Health is a very big topic in today’s society. If people are not talking about weight loss then they are talking about the latest diet benefits. There is obesity in kids that people are concerned about and frankly, health is something that most homeschooling curriculums do not include.
I, on the other hand love the topic of health. Once I became pregnant with my first a lot of my view points changed about health. I started being more conscious of what I ate and actually started being aware of how food effects my body. I am hoping to pass that knowledge on to my own kids, but how to do it?
First, I think it’s important for kids to know about their bodies. For kindergarten ages kids you can start off really basic. Teach them that their bodies are amazing things, that they have:
-head shoulders knees and toes (other parts as well)
-has blood and skin
-older children can learn about organ names
I think it’s good to use books for some of these such as What’s Inside My Body. I also like to demonstrate skin and blood with a Ziplock bag. Fill inside with some red dye and put in things that you find outside such as sticks for bones and rock for brain etc. and explain that the skin is what holds it all together just like the Ziplock bag.
After the basics are identified, you can go on to teach about taking care of that body.
-if you get a cut what do you do?
-where are the band aids?
-how do you wash your hands?
-how do you brush your teeth?
-where is the ice pack?
You can even play a game with your child and have your child tell you how to do it so that way you can see if they are missing any steps. The point is to get them to understand that our body takes care of us so we need to take care of it.
After the initial introduction to the body is complete then you can go deeper into the why of eating certain food. I am not one to teach about the food pyramid, but I do believe that a parent and child should know what the food they are eating is giving their bodies. There are books to explain what fruits and veggies give us describing the electrolytes and vitamins that come from certain foods. This is an easier way to explain why sugar is not good for the body all the time. Food is a way to take care of our bodies, so we need to have certain things to keep it going like protein and vitamins.
This is a great way to learn right alongside your kids if you do not know much about nutrition and find out for yourself how what you are eating is effecting your body. I think the best example of health we can give our kids comes from our own example. If we try to tell our kids to not stuff their face with cookies but they see us doing it ourselves, they will just get mixed signals. Cookies are not bad but all things must be met with limits. Along with learning how to take cake of their bodies they also will hopefully have lifelong knowledge of eating healthy from the start.
I hope that this was useful to you and gets you motivated to learn about healthy living!