A healthy lifestyle is a happy lifestyle! | International School of Oradea

This ½ term’s topic is a brief look at healthy living.

This is a broad and complex area of education and one that we feel the children need to be as aware of as the traditional areas, such as reading, writing and Maths. 

For this reason, since September we have explored are range of topic areas in our Personal, Social, Health and Economic education (PSHE) lessons.

These include:

  • feelings
  • oral health
  • bullying

Our Primary Physical Education (P.E.) lessons, have included challenging our fitness levels by completing drills and trying to beat our personal scores.

The topic areas that we will explore in this edition are:

  • food
  • sleep
  • mental health
  • exercise

Food

It can be hard to encourage your children to eat healthily, especially when our lives are often so busy and marketing can be more persuasive towards less healthy options.

 

At ISO, we believe that our role is not to only support academic development, but that of the whole child and for this reason we include healthy living in the curriculum and praise children for making healthy choices, even if that is trying a little of a new food or something that they have not enjoyed previously. Our compromise with the children is “1 spoon for each year”, for example a child of 5 is encouraged to eat at least 5 spoons. Alongside this we talk about the importance of eating an appropriate amount of food and often relate it to the child’s future desires so that they have a meaningful context.

Choosing what to buy for school lunches can also be very difficult. Shopping with your children and allowing them to make guided choices can help them to make lifelong choices about their health and wellbeing. Allowing them to prepare the food gives them ownership and helps them to learn essential lifelong skills.

Here are 2 links that may help you and your family to make school lunch preparation easier and enjoyable.

https://www.nhs.uk/change4life/recipes/healthier-lunchboxes#lunchbox-tips
https://www.nhs.uk/change4life/recipes/healthier-lunchboxes

At home, it can be difficult to create a diverse menu for the whole family that includes dietary and health needs, especially with limited time after school. Here are some things for you to think about:

  • Did you know that the wider range of colourful vegetables in your meal the more likely it is to cover your 7-a-day?
  • Who cooks in your house?
  • Does your child help?
  • Can you make family cooking part of your weekly routine?

Here are some recipe ideas that may help:

https://greatist.com/health/52-healthy-meals-12-minutes-or-less
https://www.bbcgoodfood.com/recipes/collection/7-day
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ke3SAwLxiH0

Sleep

Every child is different, but some things remain the same for all. For children to grow and thrive physically, mentally and academically they need to have a balanced routine that includes enough sleep. For this a safe, positive and appropriate environment for sleep is essential.

A few ways to achieve this include:

  • supporting children to understand the importance and impact of sleep on their body
  • praise them for following the agreed schedule and bedtime routine
  • as space allows, children to have their own room and not to be sharing with their parents
  • make their bedroom a calm, relaxing place, that is dark, an appropriate temperature and quiet
  • televisions and digital devices to be in a different room

Early Years (3 – 5 years old)

Early years children typically sleep between 11-13 hours each night and most do not nap after 5 years old. As with younger children, difficulty falling asleep and waking up during the night are common. In addition, this is an age at which children develop their imagination, and this can be a reason they can commonly experience nightmares, sleepwalking and sleep terrors.

Sleep tips for Early Years children

  • Have a regular and consistent sleep schedule.
  • Have a relaxing bedtime routine that ends in the room where the child sleeps.
  • Child should sleep in the same sleeping environment every night, in a room that is cool, quiet and dark, without a TV.

Primary (5 – 11 years old)

Children aged five to eleven need 9-11 hours of sleep. However, there can be more demands on their time as they will begin to receive homework tasks, may be interested in participating in sports and other extracurricular and are usually keen to attend social activities. In addition, at this age children tend to become more interested in watching TV, playing on technological devices, social media and the internet. They also can start to express a curiosity about caffeine products. These are all stimulants that can lead to difficulty falling asleep, nightmares and disruption to their sleep. Research has shown that when children watch TV close to bedtime this can influence the resistance to go to bed, difficulty to fall asleep, worry about sleeping and not sleeping enough.

For further information a website that you may want to look at is:
https://www.sleepfoundation.org/sleep-topics/children-and-sleep/page/0/2

Sleep problems and disorders can develop at this age and poor or inadequate sleep can lead to mood swings, behavioural problems such as ADHD and cognitive problems that impact on their ability to learn in school. If you would like to read more about this, here are some links:
https://www.sleepfoundation.org/sleep-topics/children-and-sleep
https://www.parents.com/health/healthy-happy-kids/the-7-reasons-your-kid-needs-sleep/
https://kidshealth.org/en/kids/not-tired.html

The key to sleep is both you and your child understanding why it is important. To help with this, you may want to look at this website: http://www.sleepforkids.org/

Mental Health

The idea of maintaining your mental health is currently a very popular area of discussion and now more widely recognised as vital area of health care. Moreover, supporting children to understand the need for a good state of mental health has been proven to help them to be successful in life.

We live in an age where technology has become more dominant and the pace of life has gained speed. Whilst both of these provided many benefits, it means that that something else had been lost and one of the skills and activities is conversation. Talking to your child regularly helps them to feel safe and let’s them know that they will be listened to should they have any worries. In our PSHE lessons, we talk to the children about sharing their feelings in the right way, e.g. finding someone to talk to (preferably an adult), telling someone (politely) that they do not like what is happening, how to identify bullying and how to deal with it.

Through our behaviour policy, we promote positive behaviour and foster increased self-esteem, which are skills that children will take forward to prevent mental health difficulties in the future.

In addition, we explore different methods of relaxation and stress relief, these include guided meditation, reading, colouring and exercise, to name a few. Spending some quiet time with your child regularly, doing this type of activity will give you the time to listen to them and observe if there are any changes to their mood or attitude.

For further information you may want to look at these sites:
https://www.netdoctor.co.uk/healthy-living/mental-health/a27640/support-child-mental-health/
https://www.place2be.org.uk/what-we-do/parent-carer-resources/supporting-your-childs-mental-health.aspx

Exercise

Globally research is finding that an increasing number of children participate in a reduced amount of exercise, are obese and have poor motor and social skills, than fifty years ago. Yet exercise is as important now as it ever has been.

One of the definitions of exercise in the English Oxford dictionaries is noun

Therefore, when children play games outside where they are running and jumping this contributes to the amount of exercise they should be having. The recommendation for children is for them to have at least 60 minutes of exercise every day and that this should be in a range of forms.

For children to achieve good development and growth, during a week they should engage in both moderate and vigorous activities, as well as the 3 types of exercise:

  • aerobic (raises the heart rate)
  • bone strengthening
  • muscle strengthening

Moderate activities include:

  • walking
  • playing in the playground
  • cycling in a flat area

Vigorous activities include:

  • swimming
  • gymnastics
  • face paced dancing

Bone strengthening activities include:

  • martial arts
  • basketball
  • skipping

Muscle strengthening activities include:

  • climbing trees, climbing walls and swinging play equipment
  • tennis
  • rugby

This list only has a few examples, but there are many more options.

In addition to physical activities developing physical wellbeing, they also give children the opportunities to socialise in other groups.

For more information, you may want to look at the information on these websites:
https://kidshealth.org/en/parents/exercise.html
https://www.nhs.uk/live-well/healthy-weight/overweight-children-2-5/
https://www.nhs.uk/live-well/exercise/physical-activity-guidelines-children-and-young-people/

Looking after yourself and being a role model for your child has a great impact. Overall, routine is key to a healthy lifestyle.

Sleep plenty. Think positively. Eat healthily. Be happy!

Please email Ms Ebony at [email protected] if you have any ideas to share with the ISO community related to healthy living and we will include them in the next edition. Please say if you would like your suggestions published named or anonymously.