When we start our days – often we bid our loved ones goodbye with “have a good day”, but what exactly does that mean? When I ask my kids, “How was your day”, I usually get an “OK”, or a “Fine”, but I can tell they are distracted by their thoughts or they really did not give their answer a lot of thought. Knowing that no one can control another person’s feelings or memories, as parents it is important that we teach our children to manage their own emotions via five tried and true strategies to help our children have a really good day.
1/ Get a good night’s sleep. That way the children wake up feeling fresh and energized. Sleep at least 8 hours a night. Lack of sleep can negatively influence the children’s concentration, energy, and enhance that groggy feeling during daytime hours which can negatively affect grades and peer relationships. It’s easier to go to sleep early than wake up early, so try setting your alarm for bedtime and for wakeup time.
2/ Promote good hygiene. Have the children start the day with a warm shower, and try putting their clothes in the dryer in the morning for a few minutes so they will be warm too (especially on winter days). Teach the children proper hand washing techniques, how to sneeze or cough into a “germ pocket” (crook of the elbow) rather than their hands, and tech them not to share personal items like toothbrushes, hairbrushes, and (for older girls) makeup.
3/ Eat breakfast. You have heard this before, but breakfast is the most important meal of the day- having a great breakfast means loads of energy and your children’s’ brains will function better. Remember to keep processed sugary cereals, to a minimum – choose whole grains and fresh fruit instead. Eating healthful meals and snacks throughout the day help promote good health and good moods too.
4/ Exercise. Yoga is a good form of relaxation, meditation and exercise. But any form of exercise, including walking is terrific – be sure to help your children exercise every day: take them to a local park, do an active videogame that involves sports or dancing, or sign them up for a participatory sport. The benefits of exercise are both immediate and lifelong.
5/ Smile and be kind. By teaching your children to lend a helping hand to friends, by perhaps lending them a pen or pencil, sharing a (clean) joke, or letting someone else go first during a game, can really help those around you, because if you display a sunny disposition, the people around you will feel good too, and it is hard to be sad when everyone around you is genuinely happy and helpful.
So if your children have a great day, parents do too! So go ahead, “have a great day”, today and every day!