What exactly do we mean when we talk about physical activity at daycare and preschool? How do you know if you provide enough of the "right" kind of opportunities to help kids get moving? What can you do to encourage more active play?
In short, aim for a wide variety of activities that get all kids moving at the same time. Sprinkle activities throughout the day in age-appropriate lengths of time.
There is some variation in recommendations for children five years and under. We often refer to the best practice of 120 minutes per day, recommended by the National Assocation for Sport and Physical Education, knowing that this is more than the "1 hour" recommended for ages 6 to adult.
We're in the habit of celebrating with food—usually sweets and candy with lots of empty calories. But it's easy to rethink how you party in the classroom or at day care when you're equipped with fun alternatives that kids love. We've got 15 fun and healthy school celebration ideas to help!
Why healthier classroom celebrations?
Why does your school or child care center need a healthy school celebrations policy that extends to birthdays, holidays, and special events? "A birthday is just once a year," we might think—but if you have 25 or more student birthdays, and add in Halloween, winter break, Valentine's Day, the 100th day of school, the last day of school...you can easily accumulate 7 full weeks of sugary treats!
Many local restaurants offer convenient and affordable delivery options for "catering" a lunch event at the office. If your workplace relies on this type of food service, the following tips can help everyone eat healthier.
Choose buffet style over boxed lunches
Boxed lunches typically include a sandwich, chips, dessert, and a piece of fruit. Limiting selection in this way often means that individuals eat larger portions than they'd choose for themselves. Plus, colleagues that don't like the featured fruit get no fruit at all.
Buffet style, on the other hand, usually offers enough variety for everyone to find something healthy they like to eat and enables colleagues to control their own portion sizes.
Makers of sports drinks and energy drinks brag about the beverages' benefits, but physicians and other scientists tell a different story.
Save your money, drink water
"Sports drinks" are flavored beverages that contain carbohydrates (usually sugar—like 18 teaspoons of it) and eletrolytes such as sodium and potassium. Ads claim to help athletes rehydrate and replace important nutrients lost through sweat better than water does. Popular brands include Gatorade and Powerade.
"Energy drinks" claim to increase energy, aid weight loss, and improve concentration. Popular brands include Monster, Red Bull, and Rockstar.
But the truth is that few of us actually need sports drinks, and energy drinks are outright dangerous for children and teens. To save money and promote good health, drink water instead.
Parents can't know what we don't tell them, so be sure to introduce your wellness vision at the beginning of the school year and take steps to reinforce it all year long. Here are four strategies to increase parent engagement and the tools you need to implement them:
Introduce your wellness plan
Create a welcome letter that introduces parents to the rationale for making wellness a priority in your school/classroom, shares your goals, and sets expectations for what they may see from you throughout the year.
You might include:
Lots of us express a desire to "be healthier," and to "raise healthy children," but what does that mean, exactly? Health and wellness tips may be widely available, but sometimes they feel contradictory and confusing. How do you know which sources to trust?
Our friends at Let's Go! created a simple slogan to help you remember four ways to be healthy every day: 5-2-1-0. These research-proven recommendations come from experts at the American Academy of Pediatrics, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Like adults, kids need to stay active throughout the day. Active kids feel less stressed, sleep better at night, gain more focus, are more ready to learn, and develop healthy bones, muscles, and joints.
One way to make sure that children in your care are getting enough movement throughout the day is to incorporate movement into learning. Below is a list of suggested resources. Check them out and get moving!
Given the number of hours that full-time employees spend in the workplace, it isn't hard to imagine that habits established or reinforced at the office spill over into the family home.
Employers can play a vital role in promoting healthy habits for their employees and employees' families. The returns on investment are real—less absenteeism, increased employee productivity, and reduced health care costs, to name a few.
The key is to use your existing communications tools and other simple strategies to educate and motivate employees about wellness, provide access to helpful resources, and create a workplace culture that values healthy living. Here are three ways to share information and promote healthy choices:
School is out (or almost out), and daylight is plentiful, so make a commitment to help kids be active this summer—in your home, your child care center, camp, or wherever you are!
Everyone—children and adults alike—needs at least one hour of physical activity every day. But physical activity doesn't have to mean exercise. Active play is physical activity, too, so have fun with these physical activity ideas for kids and families:
- Go on a group bike ride.
- Play games like Freeze Tag and Red Light/Green Light.
- Have a backyard/courtyard dance party—invite the neighbors, take turns playing DJ.