When you think about health, you probably envision someone lifting weights or jogging. However, there is much more to it than that. As a caregiver of any kind, you are responsible for someone else’s health, and as a nanny you are partially responsible for teaching the children you watch how to be healthy in the future. Here are some core areas to focus on:
What you eat, when you eat and how much you eat are all crucial factors of physical health. We all know the basics of sound nutrition, yet many don’t follow them. This goes the same for exercise. We must move, stretch and exert ourselves to stay healthy. Be sure to provide a balanced diet that includes all of the major food groups such as whole grains, fruits, vegetables and low-fat dairy. Then, take the kids out to play at the park, take a walk or do anything to get moving.
Don’t forget the little things like putting on sunscreen and wearing eye-protecting sunglasses in the summer and layering clothing in the winter. Also, be sure to care for your teeth, hair and nails. Never portray healthy choices as burdens, but as a wise and joyful part of life.
Show your charges how to get along with and care about others. Get them involved with books and activities that elicit healthy thoughts and emotions. Be there to understand when they are emotionally hurt and to share in their many joys. Monitor their friendships, and help them see the value of choosing wisely. Model how to communicate with others when there are problems and how to be caring, loving and accepting. We all want peace, love and kindness, so model those attributes for them.
Saving the rain forests may certainly be noble and necessary, but a healthy environment begins in the home. From the cleaners you choose to the recycling efforts you make to your concern for a beautiful and a pleasant surrounding, much of how the young ones think about the environment depends on you. Get them involved with recycling and reusing items at home, and talk about how they can make a greater impact to preserve the environment.
It is good to have money, but don’t let it run your whole life. The children will watch your spending and will catch your attitude toward finances. Even when money is not an issue, it is still never a good idea to waste money. Show them how to shop, how to balance quality and price and what to look for when making a purchase. For example, rather than buying a new pair of sunglasses when a lens is scratched or broken, show them that getting a replacement lens is an alternative. This will teach them how to save money, be resourceful and fix items that can be fixed.
Those appointed to your care are the most important people in the world. Don’t take your role for granted and be sure to teach the next generation wisely.