Healthy kids are happy kids, a recipe for good living

Humans are hardwired to crave adventures and excitement. The thrills of experiences that make their hearts race are entirely new and can be enjoyed over and over.

During adventurous play, children instinctively make decisions as they assess and determine the levels of risk they want to take, physically, emotionally and socially. Through personal experience of making these decisions, they grow in confidence and learn how to keep themselves safe by testing their physical capabilities.

Today, kids are growing up in a risk-averse society. Some parents refrain from granting their children access to outdoor spaces where children can run wild. Instead, kids derive their excitement from video games; television or the ‘strap-in, sit-tight’ adrenaline rides at amusement parks. How can children seek out adventures, and at the same time, avoid societal vices?

The book, Healthy Kids Are Happy Kids, written by Anirejuoritse Chima-Oduko, is a health and safety guide for children, parents and teachers, making good life choices so as to grow up happy and fulfilled.

Implementing a child-friendly narrative, Anirejuoritse endears it to children who are first captivated by its story telling, characterisation and emotive expressions, ending each chapter with a quiz section.

In the introductory chapter, the narrator, ‘Doc Anire’states her interests in the reader’s growth and physical well being, revealing in details, the book’s contents and introducing five imaginary characters said to have made changes in their living pattern.The characters are proficient in issues regarding healthy activities, eating, habits and lifestyle, thoughts and body safety education.

Readers learn to control their thoughts, emotions and issues with bullies. Engaging in activities such as talking to oneself, talking to others and taking positive action will help, the author says. The chapter also gives excellent advice and steps to take when being bullied.

In a world where the ‘don’t talk to strangers’ advice doesn’t seem so important anymore, Aisha, a body safety advocate, helps kids feel safe and protected by educating them on dressing decently, knowing about private body parts, setting boundaries and art of self-defense from invaders, good and bad touches and actions to take when harassed.

The book concludes with a goodbye note from the health champions; a reminder to practice lessons derived from the book, so as to make changes and live a healthier life. Adopting such transformations could prove difficult, however, children are encouraged to persevere.

The book is essential to enable children apply health-related knowledge in their own lives successfully and meaningfully, helping them become critical thinkers; responsible, productive citizens; self-directed learners and effective communicators. This book will help all teachers — not just those specifically trained in health education — to encourage these assets.

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