This winter, I ran my first 10 km at the Airtel Run for Education, Kolkata chapter. It was quite an eye opening experience for me. That’s because both my husband and I struggled to cross the finishing line. I realized that we had been taking our health for granted for way too long. After the run, both of us decided to spare atleast 30 minutes every day for our physical fitness. This commitment had a few ramifications. First, my husband had to wake up atleast 30 minutes early in the mornings before he would get busy with getting Nik ready for school. Second, he became more conscious of his eating habits and skipped quite a few calories’ on a daily basis. The third one was that when we ran our second 10 kms at the Tata Steel 25k Run 20 days later, both of us reduced our time by over 10 minutes.
It was a real treat to go and present the finisher medals to our son, who was thrilled with the idea of his parents’ running that far and winning a medal. I felt so proud of setting such a great example for my son. As we zoom into 2018, I ponder upon what are the other habits that I want to pass on to my kids by setting appropriate examples. Here, I present my list of 5 habits that I wish to gift my kids this year.
Our household is one where the working members return home only by late night and it is almost midnight before we can retire to sleep. (Ofcourse the kids go to sleep before that) Thus, getting up early is a high ask. Yet I have often observed that the days I wake up earlier than y usual time determined to get some extra work done, turn out to be most productive days. It’s not just about the quietness when you can complete tasks with no distractions, there something magical about hustling into the day and realizing how much more I got accomplished when I retire to my bed at night.
There are some days when I find time to go out for a walk after my boys are off to sleep in the late hours of evening. On other days, I run after Nik while he is on his bicycle or his skate scooter. On some days, I just run around and play with my kids with the ball or without one in our porch. These are the days when I get the best sleep. A parenting consultant at my son’s school once mentioned that if I want my picky eater to atleast start eating in appropriate quantities (this does not include the concern of ‘what’ to eat)make them run around the house for an hour, or jump on the sofa for that much time. Only then they will feel exhausted of their energy reserves and enjoy the food that they gulp.
My elder son Nik is a picky eater. This is no news. The eureka moment was when I realized that I too was a picky eater. I’d any day prefer instant noodles to ‘Roti’, chocolate to fruits and a thick shake to juice. I felt guilty of implicating my son of unreasonable behavior, when infact he had actually received it from me. I realized that if I wanted my kids to eat healthy, I had to set good examples and not cheat my kids into eating healthy stuff when I was craving for all the junk food they had in their plate.
There is too much to know about all that goes on around the world. There is no way that one person could experience everything first hand. But what one can do is to always read about everything under the sun. Every new piece of knowledge adds to perspective and opens up a plethora of information that comes in handy some day. Fill your home with books in every nook and corner and let your kids know that books are indeed a person’s best friends. Spend atleast 30 minutes every day reading, with your kids in the vicinity and let them see, how much you enjoy reading. Slowly they too will join you and would boast about reading their own book.
Surrounded by the challenges of life and struggle accrued with the pressure of correct parenting, we often become besotted by discipline, system and method. We forget that no child continued to be a child ever. They all grow up eventually donning their unique style and habits. Our prime role is to nurture them and help them bloom into adulthood. An important aspect of nurturing is to teach our kids to be happy. But the key is that for our kids to learn to be happy, we ourselves ought to learn to be happy. So spend a day with some chaos in your house, jump around with them, dance along to peppy number, spend a day at the zoo and sneak into the bed without changing. I assure you that the smile on the angelic faces will lighten up your life further.
These are some elementary habits that will not only go a long way in helping me stay healthy physically, emotionally and mentally, but also lead our kids to a path of emulation and a strengthened foundation for all round development.