into four general areas.
Healthy eating habits
First, you want to help your kids develop healthy eating habits. Teach them what is a balanced diet. Explain which foods are bad for them and what can happen if they overindulge in that food. Instead of just trying to scare them with talks of tooth decay and health problems that stem from obesity, try to give them a positive incentive. In what way will eating healthy make them stronger, healthier, etc.?
Kids love physical activity; however, most of their fun occurs indoors. If our parents and their parents had Minecraft and Call of Duty, it’s questionable how much time they would be spending outdoors. Therefore, you may want to incentivize going outdoors. Take them to the playground and explain all the health and fitness benefits.
Hygiene and self-care
Hygiene is incredibly important, yet a lot of people do it wrong. No fragrance or deodorant will help if you don’t shower. Moreover, while antibiotics and medication have greatly advanced, this doesn’t mean you don’t have to wash your hands before the meal. When it comes to dental health, scrubbing a toothbrush across their oral cavity will not do the trick; they must learn how to wash their hands properly.
Importance of sleep
Humans are diurnal creatures, meaning we’re biologically programmed to sleep at night and go out during the day. Ancient Chinese saying tells us that one hour of sleep before midnight is worth more than three hours after midnight. Moreover, your body needs vitamin D, and supplementation is not a decent substitute for sunlight. Make sure to instill your kid with these habits as early as possible.
Better relationships with doctors and health experts
Another thing you need to understand is the fact that kids sometimes fear doctors and dentists. They avoid regular health checkups and postpone them indefinitely. Even in adults, the idea that a condition is not a problem until you learn of it is childish (to put it mildly).
Therefore, teach your kids why doctors and dentists are your friends. Instill in them the idea that they need to go for regular checkups. Tell them that, if discovered in time, almost all conditions are more easily treatable. Therefore, enduring a bit of fear up-front will save them a lot of effort in the future (not that they have anything to fear).
Also, teach them that just because their previous checkup went fine doesn’t mean there’s no need for the next one. Consistency is key.
Importance of mental wellbeing
Lastly, explain to them that their feelings matter and that life under stress affects even their physical health. Tell them they have the right to feel down occasionally, but they can do so many things to calm down. By teaching them these methods to calm themselves down, you’ll help them become more self-reliant.
In an age where depression and loneliness are at an all-time high, we can’t afford to wait too long until we start talking about it. The younger we start teaching kids, the better their odds will be at triumphing against this.
Kids are never too young to learn, and when it comes to it, there’s nothing more important than health. This is one topic that will remain equally as important throughout their entire lives and childhood. It’s also one of the few transformative experiences that will guide them throughout their lives. Still, just because it’s objectively important doesn’t mean the kids will care. You have to make them care, and this is all but easy.