By Chris Marchioni, MD, Healthy Learning Paths, and parent
“Healthy Learning Paths makes me feel that I am not alone and other parents face some of the same challenges.”
Kids will be back to school soon. Some parents want their kids to make new friends, like their teacher, or even do better in math. But have you ever asked your child, “What is your goal this school year?” You may be surprised to learn what your child has to say.
All kids can set individual goals and parents can help kids learn this skill. The most important goals go beyond reading, writing and arithmetic. In fact, medical research shows your child’s health is the key to success in school. The health of the child ranks much higher than technology, school choice, or classroom size for educational success. So if you haven’t started yet, this is the perfect time to set a health goal or two with your child.
What is a health goal? It is a goal for mental, physical, or social emotional health of a child. Mental health is the health of the brain. The brain controls everything for the body, mind, emotions, and learning. Physical health is the health of the heart, muscles, bones, and other parts of the body. Social emotional health is how kids react to others and care about others. It is a very important part of health to be connected to and understand each other as humans.
Each year, we ask hundreds of parents what their health goals are for their children. Parents are encouraged to discuss goals with their children. We partner with parents to make a plan of action to achieve their goals. We love the honesty and genuine concern parents show when sharing these goals. Here are some health goals parents shared with Healthy Learning Paths last year. See what you think.
“I am worried about his emotional feelings and behavior.”
“Keep him away from the video games.”
“I would like JJ to drink more milk, stay healthy, get more sleep, and to laugh more. I love to see him happy. It’s good for the heart and soul.”
“I want my son to like more veggies and eat more fruit. Less time in front of the TV.”
“Better sleeping habits. Not so sick so often.”
“To have her learn to ride a bike. She has learned to use a scooter this year.”
“To exercise more and eat less sugar treats! To stop sucking her thumb.”
“Have regular bowel movements.”
“Stop eating bakery goods, soft drinks, fast food, fried things, and eat more healthy with fruits and vegetables.”
“I want her to eat a whole complete meal without complaining.”
“I would like for Liz to improve how well she washes her hands. I would like for her to improve the variety of vegetables she eats.”
“To keep him active, safe, and healthy.”
“To drink more water and to get through winter colds without lingering congestion.”
“My goal is to keep Leah active, healthy and happy.”
“I teach my daughter why it is always good to live with care.”
“To brush his teeth more and get him to drink more water and milk. He won’t.”
“Better sleep patterns.”
“Take more control and be more independent.”
“More activity, less screen time, and independent teeth brushing in the morning.”
“My goal is that my child is very healthy by having good physical and mental development.”
As one parent writes, “Healthy Learning Paths makes me feel that I am not alone and other parents face some of the same challenges.” How true. We share many of the same challenges when trying to do our best for kids. We are in this together and together, we can help and learn from each other.
Share your health goal for your child with us on facebook. We look forward to hearing from you.