National Kids to Parks Day

This Saturday May 21, 2011 is National Kids to Parks Day!

Did you know that preschoolers and toddlers are supposed to get 120 minutes of play each day? 60 minutes of active play where they can run, jump, do whatever they want! and 60 minutes of structed play where adults help teach them active skills such as kicking a ball or swinging a bat. Older children are supposed to play 60 minutes a day! and all children should not be seated for more than 30 minutes at a time except when sleeping or eating.

This active play contributes to learning in young children. Their social skills grow as they interect with adults, other children, and even objects in the environment. Through active play children obtain necessary motor skills such as jumping, hopping, galloping, kicking, and throwing. Even better, joining your child in active play lets you reach your physical activity goal of 30 minutes a day and also spend quality time with your family!

In an effort to get our kids outside and moving more, make your pledge today to get outside and to a national, state, or local park! Go HERE to pledge!

Can’t get to a park that day? There are still lots of things you can with your family to get active!

  • Set up an obstacle course around the house or in the garage. Skip, walk backwards, crawl, bounce, or throw a ball in different parts of the obstacle course.
  • Move to Music. Put on music to get your children moving. Props can be used such as scarves or musical instruments.
  • Go on a nature walk. Have children bring a plastic bag to collect leaves, small sticks, and acorns. Ask them about each item as they put it intheir bag. When you get home you can make a collage with their findings!
  • Have a special day of the week, such as Bike Day, Pool Day, Park Day, or (your child’s name) Day. Let your children pick any outdoor acitivity of their choice for that day.
  • Go sledding on a small hill in the winter. Make snow people, snow structures, and snow angels.

To help kids get more active make a few small changes at home:

  • Keep TVs out of children’s bedrooms. Having a television in a child’s bedroom has been linked to overweight, poorer academic test scores, and sleep problems.
  • Purchase multipurpose and inexpensive toys such as different size balls, hula hoops, jump ropes, scarves, and used tricycle and scooters. (Remember the helmets!)
  • Remove breakable items from your child’s room and/or any play rooms. This will allow fo rmore activity without worrying about breaking anything!
  • Schedule family active play time daily.

Get out and Get moving! Don’t forget to pledge!

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Influencing Children’s Eating Habits

**Interested in participating in a Summer Wellness Program? Leave me a comment!**

I just started a new position at the Weber-Morgan Health Department. I’m working on a childcare initiative aimed at improving nutrition and physical activity in preschool aged children. It’s really interesting and motivating for me personally because my kids are toddlers and this information really pertains to them.

In my initial research I’ve found some great tips to help YOU influence what your children eat and to make healthy choices easier!

Parents have a lifelong effect on their children’s eating habits. Children aren’t only influenced by what we do, but what we say. There are many things parents can do to help children establish healthy eating habits. First here are some important points about parents influence on children’s nutrition:

  • Parents control what foods enter the house.
  • Parents decide how food is prepared and served.
  • Parents can encourage children to try new foods and role model this behavior themselves (this is hard for me because I’m not an adventurous eater but I’m doing better and feel that my example is very important to my kids.)
  • Happy, fun family mealtimes will create a positive outlook towards food and vice versa.
  • Eating as a family improves academic achievement scores and overall nutrient intake, and helps reduce behavior problems.

Make Mealtime a Time to Enjoy Your Family.

  • Turn off the TV and computer
  • Turn off the phones and enjoy conversation with your family.
  • Sit down together.
  • Take time to talk to each other.
  • Listen to everyone.
  • Let your children talk about things they are interested in.
  • Keep conversations positive so mealtimes are happy times!

Division of Responsibility

Children like to be in control and often one of the only things they’re able to control is what they eat. Therefore, to avoid mealtime battles and encourage healthy eating; it is helpful to given children the power of control. Just keep “the division of reponsibility” in mind. It is the parent’s reponsibility to buy, prepare, and serve healthy meals and snacks. It is the child’s responsibility to decide if, how much, and what to eat. If this “division of responsiblity” is respected, children will learn to try new foods, recognize their fullness cues, and maintain lifelong healthy eating habits.

Quick Breakfast Ideas

  • Peanut Butter on whole grain Toast
  • Whole Wheat Bagels with Neufchatel Cream Cheese
  • Oatmeal with Applesauce
  • Whole Wheat Pita Bread and Low-Fat Yogurt
  • Cereal with milk and fruit (Try to go with a whole grain cereal rather than a sugary cereal)
  • Toasted whole wheat waffle with sliced fruit

 This recipe for whole wheat pancakes is delicious and can be frozen for quick use later! and THIS strawberry sauce recipe would be a great substitute for maple syrup.

I think the most important thing is to be a good example! Our kids want to be like us. If they see us eating healthy foods and enjoying them, then they’ll follow.

How do you get your kids to eat healthy? 

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