Teaching life skills such as health, nutrition, and first-aid may seem unnecessary to some. In fact, many of us considered the mandatory health class in high school quite annoying. However, our family includes these and more in our homeschool lessons.
Actually, our children begin these life skills prior to most organized schooling. Many of you may also be teaching health and nutrition from an early age.
Life Skills to Toddlers
Very young children learn to eat foods that we provide. Serve chicken nuggets with fries, and they learn to enjoy these fast foods. However, if we provide an array of vegetables and fruit, prepared and served in a healthy combination, our children learn to enjoy these.
Many times parents have commented to me that they wished their children would eat vegetables like mine do. I explain that they will eat them, once they learn to enjoy them. Sugary foods laden with processed ingredients will tempt those who are accustomed to their tastes. Likewise, people will learn to love broccoli and brussel sprouts if that is what they are accustomed to.
As children grow we encourage their nutrition knowledge. Talk about the foods they are eating. Explain why you avoid certain foods. Discuss food fads.
Tie Into Health
Discussing food usually leads to discussing health. Explain how eating nutritious foods and avoiding “junk” food allows the body to grow and function properly. For young children, the conversation remains basic. However, over time, find ways to educate your children on health and nutrition beyond the basics.
Sometimes a website or book may be useful. Our family likes drfuhrman.com and drmcdougall.com. Both of these sites are family friendly and explain plant-based eating and the correlation with health. Old nutrition textbooks contain some useful information, too, but may have misinformation, especially with regard to meat, eggs, and dairy.
By the time your children are teens, they should have a solid understanding of nutrition and its relationship to health. As you prepare meals together, discuss the various foods and how they benefit health and growth. We also discuss foods that are not beneficial, to give a balanced approach to the subject.
First-aid and Emergencies
Most children will experience bumps and bruises as they grow. Often parents treat and bandage, then send the child off to play again.
However, even young children can learn basic first-aid as they go through these life experiences. Explain what type of wound it is, why you treat it as you do, and how to manage the care. Involve your child in his or her own treatment. And, if a sibling is injured, let everyone take part in that learning experience, too. We also discuss how to avoid problems.
But of course, first-aid goes well beyond the need for cleaning a wound and applying a bandage. Even young children can learn basic CPR, wound management, and other first-aid measures. Reading and understanding helps, but active learning with living examples will result in long-term knowledge.
Several organizations, including the Red Cross, offer first-aid training for teens. Some churches do, too. This encourages teens to learn beyond their basics.
All first-aid training, at home or in a class, will help prepare your children for life’s emergencies. It also provides a better understanding of overall health issues.
Focus: Health, Nutrition, First-Aid Life Skills
Taking care of our bodies as the temple of God begins before birth and continues throughout our lives. Teaching our children these skills enables them to begin a healthy start early in life. A healthy lifestyle that begins early will serve them well.
”Don’t you realize that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit, who lives in you and was given to you by God? You do not belong to yourself, for God bought you with a high price. So you must honor God with your body,” I Corinthians 6:19, 20.