Building a healthy foundation
As we develop clarity around the importance of sleep in our children’s development and daily life, we can also begin to look at the other responsibilities that build our kids’ health and hygiene. Often, family battles ensue around bathing/showering, teeth-brushing and exercise. These are key areas in which kids need to develop responsibility over time.
As we mentioned earlier this month, these are also areas in which as parents, we set the expectations and consequences and hold our kids accountable. If they are not meeting the expectations, do they get to move forward with their daily privileges? If they do, actions and words are not in sync.
It is so easy to fall into the excuse trap:
There is so much happening, it’s hard to make time for a bath.
I ask if she brushed her teeth and she said she did (I want to believe her.)
I’ve asked my kids to play outside and they don’t want to – I can’t exercise for them!
When we start using excuses about our kids’ hygiene, our kids will learn them and use them.
Parents are bombarded with new “opportunities for our kids” every day. Individually, they all sound great: a new health class, an extra academic event, the perfect volunteer task. Wanting to be good parents, it is so easy to agree to individual opportunities without stopping to question whether it makes sense for the whole family. The schedule fills up and the focus on the key areas of sleep and health gets unintentionally bumped out of the way.
Today’s questions are:
Are your kids doing the “fun stuff” while skipping out on meeting your expectations?
Have you clearly outlined the responsibilities of teeth-brushing – what it looks like, how long it lasts, how you will check that it is done?
Have you planned bath/shower times with your kids?
Does your family build exercise into your weekly schedule (walking kids to school, going for a regular family walk/run/play at the park?)
We encourage you to get clear about what is really important for your family as you consider your schedule. While it often seems like a great idea to add another class, the only way to truly find a schedule that works for your family is to create time for priorities and build the rest upon a solid foundation.