[Day 4] Diet, Clothing, Environment, Sports and Exercise, and Doing Your Own Things
Nutrition is very important for the growth of children. There is no problem if the child does not eat every kind of food, as long as the parents pay attention to a balanced and adequate diet. Parents do not need to ask their children to eat all kinds of food or to prepare foods that their children do not like to eat. It is unnecessary to argue with their children over food and diet. On the one hand, children need to have a balanced nutrition, and on the other hand, parents must also consider the actual situation of their children; learn to respect the children, do not force them to eat the food that they don’t like, and do not force them to overeat. Parents should minimize conflicts on children’s eating. When there is an argument or conflict between the two sides, is it the problem of the children or the parents? Probably most of it is caused by the parents. The point is parents should not insist on eating, and cause arguments and conflicts with each other; this will affect the children’s appetite and their interest in eating. This is something that parents should pay special attention to, and there should always be a harmonious and cordial atmosphere at meal times.
Don’t be particular about your children’s clothes, and don’t let the children have more than what they need. Don’t try to make the children feel that their clothing is of significant importance. Rather, guide the children’s focus to their internal development rather than the external from an early age. As it was said in 1 Peter chapter 3, “Let your adorning not be the outward plaiting of hair and putting on of gold or clothing with garments, But the hidden man of the heart in the incorruptible adornment of a meek and quiet spirit, which is very costly in the sight of God.” It is the same for a child. Therefore, adults should not praise the children’s clothes for being beautiful, as this will make the children feel that their appearance is more important than their inner being. Clothing (not necessarily from brand name) is for warmth and protection, and the basic requirements for clothing are practical, simple, strong, and suitable for the occasion. We really have to think carefully before the Lord, no matter how abundant your financial conditions are, you must pay attention to this: Don’t let your children pay more attention to the appearance than to the inner being! Having the true abundance is to have the abundance in the Lord. This is the most important thing.
Prepare a safe and spacious environment to assist the child in various sports according to the developmental stage of the child’s growth so that the child’s body functions can be developed. This will develop the child’s concentration, hand-eye coordination, sense of order and independence. It is important to make a spacious place where children can move freely. There may be homes that are not so spacious. Parents can clean up the living room or organize the furniture to make space. Parents should not hold their children in their hands all the time. They should give more opportunities to their children to perform activities independently in order to develop their potential. For example, in order to develop a child’s crawling ability, the child must be allowed to crawl around repeatedly; in this way, the limbs will become stronger and make the progress towards standing and walking. This requires the parents to prepare a safe and spacious environment to develop the child’s physical abilities. This is very important. If a child is older, let the child practice more in walking.
The functions of the child’s body are not developed by teaching, but are the results of the body’s own development and exercise. Faculties are developed through practice. Parents only need to prepare the environment, provide freedom and guidance, and allow exercise. When we say, “give children freedom”, we mean to give children freedom in practicing the functions of the body. Let them climb and walk as much as possible in a safe and spacious environment. If there are safety concerns, take protective measures; for example, move away or wrap things that will be bumped or hurt the children to ensure their safety. Sitting, climbing, standing, walking, running, jumping and balancing can help the children’s large muscle movement. Another important matter is the coordination of the body. Exercising the muscles provides a positive impact; the better a child’s hand eye coordination is, the more superior the child’s cognitive response will be. Small muscle movement (hand movement) is also important. Stimulating a child’s ability to coordinate with their hands is imperative for their hand eye coordination. Such practices as playing with blocks, legos, puzzles, and play-doh all contribute to helping a child with their coordination and active responses. The more the children use their hands, the better the hand eye coordination they will develop. All these activities are helpful for the children’s hand movements.