What babies can teach us about living a healthy life; 14 lessons from a 1-year old


Although babies are highly dependent on having adults around to when they grow up - to raise, feed and protect them - learning should not just be a one-way street. In fact, if parents paid enough attention and spent a little more time observing how babies navigate through life; they could learn there are some key situations and elements that babies instinctively handles really well, often a lot better than adults would, in a similar situation.

Here are 14 lessons that we could learn from babies to see healthier routines, habits and behaviours in adults.

1. EAT ONLY WHEN HUNGRY

This might sound obvious but since most adults gravitate towards food as a reward, comfort or activity when procrastinating/bored; it’s nice to see babies being less attached to emotions when it comes to eating.

2. KEEP NUTRITION SIMPLE

Babies tend to gravitate towards preferring to eat similar foods on a daily basis, making preparing and cooking food easy. By eating mostly the same foods and without too much variety each meal, you will also experience “sensory-specific satiety”. Meaning; when you eat the same foods all the time, they may become less appealing, so you’re less likely to over-eat.

3. LAUGH A LOT

If you are a parent, you know that there’s no better feeling than making your child laugh. And since this laughter often spills over to yourself; you quickly realize the positive emotions that comes with laughing and this is something adults should strive to do more of on a daily basis.

4. LEARN NEW THINGS

From the most basic instinct driven behaviours to more motor skill dependent tasks, everyday babies learn something new. The cognitive and sometimes physical challenge this presents and the reward you get from learning new things, is heavily underestimated and under-utilized in adults.

5. EXPLORE AS MUCH AS POSSIBLE

For a baby, a lot of things they experience during a day is being done and seen for the first time. Therefore, it’s natural that they have a lot to explore. But it’s the curiosity and attentiveness babies have in every sound or object that they encounter that adults could learn from; and view the world with a little bit more curiosity.

6. SLEEP A LOT

It goes without saying, babies sleep a lot and no one would ever try to limit or interfere with that need (especially the parents!). So why is it that many adults don't seem to be particularly worried about their own sleep? Why would the importance of quantity and quality of sleep be neglected as we age? Of course it shouldn't; there's a good reason why we (should) spend 1/3 of our life sleeping, so it's about time adults takes sleep seriously and get more of it!

7. KEEP MOVING

As long as a baby isn't sleeping, she’s constantly moving. Of course, a growing baby differ from adults in terms of physical needs; but the take away should be to not get stuck in a chair for too long. And try to get your movement in early in the day to set the pace.

8. LIMIT SCREEN TIME

When you spend time with children you realise how they are in fact quite easy to entertain (anything goes for a toy as long as it makes sound and they can manipulate it). By observing babies in their daily life and comparing it to most adults; you quickly realize how easy it is to spend majority of your awaken time glued to a screen and forget about reality that happens right in front of us.

9. PLAY

What’s the most effective way of learning new things? By playing. Babies are masters at being creative and to break structure and rules. Adults should copy and dare to think outside the box, break rules more often and thereby discover new ways of thinking. And you know what? By playing you’ll have more fun in the process.

10. TRY NEW THINGS

Babies loves to copy what adults do and are not shy to experience how things feels and works, both good and bad habits. This 'all-out-attitude' to try new things is something adults can learn from and adapt, both in business and life. If you see something that looks legit; try and test it and see what’s working and what isn’t. This is a great way to find better solutions and ideas.

11. BE CONSISTENT

Babies loves to repeat the same tasks over and over again, as a natural part of development. What adults can learn from this is that if we want to live a healthy life we need to form behaviours that support the life we want and we need to be consistent in our behaviours to create healthy, long-term habits. In other words; we need to be consistent in our actions if we want to improve and become better/healthier.

12. SQUAT TO INVESTIGATE THINGS

Although babies clearly has different mechanics and body proportions than a full grown adult, their way of constantly deep squatting (without letting the spine collapse) throughout the day gives the ankles, knees, hips and core the stimulus they need to move well. For parents; the goal should be to never allow you kids to stop squatting deep; and you shouldn’t either.

13. HAVE REGULAR EAT AND SLEEP TIMES

To keep a baby happy and calm throughout the day; having regular and predictable patterns is crucial. This means sticking to regular routines of food and sleep. If adults also protected their eat and sleep times in the same way, you’d see a great increase in productivity and a lot healthier eating habits in adults too.

14. LIVE IN THE PRESENT

Perhaps the biggest lesson a baby can teach you as an adult is to live in the present and to enjoy the small things. For babies, what matters is only here and now; and you can see this by the sudden switch from crying to smiling in a blink of an eye. This should work as a great reminder for adults that sometimes; we all need to “stop and smell the roses” and appreciate here and now.

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