From tips to help students stop procrastinating, to advice on how to host a healthy classroom celebration, we’ve explored how schools and students can put their best feet forward this year, all while under the helpful watch of the school nurse. Now, the last puzzle piece to our Health Tool Kits is for the parents, whose duties leave them exhausted at the end of nearly every day. It's time to turn the tables and take care of the people who take care of everyone else.
Without further adieu, here is the last installment of our Health Tool Kits series: 5 Health tools for parents.
1. Finding the “why”
At Magnus Health, we drive our work by asking "why?". Why do you go to work? Why are you dedicated to your child? Why do you choose certain activities? Why do you miss your alarm every other morning? Some of your answers may be obvious, but others may also surprise you. So here’s my next question: Why should you care about your health? Besides being there for your child as long as possible, setting an example for them is just as important. Find your “why,” and let that drive you to better physical and mental health.
2. Working smart
If you’re like most of the parents I know, you have plenty of things to do while your child is in school, and one of those things very well may be working a part-time or full-time job. Have you ever thought about using that time at work as an avenue for improving health? As I sit here in a swivel chair, with my eyes glued to a computer screen, I can understand why you might say “no” while you roll your eyes. Work is stressful and frequently sedentary, but stepping away to eat lunch in peace, or to join a group for an afternoon walk or run, can help drastically reduce stress and help you work toward fitness goals.
3. Paving the way
After you get home from your own hectic day, parenting responsibilities beckon, but each one is an opportunity to promote family wellness. You control the grocery list, television time, and the dialogue and level of communication, each one being a chance to improve. To get you started, check out this family goals chart to get everyone involved on a health journey, including thoughtful school lunches for the kids. And if you're planning a vacation, one of these cities might be a good pick to stay active while having fun. Grand Canyon, anyone?
4. Staying in tune
Kids will usually tell you what's on their mind, which can lead to honest, and sometimes hilarious, encounters (cue Kids Say the Darndest Things). Teens on the other hand... well, they're a bit different. Bullying, stress, mental health disorders, cliques, and even drug abuse are things teens see, hear about, and may even experience. Unfortunately, they won't always talk about it, and this is where your communication skills are key. KidsHealth has hundreds of resources to help you navigate these tricky terrains, and to promote positive mental health along the way.
5. Getting involved (but not too much)
Odds are likely that your child participates in at least one other activity outside of school. Knowing the coaches, tutors, and group leaders is good, but we've all heard about the dreaded helicopter parent. Micro-managing these interactions, or even re-living your dreams through your child's activities (think hardcore sports parents) might be going a bit too far. Instead, trust in the other adults and use the extra time to focus on your own goals.