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A Wellness Approach for Children

Written by Jane Sheppard   
Monday, 01 March 2004 00:00
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In raising healthy children, it’s not enough to just focus on the physical aspect of health. To be truly healthy, a child’s emotional health must be nurtured and strengthened. Developing a mental attitude of wellness is also essential. When we adopt an attitude of wellness, we take on a belief that being well is a natural, normal state. Our goal is to have outstanding, vibrant health, not just to be free of disease. With a wellness attitude, we know that we have control over our own body and how healthy it will be.

We can teach and help our children to grow up with an attitude of wellness. Children have much more control over their own health than you may think. The mind is a very powerful mechanism with miraculous control over health and healing. The more children learn to use the extraordinary powers of their minds, the healthier and happier they will be. They may also live longer than someone who takes a passive approach to health.

Wellness Approuch For ChildrenChildren can learn that negative, unhealthy lifestyles are choices that contribute to sickness. We all know what a struggle it can be to encourage children to eat the foods that we know are essential for health, and to avoid junk food. When our children are very young, we can pretty easily restrict the things we know to be unhealthy for them. However, as they get older, telling them that they cannot have sugar or other problem food is not productive. They will feel deprived and will probably rebel. Anything that is forbidden is tempting.

Children need to know they have a choice—they can either choose good health and wellness or opt for poor health and sickness. They need to be taught the facts so they are able to make educated choices. Talk to them about the effects that food has on their body. They can understand that sugar lowers their immunity, making them more susceptible to sickness, as well as contribute to tooth decay. You can explain to them how eating healthy foods will give them more energy and make them feel better. This can be taught in very simple, fun and creative ways. It may take a while to actually sink in, and at first the lure of scrumptious tasting sugar and white flour “treats” that all the other kids are eating may be too much to refuse, but eventually the time and energy you put into health education will pay off. If children are raised with a respectful attitude of wellness, as they get older they will most likely choose to turn down things that they know are not healthy for them. Respectful is a key word, meaning not nagging or shaming them about food.

As they get even older, they can be taught that smoking cigarettes or taking drugs is their choice to opt for sickness. Telling them to “just say no” and forbidding them to smoke or take drugs is not enough. They need to understand the health consequences and realities of putting these substances in their bodies. Children are very intelligent, but they need to be reminded that they are powerful and they have choices. They can understand the consequences of their choices.

Talk to your children about how strong their bodies are and the extraordinary things their bodies can do. Show them how their bodies can miraculously heal a cut, how their heart works and how they can strengthen their heart through exercise and healthy food, how their immune system fights off germs and other invaders, and how getting enough sleep makes them feel better throughout the day. All these things can be taught in fun and imaginative ways with drawings, stories, etc. Children are fascinated with their bodies and they want to know how they work.