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Developing Healthy Habits in children

We're already near the end of January which is unusual because this January is (Januarying) faster than any other January! Before you know it, exams are on the doorsteps and another school term ends. According to Aristotle, We are what we repeatedly do," as such, the constant repetition of our actions slowly shapes our character and who we are. Therefore, it is important that healthy habits are cultivated now so that it can be practiced throughout the term and during the intense exam season. Consistency is as important as the act itself in healthy habit formation. Here are 5 healthy habits you can use to help your child develop and be consistent with so they can cope with virtual learning and their studies in a healthy and positive manner.

  1. Cultivate Journaling

Journaling is a powerful coping tool that can empower children to manage their emotions and stress. Your child can gain numerous benefits from journaling. These include stress reduction, improved memory, stimulation of their creativity, build empathy and understanding, assist with setting and achieving goals, strengthen their writing and communication skills, increase their gratitude and self-awareness. Growing up I had a diary that I used to write my thoughts, it was like my special book with a lock. When I got older, I began writing my thoughts on pieces of paper and threw them away when I was done releasing them to avoid a breach of confidentiality. I can confirm now that having a specific book dedicated to writing helps so that one can reflect and recognize growth. It's important to respect your child's special book so that they can feel comfortable writing their deepest truths and feelings. There is no special way to journaling really, it's mainly about writing the thoughts that come to mind. There is journal writing prompts that are questions that can guide your child on what to write about. Here is a FREE list of journal writing prompts that your child can use while journaling to cope with changes to their learning conditions and preparation for exams

2. Setting and Maintaining Routines

As some of the hassles of waking up early, preparing and getting ready to travel to attend school are reduced and removed, now students can wake up minutes before the start of their class, eat at any time and go to bed any hour. This affects their sleep cycle, eating habits and productivity. Routines help your child to be more productive, helps them remember important tasks, builds their confidence and interdependence. Knowing what to expect throughout the day can give students the ability to attempt those activities as opposed to gravitating to activities that quickly come to mind including playing games, watching television or Youtube. These activities are not bad, however, consumption of an excessive amount is unhealthy. Remember moderation is key. A great way to allow your child to use and stick with their schedule is creating the schedule with them so that they can feel comfortable with the activities and time allocations. Don't forget to schedule some time for your child to be spontaneous and creative so they can do fun activities they enjoy.

3. Regular De-stressors

Similarly to scheduling the mandatory time for homework and learning, there must also be mandatory time scheduled for your child to rest and de-stress. It is essential to encourage your child to engage in activities that help them reduce stress to avoid overwhelm and burnout from the stresses of school, studies and exam preparation. These activities can be drawing, coloring, painting, karaoke, board games, puzzle, playing with puppets, deep breathing, mindfulness exercises and so much more. This balance ensures that your child maintains a healthy emotional, mental and physical wellbeing which positively impacts their memory, focus, attention span, critical and creative thinking. Ensure your child regularly De-stress for their Success!

4. Reduction in Screen Time

Encourage your child to fuel their creativity by thinking of ways they can have fun and entertain themselves without using any screens including a computer, laptop, tablet, phone or television. This can be a weekly activity where they can decide on the various crafts and resources they need to engage in none screen-related activities. You will be surprised of their level of innovation during these times. Before bedtime, it is recommended that screentime is cut off at least 1 hour to improve the quality of sleep and allow your child to fall asleep quickly according to

Upon waking in the morning, get your child in the habit of praying, journaling and other vital activities so that they are not prone to indulging in screen time as soon as they open their eyes.

5. Balance Nutrition

Develop systems with your child to help them stay hydrated and eat healthily. A system can be involving them in the process of meal planning whether it is the night before or on the weekend. Use a food/nutrition wheel so they are aware of all the necessary foods and quantities they are to consume daily. Fill water bottles and have them ready for your child to use throughout the day as well. Avoid processed and fast food as you want your child to consume real food that provides them with the vitamins and nutrients necessary to be and perform their best. A great way to help them build their consistency with water consumption and eating on time is using alarms, a Google Home system or Amazon Alexa. Get your child into the habit of eating healthy snacks like fruits and nuts that will boost their energy and memory. This system is one to be implemented gradually so your child can adjust to the changes they may experience. Here is an article that can help you with the quantity of food from each group for your child depending on their age.

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