I was reminded the other day of the importance of consistently teaching our children the benefits of good health. Sometimes it’s tricky reinforcing that;
- Being ill is not a ‘bad’ thing, because each time they do indeed get sick – their body will cleverly train its army to fight these bugs and in doing so their immune system (army) will grow stronger and stronger.
- Germs are something to be mindful of, but they are not to be feared.
- They need to remember to appreciate how clever the human body is and what a terrific job they are doing fighting off the bugs! How its best to focus their attention on how strong and intelligent their body is – rather than the illness and or sickness-orientated behaviour.
With statements such as:
“Look at you champ, working up a high temperature/ fever to kill off all those bugs. You are going to feel 100% again in no time. I bet your body is having a growth spurt right now and just needs you to rest a little more today. Well done for looking after yourself sweetheart, I am soooooooooooooo proud of you! ”
“Oh you poor thing, you must feel terrible. I’ll call Nanna and see if she can drop over with a little something to make you feel better. You had better stay home from school for a few days and watch some movies while I make all your favourite foods and wipe the sweat from your brow.” – While this may seem a little exaggerated it gives you the idea of how children may perceive that being ill means they are, all of a sudden, the centre of attention and the recipient of everyone’s good wishes.
For a small child all this fuss and fan-fair can make being “ill” suddenly an important part of their life. They have a disposition towards sickness then because they crave the attention that such behaviour has evoked.
Our eldest son Wilem has had a few weeks now of seeing his little brothers fade one after the other with a cold, while he has soldiered off to school with the odd little sniffle. When I heard him and his cousins discussing a friend from school who had been absent for a few weeks with bronchitis, I decided it was time to schedule that “Well- Day”. A pre-planned day off school, where we celebrate being strong and healthy by going to the movies or going bowling, followed by a delicious lunch out. Whatever he likes, as long as he feels he’s being acknowledged for being “well”.
When I mention the “Well Day” to him, I remind him that we can organize such a glorious event because unlike some of the other kids who have days off regularly because they are sick – we are going to have a day off to celebrate that we don’t get sick very often and instead we are going to celebrate being super-strong and healthy.
Our six year old responded to this suggestion by yelling “AAAlllright!!!!!!!” loud enough that he could have woken the nation and pounding his chest like Tarzan himself.
A little reminder about Germs. With winter here (well it is almost winter and it has been damn cold here in Victoria) our immune systems seem to be more frequently challenged. Now, I am not a fond supporter of the Germ Theory, but rather appreciate that germs or bacteria are ever present, passing from person to another like a ’round robin’. Take for instance when you travel on an aeroplane side-by-side with some 200 strangers, we all breathe from the same re-cycled, air-conditioned air and we all share the same bugs – yet why is it that some people will catch a cold and others will not?
When you’re fatigued and run down you are more susceptible to flu’s and falling victim to colds etc. These symptoms are an important message or sign from your body that you need to focus more intensely on your health. Important self-nurturing acts include chiropractic adjustments to strengthen your nerve and immune systems, quality sleep and nutritious food and vitamins.
If we listen to our body and take better care of ourselves then germs will generally move quickly and easily through our system.
Wishing you exceptional health
Dr Jennifer Barham-Floreani