Whole-person Wellness: It’s For Kids, Too!

Kids. We bring them home from the hospital with a packet of instructions that help parents learn how to take care of their new bundles of joy. From diapers to bottles to how to give that first bath, we have some pretty specific instructions that help us know how to take care of our kids during the first few days.

After they grow up a bit, we rely on annual checkups with their doctor to ensure they’re growing as they should and developing at the proper stages. And, while your child may be developmentally healthy physically, there’s more to their overall well-being than just physical health.

Kids are tricky little beings. They surprise us with the ways they act, think, and feel. But, if we give them the proper foundation for growth – in all forms – they will thrive!

Whole-person wellness for kids

“Whole-person wellness” is a pretty commonly used buzzword these days for taking a comprehensive look at your health – from physical developmental milestones to mental health wellbeing. It’s a term very widely used when we talk about adults.

However, the same standards apply to our kids. Whole-person wellness for them is essential, too!

Kids must be healthy across the board – from physical to mental well-being. Efforts to develop this comprehensive approach are sometimes overlooked because kids are generally healthy. They get to play most of the time; they are cared for by their parents or other caregivers; they don’t have the stress levels that adults do.

They have it made, right?

In theory. But, when we talk about their health and well-being, we must take intentional action to ensure they stay healthy and happy. Here are some ideas:

  • Ensure your child’s basic needs are met: While this may seem obvious, it’s also the most important part of giving your child a foundation for whole-person wellness. Kids need stable housing, adequate food and clothing, and a feeling of being cared for. Basic, but essential.
  • Model healthy habits: Parents and other caring adults should model habits that encourage eating nutritious foods, getting proper sleep, and engaging in physical activity. Establishing a relationship with quality health providers is key.
  • Take care of physical health: Take your child to the doctor when physical health symptoms are concerning or persist. Visit your primary practitioner for annual checkups. Consult a nurse if you have questions about your child’s immunizations or other health concerns.
  • Create a safe space: Kids must feel safe to be fully healthy. Develop an environment where your children feel safe in their home, neighborhood, and school.
  • Support opportunities for learning and growth: Kids thrive on access to opportunities to learn and expand their knowledge. Allow your kids to learn outside the classroom and teach them about the world around them. Encourage visits to libraries, camps, museums, cultural events, etc. Support your child’s teachers and emphasize the importance of education.
  • Encourage healthy relationships: Kids benefit from strong parent/child relationships and extended family support. Additionally, kids build confidence and positive self-esteem from friendships and social experiences with sports teams, clubs, and other kid-friendly organizations and activities. Give your child opportunities to make these connections.
  • Get familiar with nature: Fresh air and nature are good for all of us. Kids find freedom outside, along with learning to enjoy activity and exercise.
  • Have healthy conversations: Lead by example and engage in healthy conversations with your kids. Encourage them to express themselves and give them the confidence that what they say matters. Talk about their feelings, dreams, and thoughts. Teaching kids early on to talk about what’s on their minds opens up opportunities for better communication as they get older.

Will these actions be the surefire key to happiness and health for your child? No. There’s a lot more to raising a kid! But will these steps start you down the path to encouraging whole-person wellness for your child? Absolutely!