Tips, Tools and Activities
Spring into the growing season! Have a family huddle this month to talk about food that grows. Ask your children, “What makes a healthy plant grow?” And, “How many different ways do fruit and veggies grow?” Write down the variety of responses shared by their young and entertaining minds, then share with them that plants need sunshine to live and air to breath – just like them. Plants also need water for their roots to grow and soil for their roots to live. Sunshine, air, water, and soil--these four things help plants to grow. Share with your children that fruit and veggies can grow in the ground, on a vine, in a tree, or on a bush. During your family meal, ask your children to identify foods that are from plants.
Keeping our best foot forward requires us to get the sleep our bodies and minds need. The same way that food, work, and school schedules provide structure to our daily lives, sleep is essential to our overall health and well-being. Here are a few tips to get through spring’s daylight changes:
- Tired but not too tired. It often takes overly tired children longer to fall asleep and may even cause them to resist sleep completely.
- Keep the sun outside. As the sun begins to set later, take the necessary steps to keep the room cool and dark and ensure that bedtime routines are preparing the body for sleep.
- No tickle monster games before bed! Children with good sleep routines that include quiet time before bed, stay in their bed through the night and generally do not need help to fall asleep. They will cope well with the changes when they know what to expect at the end of the day regardless of the time.
Play Every Day
Spring break is a great time for fun. Lots of fun games can be played outside in fresh air and sunshine. Now that days are longer and the weather is finally beginning to warm up, classic outdoor games like Red Light, Green Light and Four-Square are perfect for kids and families to play together. The healthy news is that you all will get physical activity while having fun! Think of games that encourage running and continuous movement. Games like SPUD, where everyone runs as far and fast as possible from the person who is throwing the ball, and Tag, where everyone is constantly moving to avoid the “tagger,” and Dodge Ball, when a very soft ball is thrown at your legs, are great games to keep everyone active.
How can I get my school-aged children to try vegetables?
Bring your child to the grocery store or market and have them pick out a vegetable to try; involving people of all ages in the selection process can lend to more taste testing. Provide some guidance at the store, such as, 'pick something orange or yellow to try this week.' Or ask them to pick the vegetable for dinner. Show them that you value their interest in produce. When they ask questions about a vegetable—what it is or what it tastes like—make certain to bring it home and taste it as a family. You may need to do a little research to learn about cooking or preparation methods, but in the end you may discover a new family favorite.