The IB Learner Profile consists of ten attributes that all learners develop and strive to be as IB students. Each attribute is important, and they all work together to create internationally-minded citizens. This month our Learner Profile focus is on being Balanced.
The IB defines Balanced as people who “understand the importance of balancing different aspects of our lives- intellectual, physical, and emotional- to achieve well-being for ourselves and others. We recognize our interdependence with other people and the world in which we live.” According to the Cambridge Dictionary, being well balanced means “containing a mixture of ideas, people, etc. with each one being represented equally or fairly.”
So what exactly does this look like? Students have so much going on in their lives from academics to extra-curricular activities to family responsibilities to technology use to managing their emotions and more. The need to maintain balance is paramount to their success and is more difficult than ever these days.
Students who are balanced give equal attention and energy to their academic endeavours, after school and weekend extra-curriculars such as sports teams, playing an instrument, and hobbies they may have, maintaining a balanced diet and regular exercise routine, being mindful and balancing their emotions, family and outside responsibilities such as chores or a part-time job, and down time to play and enjoy life. Adults often struggle to maintain balance, so as you might imagine, students do, too.
Some ways to help your children gain and maintain balance in their lives are to encourage your child to participate in a wide variety of structured activities and hobbies. This will expose them to many different areas to help them develop their interests and abilities in a well-rounded way. Something else you can do is to discuss the food groups with your children, and have discussions about whether your dinner is a balanced meal. You can also encourage your child to help prepare nightly meals. The most important way to teach your child to be balanced is to role model this attribute for them. If you spend time focusing on a variety of activities in your daily life, such as work, family time, hobbies, exercise, and nutrition, your child will pick up on your good habits. It’s important to remember that children need to be balanced users of technology. Too much screen time (phones, games, iPads, TV, etc.) can have adverse effects on our brains and our ability to socialize with others. Setting limits on screen time and teaching your child to take breaks is an important part of developing good habits.
Just remember that being balanced doesn’t happen overnight, and it’s something we are all working to achieve and maintain. Reflect often on the balance in your life and make adjustments as needed. Likewise, encourage your children to reflect upon and talk about the balance in their lives, and if an area is out of alignment, work to get it back in line.