In our last post, we learnt about SDG# 3 – Good Health And Well-Being and how it is directly proportional to a country’s progress. Before we begin with our today’s article, I invite you to ponder upon an idea of “What does good health and well being mean to me and my family?” The answer might vary from family to family but each family and each human collectively makes up a nation, so when we break down into individual goals the bigger mission of achieving wellness physically and mentally by 2030, the impossible becomes attainable and most of all, the intention becomes personal and inclusive.
Constructive action to achieve the SDGs arises from asking questions such as above and breaking them down into small possibilities. The questioning comes naturally to children, always wondering why and how. As parents, our responsibility is to fuel that fire in the right direction – to motivate our children to take action within their capacity towards responsible results. So, here are 4 key elements of SDG#3 that can help you and your children to take responsibility for another weighty sustainable development goal.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), “diseases preventable by vaccines have been dramatically reduced by 66 per cent since 2000. Thus, one of the most effective ways to prevent any preventable disease is to immunize children against such diseases. Immunization, along with child-friendly health facilities such as infant and women’s clinics are crucial to the success of any national health and wellness plan. Have a history session with your kids on how plagues and pandemics wielded their power over mankind before vaccinations were invented. Delve into the data and statistics and let them weigh the pros and cons of jabs for disease prevention.
The pandemic of our times, the COVID-19 outbreak, is another great example to study the efficiency of immunizations and the video below by UNICEF hosted by Savannah Sellers with World Health Organization’s Dr Maria Vankerkhove suggests some simple methods through which even children can contribute to the fight against our biggest health hazard of the 21st century. We found it really inspiring and wanted to share this video with you all!
Physical Activity and Healthy Eating:
The toughest challenge any parent goes through while raising a child is to instil healthy eating habits. It is hard because we are overwhelmed with vast assortments of processed foods, and at the same time with an overflow of advertisements for diets and exercises for every single muscle in our body. Let alone the mixed messages on what is good and what is bad for us. Whilst the idea of being healthy looks as simple as getting regular exercise and eating a nutritious meal, it is often challenging to put it into practice and even more arduous to educate our kids.
Don’t worry, there is a cool way to foster healthy habits in a language kids love – Comics. Produced by Comics Uniting Nations, Rise of the Plate Pioneerz is a comic strip released by UNICEF as part of their World’s Largest Lesson Campaign. The comic depicts 2 heroes protecting humanity against unhealthy eating and alien invasion. The narration creatively drives through the nuances of modern sedimentary lifestyle, eating habits and their implications. The campaign also presents activity ideas to engage children in thinking further on the topic and initiate sustainable living. Try this out with your child, we are sure you’ll have both impact and fun!
Awareness of Mental Disorders:
Thanks to the evolution of medical and psychiatric research, we now can identify different types of mental disorders like depression, bipolar disorder, autism, ADHD, schizophrenia and other cognitive anomalies that were ridiculed up until the last century. As popularly assumed, depression and anxiety in children are not just a phase, they can be as severe as we adults experience. In 2005, a survey conducted by Ronald C Kessler, a renowned sociologist and researcher on mental illnesses, showed that the median age of onset for anxiety disorders, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), and oppositional deviant disorder was 11 years. An auxiliary study by Margaret J Briggs-Gowan and colleagues showed that mental disorders in childhood are stable and are not grown out of. Early recognition and interventions in such cases have proved to be crucial for preventing prolonged cognitive and developmental difficulties in children.
Even if your kids are mentally healthy, it helps to have conversations about mental health because, at school, they are bound to encounter children with different health conditions. To move away from a cancel culture (pretending a problem doesn’t exist) to a neurodiverse inclusive culture, we must help our children to understand and accept different medical/mental backgrounds, by offering patience, kindness, and friendship.
Raising Awareness about hygiene and sanitation
The moment can never be more perfect than now to introduce our children to the importance of hygiene and sanitization. Good hygiene is not just about using disinfectants and sanitisers all the time. Simply washing hands is a very good first line of defence. Setting a routine is as important as disciplining the children because, in times when they forget the protocol, it’s the habit that automatically guides them along the process. The idea is to model something that makes sense to your children. Explain germs and bacteria to them, and their effect on our health. As their knowledge of the environment grows (what is clean or dirty, what is safe or unsafe), they will grow to understand the impact on the human body, too. Children learn fast when you present the information in visuals or music. Spruce up your creativity and demonstrate through examples the consequences of uncleanliness.
Let us know in the comments section the ways in which you engage your kids in living a healthy life.
As we as parents do our bit, there is no denying the fact that with a target of achieving SDG# 3 by 2030, our countries must strengthen their leadership and cooperation to deliver on this global sustainable development goal. Only if all actors at all levels – from different sectors of the economy to individuals, communities and countries can engage and work together on the solutions we can achieve the goals of health and well being as a whole.
“What help can we give and what more can we do? There’s a role for us all, for me and for you!”
– From A Smart Way to Start Doing Good