The definition of a ‘healthy lifestyle’ probably has different meanings for everyone, but generally speaking, regular exercise and a well-balanced diet feature heavily. While we already know that poor lifestyle choices lead to physical and mental health issues, it can actually also have a knock-on effect on a child’s learning. No matter how outstanding the school and teachers are, if your child isn’t getting the right type of nutrients in their diet or exercising regularly, their academic performance will likely suffer. I have teamed up with a sixth form college in London to explore this further.
When your kids are little, they are naturally more physically active as they have shorter attention spans and need to be running around and keeping themselves entertained in a variety of different ways. However, when they get older and get their hands on a smart phone and other digital devices, they start to become more sedentary. This is perfectly normal and nothing to worry about, but it’s important to set some boundaries early on so that your child knows they shouldn’t spend too long sat in one place, doing one thing.
Perhaps you can try and encourage them to join an extra-curricular activity of some sort, such as football or drama club. This will help them get more exercise and will also allow them to make new friends and challenge themselves in different ways, enriching their learning experience.
Your child’s diet is another important factor to consider. Processed foods and unhealthy snacks are loaded with sugar, which will give your child a temporary boost but will eventually lead to a ‘crash’, which manifests as irritability, fatigue, and an inability to focus. Instead of chocolate and crisps, encourage your child to snack on things like unsalted nuts, fruit, carrot sticks or even lightly salted popcorn. Dehydration can lead to the same sort of lethargy and lack of concentration as sugary foods, so make sure your child drinks lots of water throughout the day.
Finally, make sure your child has a reasonable bedtime so that they are getting enough rest. Aim for 8-9 hours and you will notice that they are far more alert and responsive the following day.
This is a guest post