The pandemic has helped us learn at least two vital messages very well.
We all learned not to take anything in life for granted. Not family gatherings, events, our daily schedules, hugs – or even our own breath. We’ve learned to appreciate everything more, as we now have seen that it can all be taken away – and quickly.
Another vital message we have learned is how important it is to strengthen our immune systems. When young people are given the chance to joyfully learn the skills needed to keep the immune system strong from a very early age, we are doing what is within our power to help them lead healthy, happy, and long lives.
It helps to let children know that our bodies were designed to move. Being sedentary is not beneficial for our health. In fact, our lymphatic system is stimulated by our movement, and we need our lymphatic system to circulate within our bodies to help fight off germs.
It is also helpful to educate children about how the more processed food is, the more it has been depleted of its natural fiber, water, and nutrients. Whole natural foods were designed to be delicious and nutritious, while over-processed food is designed to delicious and addictive. The processed food causes inflammation in our blood vessels because it actually causes the drawing out of nutrients from our bodies in order for the unnatural food to be digested. This leads to health problems over time.
The body is better equipped to have the strength and energy to fight off germs when it is provided with an adequate amount of sleep. Getting enough sleep is a mood booster too.
Brushing teeth and washing hands with soap is vital – even when it doesn’t appear that way to children – and that’s because germs are so tiny that they can’t be seem with our eyes.
Too much stress also weakens the ability of the immune system to fight off germs. That’s why learning calming skills, reframing, and gratitude exercises in childhood is extremely beneficial.
What we teach young children sinks in and makes an impression that lasts. The earlier children can internalize the physical and spiritual nourishment they need to thrive throughout life, the better.
It takes about 400 repetitions to form new synapses in the brain that create new habit patterns. It takes only 10-20 repetitions to create new and good habits when done playfully, however, according to research conducted by Dr. Karyn Purvis. So what’s the quickest way to make positive changes? Joyfully!
My newest book for young children joyfully explains why it is important to eat food that is both delicious and nutritious – instead of those that are chemically manipulated to be delicious and addictive. An orange was designed with infinite intelligence and beneficence, while an orange-flavored Tangy Taffy really provides nothing good for us besides the immediate sensation. This new book also makes clear why exercise, basic hygiene, and getting enough sleep all help us to stay healthy too – through simple language and illustrations that young children can cheerfully digest.
Bracha Goetz is a Harvard-educated wellness expert and the author of 40 books that help children’s souls shine, including her newest picture book, Let’s Stay Healthy, available here: www.goetzbookshop.com.