Aim for 5 fruits and vegetables every day
The vitamins, minerals, and fiber in fruits and vegetables are important to your children’s health. Fruits and vegetables help kids grow, fight off illness and can prevent weight gain, so encourage your children to eat at least five servings each day. As a parent, your job is to offer opportunities for your children to make good food choices, not to try to force children to eat these foods.
Child feeding expert and author Ellyn Satter has developed the Division of Responsibility in Feeding. According to Ms. Satter, as a parent it is your responsibility to decide:
- What food is offered
- When food is offered
- Where food is offered
It is your child's job to decide:
- If he or she will eat or not
- What he or she will eat from what is offered
- How much he or she will eat
Fresh is best, but frozen is also a good choice. If you're using canned fruits and vegetables, watch for sodium and added sugar. Limit 100 percent juice.
Additional Resources for Healthy Eating
Community Alliance with Family Farmers
USDA Recipe Finder
Helping Parents to Feed Well so Children Can Eat Well
Keep recreational screen time to 2 hours or less every day
Using screen time for homework is fine, but make sure to limit the time your children recreationally watch television, play video games or surf the web to no more than two hours per day. Additionally, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends that children age two or younger not watch any television.
Here are some great reasons to limit screen time:
- Children need to be active
- When engaged in screen time children are more likely to eat unhealthy snacks
- Too much screen time may lead to attention difficulties
- The content is often inappropriate (violence/sexual/language)
- Children are vulnerable to the influence of commercial advertising
Tips to reduce screen time:
- Keep TVs, computers and video games out of children’s bedrooms
- Turn electronic devices off during meal times
- Keep homework time TV-free
- Set a screen time schedule—plan viewing in advance
- Be a role model—show your children you too can limit screen time
- Keep family friendly board games handy
- Use an automatic timer to turn off power to TV
- Go for a walk
- Ride a bike
- Dance to favorite music
- Plant a garden
- Play ball (basket ball, base ball, tennis)
- Have children help prepare healthy family meals
- Play charades
Give your TV a nap and send the kids out to play!
Include at least 1 hour or more of active play every day
Participate in at least one hour of moderate to vigorous physical activity every day. Active play is fun and important for your child’s health, and active kids will likely become active adults. Start adding physical activity to your own daily routine and encourage your children to join you. Remember: children imitate adults.
- Helps to maintain healthy body weight
- Increases strength
- Improves coordination
- Reduces stress
- Decreases risk of developing type 2 diabetes
Try these fun activities as a family:
- Dance to your children's favorite music
- Go for a hike
- Toss a ball or Frisbee
- Take a family bike ride
- Walk the dog or volunteer as a family at local shelters to walk dogs
- Play tennis
What Can You Do?
Parents and caregivers play a powerful role in the development of children. Let your actions speak louder than words; let your children see you active. By displaying healthy behaviors you can have a positive impact on the behaviors of your children.
Provide your family with opportunities for fun and safe play!
Skip sugar sweetened beverages, drink more water and low fat milk
Skip the soda and sugar-sweetened sports and fruit drinks. Instead, drink water and three to four servings a day of fat-free/skim or 1 percent milk.
Why avoid sugary beverages?
What can you do?
- Set a healthy example by role modeling, let your children see that you can be sugar free
- Instead of sugary beverages, try adding a slice of your favorite fruit to some water
- Read the label before you buy a beverage
Take a look at how much sugar is in some popular children's drinks:
|Snapple Lemonade Iced Tea
|Hershey's Chocolate Milk
|Gatorade Thirst Quencher
|Coca Cola Classic
|Red Bull Energy Drink
|Tropicana Healthy Kids Orange Juice
|Miniute Maid Coolers
|Minute Maid 100% Apple Juice
For sugar-free resources, visit:
Kids...Sweet enough without soda.
Every living creature needs to sleep. It is the primary activity of the brain during early development. Circadian rhythms , or the sleep-wake cycle, are regulated by light and dark and these rhythms take time to develop, resulting in the irregular sleep schedules of newborns. The rhythms begin to develop at about six weeks, and by three to six months most infants have a regular sleep-wake cycle.
By the age of two, most children have spent more time asleep than awake and overall, a child will spend 40 percent of his or her childhood asleep. Sleep is especially important for children as it directly impacts mental and physical development.
There are two alternating types or states of sleep: Non-Rapid Eye Movement (NREM) or "quiet" sleep. During the deep states of NREM sleep, blood supply to the muscles is increased, energy is restored, tissue growth and repair occur, and important hormones are released for growth and development. Rapid Eye Movement(REM) or "active" sleep. During REM sleep, our brains are active and dreaming occurs. Our bodies become immobile, breathing and heart rates are irregular.
Babies spend 50 percent of their time in each of these states and the sleep cycle is about 50 minutes. At about six months of age, REM sleep comprises about 30 percent of sleep. By the time children reach preschool age, the sleep cycle is about every 90 minutes.
For more information, CLICK HERE to go to the Sleep Well page on this website