Staying Healthy, Having Fun
Eating well and moving our bodies helps us stay healthy.
Staying healthy is about how we eat, how we move, and how we think. You can help your child make staying healthy into a regular and fun routine with a few simple activities.
Establishing a healthy diet is a very important routine to set up with your child. The more you involve your child in establishing these habits, the easier it will be to make them a routine.
- Eat the rainbow –Together, name colorful things to eat like red strawberries, orange carrots, green peas, blueberries, and purple blackberries. You can even make a rainbow chart so that they can keep track of which colors they’ve filled in that day!
- Water, water everywhere – Encourage your child to drink six to eight cups a day by having them pick out a special water drinking cup that only they are in charge of. You can also create fun ways to track their water drinking, like adding a stone or bean to a jar for each cup they drink.
It’s also important to help your child build healthy habits to take care of their bodies, both by getting exercise and practicing good hygiene.
- Adventure walks – Turn exercise into an exploration. You might discover the woods in your area, or investigate a new block or neighborhood. Work with your child to create a map of where you’ve been and make a plan to fill in more and more of the map as you make new discoveries.
- Family challenges – A little competition can lead to a lot of fun. Create your own family Olympics with any kind of activity that everyone can try. Maybe it’s a certain number of jumping jacks or soccer kicks or how many minutes you spend on the playground.
- Make screen time active time – The internet is full of kid-friendly workout videos. Find a few that seem to fit your child, and then do them together. Engaging hosts and themed exercises can turn staying fit into an exciting treat!
- Healthy teeth and healthy hands – It’s not enough to exercise, you have to keep yourself healthy. So, make sure your child is regularly washing her hands and brushing her teeth after every meal. To help build the habit, be a good model. Wash hands and brush teeth together (it will be good for you, too!)
- Sleep matters! – Getting a good night’s sleep is one of the most important ways to stay healthy. It can help to set up consistent routines, that include relaxation before bed, such as a hot bath and a book, and regular times to fall asleep and wake up. Bedtime might be another time for deep breaths and sharing ‘thankful for moments’ from the day.
Healthy Mind and Heart
Staying healthy isn’t just about the body, it’s also important to take care of your mind and your heart.
- Mindful moments – Taking just five minutes to sit and quietly breathe together is an amazing way to start the day. See if you can set aside a little time before you walk out the door or really start your day to sit with your child and do nothing but take deep, quiet breaths. A little meditation can go a long way.
- Being thankful – As part of your dinner or bedtime routine, have everyone in the family say one thing they are thankful for. It could be something big, like winning a basketball game, or something small, like appreciating nature. This routine is especially helpful when you’ve had a really hard day, because it is a reminder that no matter what, there are always things to be grateful for.
Building a new habit can be hard. Often, we start new routines and succeed for a while, but then regular life interferes. We might have a crazy day that interrupts our schedule, have a bad night’s sleep that makes it hard to get motivated, or just forget! It’s important to remember that this happens to everyone! In fact, trying, failing, then trying again is a key part of starting a new habit. It can take weeks before any habit becomes a regular part of your life.