Despite nearly thirty years of working with middle and high school students, I am always cautious when it comes to issuing definitive statements. One thing I can say with a high degree of certitude, however, is that when an educator (or a parent!) finds his insights or counsel greeted by an eye roll or worse yet, that dreaded three letter word, “duh!” he has likely committed what is, in the eyes of an adolescent, a death penalty level offense; he has stated the obvious.
But, alas, sometimes the obvious needs to be stated, a situation I found myself in this week as I considered how to offer your children a few common sense tips on how to stay mentally, emotionally, and physically healthy during a stretch of the school year that is notorious for higher rates of student absences.
My solution? A rollicking game of what I hastily named, “Students vs…” a challenge between the students and a member of the faculty in the tradition of the long-running game show Family Feud. As the game show host, I announced the category as, “Top Eleven Tips for Staying Healthy This Winter,” (acknowledging that the list, while “internet-informed,” was mostly assembled from bits of folk wisdom and long-lost articles I had read over time.)
I donned my captain’s hat, resuming my recurring role as Captain Obvious, and started the game, which was to pit a faculty expert against a series of student volunteers. Not surprisingly, the students selected Ms. DiFalco as their opponent. Back and forth she and a seventh grader went, correctly picking items off the list before, finally, the students “struck out.”
So that you can reinforce good life habits at home, I share that list with you here: Mr. Green’s “Top Eleven Tips for Staying Healthy This Winter,” but DON’T LOOK DOWN YET! See how many you can guess?
- Get your sleep. Go to bed at a decent hour, aim for eight hours, no fewer than seven.
- Eat a healthy diet: high on fruits, vegetables, and whole grains, low on junk
- Exercise regularly—get that heart pumping.
- Wash your hands!
- When the sun is shining (and when it’s not) get outside. Breathe in the fresh air.
- Ask for help; never worry alone.
- Get a flu shot! (Might be too late for this one.)
- Stay engaged and involved; spend time with people.
- Dress for the weather.
- Minimize screen time, social media, video games, etc.
- Stay hydrated! (or as my mother would say, “Water, water, water!)
How did you do? What’s on your list? How many times did you say, “Duh”?
And finally, are you going to play or pass? Thank you for helping your child stay in school and more importantly, stay healthy.