Friday, May 24, 2013

7 Personality Traits for Healthy Kids

There are many traits that make-up a healthy-minded person. Developing these traits (I call attitude) as kids contribute to a well-adjusted, long-living, healthy adult as much as diet, exercise and sleepthe remaining roots of health. Parents who nurture their children with these in mind will launch a healthier person into adulthood. This is one of our most important jobs as parents.

Let's look as these traits and how parents can help their children cultivate them.

1. Social Connection
We're not talking Facebook type of social, but real honest relationships. The type you can count on when others may not want to get involved. Friends that will stand-up for you. Tell you when you're doing something unhealthy, like smoking.

Studies have shown that people with close friends are less likely to get sick and recover from illness or surgery faster.

Cultivating: Set-up play dates when your children are young. Encourage older kids to develop relationships with others. Let them call friends and arrange get togethers. Send them outside to play in the neighborhood with other kids. Allow your kids to fail in their relationships so they can learn.

2. Mindfulness
Being thoughtful, disciplined and conscientious covers a lot in life. People who live life with a determination and drive, exercising common sense, will do well and likely make good choices that lead to healthy habits.

Cultivating: This may be harder to cultivate unless being organized and planful already comes naturally. Help your kids plan out their week. Encourage them to think about why they might make a certain choice over another. Guide them in setting goals, then help them take the steps to achieve them. Start young with a simple task such as putting toys away when done playing and establish consequences when they don't.

3. Worry-Free
We're talking about being worry-free not being care-free. Worrying about stuff you can't control or getting emotional about things taken personally can be detrimental to relationships and health.

Cultivating: Don't sweat the small stuff. If your nature is not to worry, chances are your children will not either. Help your kids determine what's important and encourage them to let go of things they can't control while being mindful to provide emotional support if necessary.

4. Optimism
Positive thinking is an age-old key to getting the best results. It is certainly the antithesis of worry. Even when life throws a bad deal your way, optimism will get you through because optimists are fighters and less affected by stress.

Cultivating: Help your kids see the bright side of a bad situation. Walk them through an example of something they view as "awful" so they can see, "That wasn't so bad, was it?"

5. Laughter
Laughter is good medicine. Some have claimed they laughed themselves to better health. We've all felt the effect of a good belly laugh when stomach and face muscles may hurt from the "exercise."

Cultivating: Watch funny movies with your kids. Some humor, even in kid's movies, may be over their head, but your laughter can be infectious and they may join in. Don't take yourself so seriously and neither will your kids. Kids like to be sillyjoin them in being silly.

6. Joyfulness
Although happy people are great to be around, there is something deeper in having joy. Whereas happiness can be event driven and thus external, joy comes from within and exhibits a contentment that can be shown even when there may not be happiness.

Cultivating: Children are naturally joyful. It comes from their spirit. As a parent it's important to keep that joy alive. Help them see the good in people and things to nurture that contentment.

7. Self-Confidence
Being self confident helps us develop a comfort when we're out among people we may not know well. Most people are not naturally comfortable in a room of strangers, but even an introvert can learn to take steps to "break the ice."

Cultivating: Help your children feel comfortable in a group of kids or adults they may not know. Teach them social gracesthe basics, like please and thank you, plus how to introduce themselves. Teach them the art of conversation. Give them questions they can use to begin a dialogue.

Check out the time-honored book by Dale Carnegie, How to Win Friends and Influence People, to learn more ways to build these traits.

Your turn. Tell us a story where you cultivated a healthy personality trait in your kids. Or perhaps they did for you.


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