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Developing the Whole Child

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As your children grow up, they will start to become independent and venture out into the world. The experiences from their journeys will shape them into the adults who will lead the future. While they are still developing, it is crucial for parents to help children strengthen the skills needed to become well-rounded and successful adults by developing the whole child beyond academics.

 Physical Development

Exercise isn’t just for the body; it is for the mind as well. Fueled by the plethora of indoor entertainment available today, many children lead more sedentary lifestyles than children of the past. This reality requires parents to take an initiative of their own to ensure that their children exercise regularly and eat a proper diet. Children who are physically active and eat balanced meals are reported to be better behaved, accumulate fewer absences from school and have an easier time maintaining focus in the classroom.

A Harvard study proved that 30 minutes of aerobic activity each day has a positive effect on the health of our children. Don’t feel that you have to become a gym teacher overnight. Instead, try a simple game of hide-and-seek outside every weekend to slowly build your children’s strength and endurance. A neighborhood capture-the-flag game each Saturday is another fun way to get your children motivated to move. When you use play time to develop healthy habits, the extra physical activity won’t feel like a burden but will be a cherished time of family togetherness.

Social Development

The word society originates from the word socius, which means companion. At a very basic level, our society is dependent on maintaining relationships for successful and fulfilling lives. Be it with teachers or classmates, it is important that children learn to establish close relationships so that they can work well, share confidently and become more self-aware.

School is a buzzing hive of social hierarchies. While boys and girls are exploring who they are, they are also looking for acceptance and role models. Without open communication between parents and children, it can be easy for children to develop negative behaviors. Share your own experiences in school; let your children know that they are not alone. Explain that the character of a person matters more than the quality of his or her clothing or how high he or she sits on the “coolness” chart. Place an importance on manners and empathy in your household. Learning these skills early in life will take your children far past the schoolyard and well into the world outside with social graces that are admired and respected.

Children need more than just solid arithmetic or reading comprehension skills to succeed in this world. Learning how to take care of their bodies and to interact positively with others will help them truly thrive. With a little practice and a lot of determination, any child has what it takes to reach his or her full potential.

Thanks to Kumon for providing the guest article. You can find out more about them on Facebook or Twitter.

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