The main ingredient to raising healthy children is practicing healthy habits as a family and a community. At Sandwich Montessori we embrace health in every aspect of our day-to-day lives at the school. Now we’re bringing healthy habits to the wide world here on this blog, and at our local community event Healthy Minds, Bodies and World.
We’re going to let you in on some easy, everyday, Montessori-style ways to instill healthy habits in your tiny adults to help you raise a happy, healthy family.
Then, if you want to join us for a healthy Saturday, Sandwich Montessori is hosting a Family Fun Event open to the community on June 8, 2019. Kids can enjoy Yoga with Miss Tami, Music Together with Meryl, crafts, cooking and more! The Sandwich Fire Department will be talking about fire safety and will be doing car seat safety checks. Kids will also get to see the fire trucks. This is a completely free event open to everyone. Join us Saturday, and for now, read on for some tips to create the foundations for a healthy lifestyle for your whole family.
1. Just get moving
The simplest things are sometimes the best. It can be something as easy as a game of tag or throwing a ball around the yard. Put on some music and dance around the kitchen together while you are cooking. You will enjoy it as much as the kids do!
Set a good example with your own participation. When you increase the family activity level with a walk, hike or a bike ride, not only are you getting physical exercise but the family also gets more time together to bond.
With some activities it helps to explain why you might be doing something. Let your toddler know that, “We’re running and that’s good for our legs,” or “We’re stretching our hands up to the sky. That’s good for our bodies.” Kids love to know why!
2. Explore Yoga and Tai Chi for kids
Not all exercise has to involve a lot of running around. Gentle actives like yoga and tai chi have some extra benefits. There are now many online resources who offer these ancient practices to young children.
Yoga inspires strong minds, healthy bodies and peaceful spirit through movement. Fundamentals such as balance, strength & flexibility are practiced, exploration is encouraged, and confidence evolves naturally.
Yoga practice teaches us to be calm, balanced and self aware. We use breath work to relax deeply and focus our energy. We emphasize respect for ourselves, our friends and the world around us. Children who develop this self-awareness are better able to focus on a task, stay calm, avert stress and control their bodies.
Try out some classes with your child!
3. Make the family walk a habit
A simple walk can clear the mind, allow for conversation, and give everyone some fresh air. As well as the physical exercise, your child will benefit from being closer to nature which will increase their appreciation of the natural world. As with any new activity don’t push them too hard at first with long walks that leave them exhausted. The most important thing is that they enjoy it and are keen to do it again.
4. Involve your children with the cooking
Include your children in cooking and if possible growing food!
They’ll need some guidance, but having children participate in meal prep and be a part of the cooking process is a great way to promote healthy eating habits. Take them to the grocery store and help them learn to read labels. Choose a recipe together and then get them involved in the whole process. Having them to help even with small tasks will likely make them more interested in learning about smart, healthful food choices.
It doesn’t have to be complicated! Here are some simple ideas to get them involved:
Washing vegetables and fruit
Getting different things out of the cupboards and carrying ingredients from one place to
another (you’ll need to move things down low for this to work)
Pour water – you could have a dispenser down low or a small jug on a low table. Have a sponge or cloth nearby for spills.
Putting things in trash bin
Mixing, stirring and pouring
Tearing lettuce for salad
Washing and spinning lettuce
Scooping dry ingredients into measuring cups
Rinsing plastic bowls in sink
Following simple recipes with you
Helping to set the table – have dishes down low in the cupboard so your child can reach them
5. Explore soups and smoothies for fussy eaters
Some children can be picky eaters, so sometimes you need to make a bit of extra effort. Soups and smoothies can be an easy way to get fruit and veggies into fussy eaters! Often it is not the taste of a particular food as much as the texture. You can add extras like dairy or nut milks to make a creamy soup. A handful of ground almonds can boost the protein value of a banana smoothie.
7. Have no-phone/screen zones
It’s important to cultivate habits that foster communication, bonding, together time, and social interaction. This means no-screen times for everyone!
It can be challenging, but it helps to come up with a plan that outlines times and spaces where screens are off-limits, such as at dinner table, in the bedroom and during designated homework time. Or, have a designated charging station in the house where family members keep their devices overnight Maybe have a set time when these devices go to the station, leaving some free time before bed.
8. Organize you family schedules around good health
Developing a good practice into a good habit is just a matter of making the behavior routine. To keep your family on the track toward healthy living, try getting a calendar and putting it in a place where everyone in the family can see. Then use it: Schedule the night the kids are in charge of making dinner. Add the once-a-month family bike ride to the park or the weekly driveway basketball game.
9. Rethink snacktime
Make healthy choices easier and within reach after a long day at work or school. Keep within easy reach snacks such as veggies and hummus, almonds and fruit; when you and the kids are low on energy after a full day, it’ll be easy to grab the cut-up carrots and celery or an apple from a bowl on the kitchen table.
Living in a Healthy World
Beyond cultivating healthy habits, we of course also want our children to live in a healthy environment at home, in school and in the world. You can encourage them an early age to do what they can to make the planet a little healthier. And within our Montessori school, we take a holistic approach. This naturally includes caring for the environment. You can explain why you might choose certain more ethical brands when you are shopping or why it is good to repair toys rather than throwing them away. Children are often keen to help so they can start habits like recycling, composting early on.
A healthy adult life starts in childhood because so many of these important habits are learned in the early years. We hope you can join us on Saturday 8th June for a great family event to have fun while promoting and supporting the development of happy, healthy children.
Make sure to join us this Saturday for our family fun event - Healthy Minds, Body and World. Activities like yoga, music, cooking, crafts, and more is sure to be an enriching experience for your little one. Set on our beautiful wooded campus, it's an event not to miss!