Teaching Kids Life Balance

by Allison McDonald | September 18, 2012 at 3:05 pm | comments

As summer winds down and the new school year starts up many parents are looking for help establishing routines, getting back into the groove and restoring balance to their home. None of this is easy. In my experience, teaching children anything requires many things, but the most important is to lead by example.

Teaching children, whether they are toddlers or teenagers, about why balance in our lives is so important isn’t something you can watch on YouTube and then teach them after dinner. It takes time. I am going to be honest, there are a lot of things I am good at, but balance isn’t one of them. I am an all or nothing type girl, but as a mom I know I need to try harder for my kids. Here are some great ways to show your kids how to find balance.

TV and Activities

The TV isn’t always on at our house. We explore outside, play in the playroom or read and then after we can watch a show or two. I don’t argue about it with my kids – instead I tell them, “We can watch TV after we give our brains a workout, or after we get our heart pumping.” It doesn’t take long for them to understand the balance between activity and being an inactive audience.  A wonderful way to make this more enticing  if your family has fallen into the routine of too much TV, is to buy new (or new to you) sporting equipment for your yard. It can be as simple as a new ball to play catch with. For our family, it’s a soccer net that is used pretty much every day by our whole family.

Exercise and Sleep

Work out in front of your kids. Tell them about your run or swim, get them involved even if you aren’t doing the activity together. My son keeps track of how fast I run, celebrating with me when I break my own record. That in turn inspires him to race me, and we end up working out together naturally. Talk about how it’s great for your body to sweat, but that it also needs time to rest for your muscles to rebuild. Have a predictable bedtime routine and stick to it. We sometimes refer to bedtime as time to recharge our batteries because so often kids see it as a banishment. When kids imagine it as a recharge they can see the balance between activity and rest.

Food

We have probably all been guilty of demonizing food at some point, but after having kids I realized that calling one food bad or another good wasn’t teaching them anything about balancing their energy or teaching them to listen to their body’s cues for hunger. Consider placing a snack basket in your pantry or drawer in your fridge filled with nutritious foods. That way kids can get snacks when they are hungry, which helps them listen to their bodies and will help them know when they aren’t hungry too.

Finally, remember to talk and be honest with your kids. Balance is not always easy to achieve, so share your successes and challenges with them. It will make you all stronger when you work together towards the goal. How do you achieve balance in your family life?

Allison has been teaching various audiences since 1993. After having her first son she decided to share her love of teaching through the world of blogging and started the site No Time for Flash Cards. Her site is meant to inspire parents with creative ideas to bring the classroom into their own home.