10 Tips for Nurturing the Mind, Body, and Spirit
According to research, families who focus on nurturing the mind, body, and spirit raise kids who are less likely to engage in high-risk behaviors, and are more likely to grow up thriving. Children and teens can nurture their minds, bodies, and souls in many different ways— and with different emphases during different developmental stages.
Tips for Nurturing the Mind
- Understand that every child is unique and grows at his or her own pace, but the more we know about what to expect as our children grow and develop, the more we can do to be better parents. Learn more about brain development here.
- Support academic success at home through everyday efforts. Sit with your kids while they’re doing homework; encourage critical thinking by asking your child questions. Encourage reading for pleasure; encourage your child to seek out interests he or she is passionate about. Talk to your child’s teacher or counselor, and stay involved in your child’s school in any way that you can. Learn more about supporting academic success at home here.
- Nurture mindfulness at home through activities like meditation, yoga, and activities that require concentration. Learn more about why mindfulness is important here.
Tips for Nurturing the Body
- Understand that by supporting and empowering kids to find physical activities that interest them, you’re doing more than just “keeping them active”. You’re helping lay the groundwork for a healthy lifestyle throughout the rest of their lives.
- Support physical activity and proper nutrition at home through everyday efforts. Make it a point to have one healthy meal together each day. Start going for a walk every day when you get home from work or after dinner. Strive to get eight hours of sleep every night. Focus on the small, doable things, and you’ll be on your way to having a healthy family. Learn more about nurturing the body here.
- Move! Do something! Don’t worry about the length of time. Five minutes is better than none. Ten is better than five. Any amount of time you move is worthwhile.
Tips for Nurturing the Spirit
- Understand that spirituality, no matter how you or your child experiences it, is important for healthy, positive development. It’s important to remember that spirituality can be expressed in a multitude of ways, regardless of the religious tradition that your family recognizes. here.
- Expose your children to different expressions of spirituality through books, art, and music. Talk about how the different expressions might indicate different faith traditions and interpretations of those traditions. Encourage your kids—especially tweens and teens—to take part in positive groups and organizations that reinforce and nurture spiritual commitments.
- Model the spiritual and religious beliefs that are important to you, and set a good example for your kids. Actions often speak louder than words, and your children learn a great deal by observing your actions.
- Regularly engage your older children and teens in discussion about spiritual topics, but don’t force the issue. Be open to different interpretations of your faith tradition or your child’s interest in a tradition other than your own. Ask questions to clarify, and don’t judge what he or she says.
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Enriching Families’ Community Connections: A Two-Way Street, presented by Dr. Eugene C. Roehlkepartain, Vice President, Research and Development at Search Institute and Dr. Hedy Walls, Vice President of Social Responsibility at YMCA of the Greater Twin Cities
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