The Importance of Modeling Healthy Behavior in an Early Childhood Environment

The Importance of Modeling Healthy Behavior in an Early Childhood Environment

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In an early childhood environment it is important to create a healthy environment for children. The role of educators is to model good health behaviors for children to prevent the spread of viruses. In my opinion, the early childhood professional must model good health behaviors for children so they learn health behaviors at a young age and make them part of their daily routine. For example, children could learn at a young age the importance of hand washing to prevent the spread of illness among their classmates. According to Cathie Robertson, “ One of the teacher’s most important tasks is to help children form the good hygiene habit and hand washing, to ensure a healthy environment” (Robertson, 2013, p. 443). Educators can make this task fun for children by making a song for hand washing, because some children learn faster when they are having fun. Also, it is important to give children immediate feedback after proper hand washing, so they feel motivated and will keep on doing it. As educators we need to wash hands often to we don’t pass illness to the children or from them to us. By doing this we are teaching the students that this is very important in order to stay healthy.

There are three different health behaviors that I might model for children and their families. I believe these behaviors are crucial to ensure a healthy environment for children. The first health behavior is to cover the mouth and nose when sneezing or coughing with a tissue or using the upper sleeve to stop the spread of germs that can make children sick. One step that I could take to help children to adopt this behavior is by having a box of tissues in the classroom all the time and every time a child coughs or sneezes I will hand over a tissue and ask him to cover his mouth and nose with it. I also will explain why it is important to do so. I will incorporate activities that teach children how to cover their mouth and nose if this happens to them. Also, I will talk about this with the families to ensure we work together towards the same goal.
The second health behavior that I will model for children and their families is the importance of washing hands.

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I will talk during class about germs and how we can prevent getting sick if we take our time and wash our hands. One step that I will take to help children to adopt this behavior is by having a reward poster where they will have the opportunity to earn stars for proper hand washing. I will give the family flyers that will inform parents about hand washing too. I will sing songs and will make it fun so they will feel excited about hand washing all the time.
The third health behavior that I might model for children and their families is the importance of washing their toys, especially if the children place them in their mouth. One way to help children to adapt this behavior is by having a basket for them to place the toys that have being in contact their mouth. Encourage them to place the toy by themselves in the basket if this happens. Also I will keep parents informed on how to prevent the spread of germs to ensure children practice at home what they learn at school.

Finally, I will work with the school staff to have events that promote good health in our school and that will inform parents about the precautions they need to take at home. I believe educating the parents and modeling good behavior at school can help children to learn good health behaviors faster. If we work together we might prevent the spread of illness and children will be in a safe environment.

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