The most important emotional five a day for children

Years ago, when the campaign to encourage people to eat 5 fruits and vegetable went around, somebody did an emotional version of those 5 a day for children. 

I couldn't remember who did it but ever since, I have used those 5 a days to stay connected with my children, no matter their age!

Often, we put ourselves under pressure to offer more, bigger and maybe expensive experiences and toys while our children need some basic rituals and attention from us.

Here are those 5 a day:

  1. Reading with parents: only a few minutes at bedtime is proven to improve your child's cognitive skills. It is also such a wonderful way to stay connected with your children. 
  2. Outdoor time every day: in general, we never spend enough time outside so focusing on making sure, we are out at least once a day is one of the most 5 a day you can offer
  3. 10 minutes of uninterrupted playtime with you: yes only 10 minutes! The key is that you have to enjoy it! So, if you say to your child that you will be totally focused on them for 10 minutes (put a timer), and you are indeed (no phone, no checking on the dinner, ...), they will feel important and valued. 
  4. Healthy diet: we all know what is a mostly healthy diet even if there will be some variation (vegan or omnivore, gluten or not, a bit of sugar or avoiding it entirely, ...). The classic 5 a day are indeed important. 
  5. Offer one interrupted conversation time: whether at bedtime or another ritual (dinner time is a great one) or you stop everything when your child has something important to tell you. 

Don't get caught in the idea that you need to be 100% with your children, that you need to offer them incredible experiences...

Some studies have shown that only a few minutes a day will give them the safety and connection they need.

In the same way that we are supposed to eat our 5 a day, we can have a few days with less and some other days with plenty of fruits and vegetables.

Our children need a little but consistently to thrive, they will cope with a few off days and they will enjoy some extraordinary moments!

Can you do those 5 activities every day? Let me know what you think in the comments

About the Author Carine Robin

Carine Robin has a Master’s Degree in Psychology, specialising in child psychology. She worked for various social services in her home country of Belgium, before moving to Ireland in 2006. It was there that she started working in a nursery and discovered Montessori education. After having her first child, her passion for the philosophy grew and she qualified as a Montessori teacher and managed a preschool. Carine has been running a Montessori based parents and toddler group and coaching families for 9 years. She now also runs an online group for over 14000 parents, sharing her knowledge and passion with people from around the world. In 2018, Carine realised families needed more support and launched her popular online parenting courses and monthly subscription boxes, full of personally designed Montessori materials.