Did you know… that April 23 – May 4 is Every Kid Healthy Week?
Every Kid Healthy™ Week is an annual observance recognized on the calendar of National Health Observances. Observed the last week of April each year, this special week shines a spotlight on the link between nutrition, physical activity, and learning – because healthy kids are better prepared to learn! Anyone can get involved and be a part of the celebration to help support sound nutrition, regular physical activity, and health-promoting programs.
It is always great to see kids watching their parents during classes. Some will even mimic their movements and cheer them on (or tell them to go faster) from the sidelines. When kids see adults making their health a priority, they will learn to do the same.
This is also true for our nutrition and the way that you eat as a family. We should approach meals with our kids similarly to how we approach them for ourselves. Food is what we use to fuel our bodies. Limit the intake of processed foods and sugars unless it is a special treat. Also, refraining from using the word ‘diet’, instead talk about eating healthy and the benefits that it will have for their body.
Another important focus should be mental health. Are you providing time for yourself to ‘unplug’? Are your kids watching you constantly work long hours and burn out? Make sure that you teach them that taking a break and spending some time disconnecting from the fast pace of the world can actually make you more productive in the long run.
Below are some easy ways to incorporate healthy behaviors into kids daily life:
- Find a fun activity. Help your child find a sport that they enjoy. The more they enjoy the activity, the more likely she will continue it. Get the entire family involved. It is a great way to spend time together.
- Choose an activity that is developmentally appropriate. For example, a 7- or 8-year-old child is not ready for weight lifting but can complete bodyweight movements, soccer, bicycle riding, and swimming are all appropriate activities.
- Plan ahead. Make sure your child has a convenient time and place to exercise.
- Provide active toys. Young children especially need easy access to balls, jump ropes, and other active toys.
- Be a role model. Children who regularly see their parents enjoying sports and physical activity are more likely to do so themselves.
- Play with your child. Help them learn a new sport.
- Turn off the TV. Limit TV watching and computer use. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends no more than 1 to 2 hours of total screen time, including TV, videos, computers, and video games, each day. Use the free time for more physical activities.
- Make time for exercise. Some children are so overscheduled with homework, music lessons, and other planned activities that they do not have time for exercise.
- Do not overdo it. Remember to tell them to listen to their body. Exercise and physical activity should not hurt. If this occurs, your child should slow down or try a less vigorous activity. As with any activity, it is important not to overdo it.
Anyone can make a difference during Every Kid Healthy Week. Do you love to cook? Know a thing or two about healthy eating? Or maybe you have a green thumb or a special fitness expertise like running, dance or CrossFit;)? Whatever your skills or passion, your kids can benefit from your time and energy. If you do not have any children of your own you can look into programs that may need volunteers, like Girls on the Run , which focuses on the physical and emotional health of young girls.