Column by Tutu and Me Traveling Preschool
The Hawaiian value “malama” means to take care of, watch out for and attend to. One of our primary duties as adults is taking proper care of our children. It includes loving and providing the fundamental basics like food, clothing and shelter. It includes creating and maintaining healthy and safe environments. And perhaps most importantly, it includes giving our children tools for taking care of themselves. If children are secure in the knowledge that they are loved and well taken care of, they will in turn be inclined to love and take care of themselves and others around them. If children have been taught how to love and take care of themselves, they will be inclined to love and take care of the environment.
At Tutu and Me Traveling Preschool, families learn many strategies to care for keiki, such as proper nutrition, importance of immunizations and tuberculosis testing, importance of regular doctor and dentist visits, importance of establishing routines, hand washing skills, etc.
Try this at home:
• Keep immunization records current and in a safe place.
• Drink plenty of water (a 20-pound child should drink at least 10 ounces of water per day; a 150-pound adult should drink at least 75 ounces of water per day).
• Eat nutritious foods (avoid white sugar and red food coloring if at all possible).
• Teach your child proper teeth brushing.
• Teach your child how to bathe and maintain hand washing routines daily.
• Teach your child how to keep his/her room tidy.
• Set a regular bed time schedule and stick to it.
• Teach your child to come to you if anyone, including family members, touches him/her in “private” parts of his/her body. Listen to your child.
• Teach your child that it is OK if he/she doesn’t want to “hug” every single relative or friend of the family.
Remember: Malama begins at home. What you teach your keiki at home can be perpetuated in other areas, such as the playground, at school, the grocery store, and other public places.
Contributions from Tutu and Me Traveling Preschool, a program of Partners in Development Foundation. Tutu and Me is funded through a grant from the U.S. Department of Education.