Holistic growth of school kids: The importance of proper nutrition and mental health
While looking for a school for their child, every parent wants an institution that offers only the best in terms of all round development. However, while focusing upon the tangible aspects of a child’s holistic growth— academics, innovation and co-curricular activities — the intangible aspects like nutrition and mental health are often overlooked.
A child’s nutrition and mental health are of paramount importance in his/her growth during the formative years. Since childhood sets us up for adulthood, it is crucial to provide our kids with the right diet and ample emotional support to lay a firm foundation that prepares them to face the challenges of tomorrow.
Proper nutrition influences brain development, attention span, and behaviour. It also plays a major role in determining whether your child is at an increased risk of obesity, asthma, heart disease, cancer, memory loss, and other later-in-life health problems. However, nutrition forms only one part of the duo that greatly influences a child’s development.
Just like physical well-being, having a healthy mind is of utmost importance as well. Psychological issues in school kids are more common than most people realize, or acknowledge. Due to the taboo associated with mental health, most students stay silent about these issues. According to WHO Study, 7.3% of children in the age group of 13-17 have mental disorders.
In a bid to raise awareness and educate the parents, teachers and students about the importance of a healthy mind and body for school kids, Ryan International School organized Mental Health Drive and Nutrition Week. Both initiatives involved connecting to the students and parents in a better way, through the use of social media campaigns
As a part of the Mental Health Drive - #GrowingHealthyMinds, child psychologist and school counsellor at Ryan International School, Meera Gupta conducted a Facebook Live session (50K+ views) , where she explained how parents and teachers can identify mental health issues among the children, and support them while they grow. She also answered to the queries put forward by the parents who participated in the session. The Facebook live session witnessed questions about types of mental disorders, common learning disorders in children, alongwith role of school counsellors and teachers to follow an all-inclusive teaching and learning environment. In addition, counsellors bust some myths and facts around mental and emotional health of children.
During the Ryan International School Nutrition Week Campaign- #EarlyStartToHealthyLife, paediatric nutritionists Parina Joshi and Priya Karkera conducted Facebook Live sessions (30K+ views) to engage with parents, teachers and students. While Parina Joshi explained the importance of healthy eating habits and balanced diet for growing kids, Priya Karkera talked about the importance of micronutrients in the diet for children. Parent questions included, how to make healthy food interesting and tasty for their kids, must-have food while studying, dos and don'ts on leading a healthy and nutritious life at an early stage.
Good nutrition and attention towards mental health during childhood sets the tone and patterns for lifelong health and wellness. While a well-balanced diet allows your child to reach his/her full growth potential, perform well in school and maintain their energy level, focus on the emotional and mental well-being of a child can help them in developing a healthy and sound mind.
As a parent or guardian, it becomes our responsibility to focus on these factors as well while assessing a child’s growth, apart from paying attention towards their scholastic and co-scholastic performance. Also, since school is the place where children spend a major part of their day, educational institutions should also educate the students and teachers in this regard, through initiatives like Nutrition Week Campaign and Mental Health Campaign by Ryan International School.