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    Giving Your Kids Whole-Person Health

    As I blogged about last week, the secret to healthy kids can be found through a whole-person approach. I call this helping a child SOAR. As parents, we must strive to allow our children to grow up in an environment where they are:

    Supported – provided intentional guidance, direction, and nurturing

    Optimistic — assured of a bright hope and future ahead for them as they grow

    Active and Achieving — finding success in their personal and family endeavors and in active, energetic pursuits

    Responsible — understanding and accepting their own part in healthy living and choices

    You became a parent out of a desire to love and nurture another special human being, your child, hopfeul that you would find the encouragement, strength, and support you needed along the way. Nothing has changed! Allow your ongoing love for your child and desire for his or her well-being to motivate you to do your very best to provide for these needs.

    EMOTIONALLY

    As you assist your child in attaining physical goals, you must determine where your child is emotionally. In our culture, adults use food as a way to deal with the stresses and uncertainties of life. Our kids may do the same, since they can be as caught up in this fast-paced, stressful life as we are. Food can become pleasure, reward, companion, rebellion, or sheer comfort. You need to understand what your child needs emotionally and how he or she may be turning to food to obtain it. Your child’s needs are not wrong, but if food has become his or her primary source of meeting those needs, you must intervene as a parent. You can intentionally provide for those needs in non-food ways and return food to its proper place as nutrition for growing, active children. You may return food to being the ally, not the enemy, of your child today and for the future.

    RELATIONALLY

    Children need parents around them who believe in their child’s bright future, who sacrifice themselves for the child’s well-being. Children need adult examples of how to get along together, of what’s really important, of how to handle the inevitable setbacks in life, of integrating defeats and victories today into life tomorrow. Children need stability, love, and acceptance. As a parent, you are able to provide this vital foundation. A child who feels loved and accepted is less likely to turn to counterfeits for significance and more likely to find the courage to assimilate needed changes. Love and acceptance bring freedom to grow and to change.

    PHYSICALLY

    Running, jumping, nad playing are synonymous with childhood. Or are they? Have running, jumping, and playing been replaced by television, video games, and the computer in your child’s life? Sedentary lifestyales used to be only for tired, worn-out adults. More and more children, however, are succumbing to inactive, snack-driven habits. As parents, we have the imperative to restructure our children’s surroundings and activities to reflect a healthy balance of physical activity, exercise, and fun. Your child needs to be active, to use and stretch and grow that miraculous body given by God — for life. You can help your child integrate healthy eating and activities into his or her life right now and into adulthood.

    SPIRITUALLY

    Your child is a spiritual being, with an innate understanding of and faith in God. These attributes of childhood are precious and fragile. They can be damaged by the very people — parents — who desire them so desperately for their children. Undergirding a healthy, blanced life for every child is a firm foundation of knowing who he or she is to God. Parents have a special responsibility to teach and affirm this faith. Concepts of self-worth, true value, forgiveness, and acceptance cannot be adequately taught without a framework of spiritual instruction. Parents are permitted and expected by God to pass along God’s love to their children. Your child needs to learn faith from you and needs to see that faith expressed in your own life.

    SOURCE: Introduction to Healthy Habits, Healthy Kid: A Practical Plan to Help Your Family by Gregory L. Jantz, PhD., founder of The Center for Counseling and Health Resources Inc.

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