Homeschooling can definitely improve children's health. They often get more sleep, more active play, healthier food, and are exposed to far fewer germs. I also think homeschooling can be great for your health as a parent. Much of that comes from the flexibility homeschooling gives you to craft the lifestyle you want. Here are some ideas to make the most of that flexibility and boost your own health.
I think many moms, if home alone, will just scrounge and find whatever is easy to eat for a meal. Ever eaten a bowl of chips and called it good? But when you're with your kids all day, you're more likely to be more intentional about food for their sake. If you're preparing them a healthy lunch each day (or providing ingredients for them to make it on their own), chances are you'll eat a real lunch, too. And with your children watching, you're more likely to choose an apple with peanut butter for your afternoon snack instead of that candy bar.
We know that homeschooled children get significantly more sleep on average than their public school peers. This helps them face the day's academic and emotional challenges.
But it's not just children who need sleep. The fact that they're getting good sleep helps you get good sleep, too! You don't have to get up early to pack lunches and get groggy kids to the school bus. You don't have to stay up late with them working through frustrating homework assignments. Instead, you can find the amount of sleep that is ideal for you and then try to guard that. You'll be better able to serve your family throughout the day if you give your body the rest it needs.
Your Own Healthy Schedule
It's true that homeschooling adds a layer of stress to your life. But you also get to skip many other stressors you'd face if you put them in school. So since you have the freedom, find a schedule that works for you.
- Do you need to add a morning walk or afternoon run with your kids?
- Or institute a post-lunch nap/quiet hour?
- Would it help if you started your days later or earlier?
- What if you switched around the order in which you tackled each academic subject?
As with everything in homeschooling, figure out a schedule that works for you and go with it. Less stress usually equals more health.
Lower Germ Exposure
Chances are your children will get sick less often at home than if they were in school. And that probably means you'll get sick less often as well. Fortify that benefit by some simple steps when you do go into a germ-laden area. When you get home from the library or playground, for example, simply have everyone wash his or her hands. Eating healthy and staying hydrated can also boost your immunity.
More Time Outside
Don't have time for regular workouts right now? Try to find ways to stay active alongside your kids during the day. Lots of moms will enjoy an riding bikes with their children, jumping on the trampoline, or playing a game of kickball. If the weather is lousy, put on some music and have a dance party instead. Check out Homeschool Family Fitness for more ideas. And don't forget to count it all as Physical Education!
You give so much time and energy to your children as you help them be healthy in every sense of the word. As you serve them, I'd encourage you to pay attention to your own health as well. Do any of the ideas above resonate with you? Is there one small change you could make to further enjoy the health benefits of homeschooling?
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