When you had a cough in times past, it was a sign of a cold or flu.  In the past, grandma’s chicken soup, pushing the fluids and plenty of rest was the cure for these symptoms.  It was more than soup.  So, fire up the stove and heat some soup or make some herbal tea. Grandma’s kitchen was also filled with love, hugs and fresh fruit. As a role model, she would say, “We’ll have you get plenty of rest, drink lots of water and wash your hands as often as you can.”  

Teaching our children best practices for healthy living gives them the best chance at living well.

◆ Hand washing: Wash your hands prior to cooking. Wash all the fruits and vegetables that may have been handled by others at the grocery store. Wash your hands before eating.  Wash your hands after using the bathroom.  Wash your hands and face before going to bed.

◆ Grandma knew the value of exercise: stretching, anaerobic and aerobic exercise. When we were young, exercise meant playing jump rope, playing wiffle ball and stretching.  As teenagers, Grandma had us raking the leaves, weeding her garden, and walking to the store for groceries.  Exercise also helps children burn off some energy while helping them maintain a calmer state (just like for us adults).

◆ Rest came in the form of naps in the warm home, watching TV, listening to music, story-time and sharing family events and plans through good conversation, as well as time for homework.

◆ Drinking plenty of water came in the form of camomile tea, ice water, chicken broth, the water off of the cooked vegetables and all the Jell-O you wanted.  

◆ The tenants of Grandma’s ‘staying healthy’ still hold true during this time of the pandemic.  Keeping active will require a healthy diet.  A balanced diet is composed of foods from the five food groups: Milk/dairy, Fruits & Vegetables, Grains, Meat/Fish/Eggs/Nuts (and Tofu), and Oils. Food is much like fuel for an automobile.  Filling our automobiles with gasoline (or electricity) allows the automobile to run.  Food is fuel for our bodies and our growing children.  So, when thinking of between-meal snacks, fruit and vegetable sticks are good choices.

Staying healthy is a lifelong habit that begins when we are young.  As parents, we too need rest, fluids, a balanced diet, exercise, plenty of hand washing and always fill our kitchen with Grandma’s love. What’s good for the children is also good for the adults.  Best practices for healthy living also gives parents the endurance to keep supporting our families that we love so much.