If the concept of health and wellness leaves your little one yawning, rather than jumping in excitement, then it's time to figure out a better way to teach her about these important concepts. Life-long habits are established at a very young age, so setting the tone when she's young leads to a lifetime of healthy choices. Incorporate these concepts into your everyday routines, rather than make them a specific lesson, to ensure your little one will be reminded of their importance every single day.
1 Change your own habits. Yes, it's true that your habits directly influence those of your child. What mommy does, child does, so avoid those fast food runs and candy binges late at night. Instead, eat fruit for a snack and talk about how you are choosing a healthier option rather than that greasy hamburger the next time you head to the local diner for dinner.
2 Use children's literature to teach concepts of health and wellness if your preschooler doesn't jump for joy when you talk about exercise and nutrition. According to "Young Children and Picture Books" by Mary Renck Jalongo, kids' books with illustrations are an excellent way to teach your little one about topics in a way that keeps her interested and engaged. Select books like Jutta Langreuter's "Little Bear Brushes His Teeth" or "Blue's Snack Party: A Lift-the-flap Story" by Sarah Landy to reinforce the health and wellness concepts you want your preschooler to master.
3 Break out your matching chef hats, and cook healthy snacks and meals with your preschooler. Use kid-friendly recipes that are both easy to cook and easy to eat. Include your little one in the process where appropriate and use the opportunity to talk about healthy eating. As you make freshly squeezed orange juice, introduce the concept of vitamin C and talk about its importance for your growing preschooler.
4 Exercise together as a family. A large part of wellness is staying fit, and according to KidsHealth.org, it's important to select activities that excite your preschooler rather than bore him. Enlist the help of your entire family, and make exercise a bonding and learning experience for everyone. As you walk through the woods, tell your preschooler how important it is to keep his muscles moving so he can grow up to be big and strong.
Items you will need
- Health and wellness books for kids
- Cooking materials
- Keep the facts age-appropriate for your preschooler. Avoid throwing boring statistics at her and ensure the learning activities are fun and integrated during your normal daily routines.
- KidsHealth.org: Nine Steps to More Effective Parenting
- Young Children and Picture Books (Second Edition); Mary Renck Jalongo
- Little Bear Brushes His Teeth; Jutta Langreuter
- Blue's Snack Party: A Lift-the-flap Story; Sarah Landy
- KidsHealth.org: Motivating Preschoolers to Be Active
- Jupiterimages/Comstock/Getty Images