Recently I learned about a ‘daily vitamins strategy’ used as a coaching tool. It was mentioned in an episode of the Trained podcast (which, for reasons currently unknown to me, is my new obsession). Essentially, ‘daily vitamins’ are the specific, personal things that an athlete has to individually work on before each training session. One athlete might be prescribed dribbling and core work as their daily vitamins. Another may need to do sprint drills, passing and mental focus. I think of them as ‘wellbeing vitamins’ – things that are specific to helping an individual reach optimal performance.
I immediately thought that daily vitamins would be a fantastic parenting tool. Wellbeing vitamins seems like a great way to help kids form good habits and work on individual challenges. It’s a shorthand way of guiding them to make beneficial changes. I think it would work for kids of all ages, not just older kids like my three. It even works for parents too, trust me!
A daily vitamins strategy helps us:
- Focus on what is most important to us
- Make small, gradual changes that we can build on
- Create consistency over time
- Take responsibility for our own wellbeing
Older kids can be really resistant to change, such that we want to pull our hair out in frustration. Despite trying to teach them good habits their whole life, it can be distressing to find that they still don’t brush their teeth / hair / life without constant nagging.
I’m done with the nagging: I stopped cleaning up after the kids and this is what happened
A daily vitamins strategy is a way to curb the nagging. We make the list of 3, 5, 10 wellbeing vitamins (or as many as you think your kid can handle) and then it’s done. Our only job is to check in to see if the vitamins have been ‘taken’ and perhaps to discuss strategies to get them done tomorrow.
I think it’s a really good idea to bring your kids along from the beginning. My kids were on board with the concept, especially when I mentioned that taking their vitamins every day might result in a reward. I’ve therefore allocated a point a day for checking off every vitamin. The kids can swap their points for money or treats.
I also made sure that we discussed the vitamins I was considering with them before I made the prescription. That way, I had their buy-in. They were happy to work on the vitamin areas and confident that they could stick to them every day. By keeping it to just five vitamins, we kept it achievable. We plan to swap out the vitamins from time to time to keep things motivating.
Buy-in strategies: 3 excellent wellbeing apps for teens and how to get their buy-in
Daily vitamins prescriptions
Every child will have a different ‘prescription’ that is unique to their needs. In our house, everyone has three vitamins the same, and two different vitamins. The three everyone has in common are:
- Make your bed
- Put in at least one hour of outdoor exercise time
- Do something kind for someone
Here are some examples of what other wellbeing vitamins might look like for different kids. Remember, the vitamins need to be something that happens every single day. It’s also useful if they are building skills that will help our kids’ longtime wellbeing.
- Practise your instrument for at least 20 minutes
- Do one hour of homework
- Walk the dog
- Cook dinner
- Dance to loud music for at least 15 minutes
- Spend time outside
- Walk up as soon as your alarm goes off
- Get along with your siblings
- Write in your gratitude journal
- Spend time talking to a friend or family member
- Choose fruit over other snacks
- Say your prayers
- Pull some weeds in the garden
- Keep your room neat
- Walk 10,000 steps
- Read a book
- Eat five different kinds of vegetables
- Fill your drink bottle three times
- Do your core exercises
- Watch your posture
- Pack your bag for tomorrow
- Go to bed on time
Try these tips too: A quick guide to developing good daily habits for kids
Make it a general prescription
We typed out our daily vitamins strategy lists and put them up inside the pantry door. There are five vitamins for each kid and five for each parent too. I figured, why not prescribe some change and good habits for myself and my husband while we’re at it! I think the kids really appreciate the fact that we are working on daily vitamins alongside them. It’s all about the role modelling, people!
So far, I have been the worst at sticking to them! Must do better. I wish I hadn’t prescribed myself a ‘no sugar’ vitamin. That’s definitely proving to be a hard pill to swallow!
Reckon you’ll give this strategy a go?