Tips, Tools and Activities
Focus on developing healthy sleep habits this month by reducing stress at bedtime. Each night as it gets closer to bedtime, it is important that children have time to wind down and release any stress or tension that they might have built up throughout the day. Often, bedtime is a stressful and dreaded process for children, but by working to create a relaxing, stress-free environment it can become a pleasant and comforting experience; something they look forward to in fact. Incorporate a quiet and relaxing family activity, such as story time or a low-energy game before bed. This is a great way to wind the day down slowly with family and prepare for sleep without added stress and anxiety.
March is National Nutrition Month! Celebrate by taking active steps to eating nutritious meals, every day. Itâ€™s often most difficult to make healthy eating choices when weâ€™re on-the-go; the mornings happen to be a rough time in particular. Whether thereâ€™s limited time for a meal, lack of appetite, many things may lead you to choose the quickest option as opposed to the healthiest option in the morning. The good news is that healthy breakfast options are available no matter what morning hurdles you may face. Here are a few quick breakfast options for your family:
- Mix low-fat plain yogurt with whole-grain cereal or oats, and serve with apple slices.
- Blend low-fat milk, frozen strawberries and a banana for a 30-second smoothie.
- Add dried cranberries and almonds to quick-cooking oatmeal.
Be a role model and eat breakfast. If your child sees you making time to eat a healthy meal, he or she will follow your example.
Being physically active as a family is extremely important. It encourages regular physical activity, provides extra family time, but most importantly, it allows you to role model and pass on healthy habits to children. Find activities you all enjoy and be active for at least 30 minutes a day, five days a week. Whether you can play indoors or outdoors this month, here are some activities to do as a family:
- Organize the family room or living room for more activity. Push tables and furniture out of the way. Think kid's yoga or dancing to music after dinner.
- Encourage kids to participate in active chores such as light housework, vacuuming, sweeping the walks or cleaning the garage. Make the chores fun to doâ€”turn on some music in the garage and do the chores with them.
- If weather permits, take a walk outside. Engage in active learning through nature.
Q: My child wants to eat the same food for every meal. She keeps asking for it meal after meal, despite the fact I've prepared other options. What are some ways I can get her to eat different things?
A:When a child continues to ask for the same food all of the time, it's known as a "food jag." A common occurrence in toddlers, a food jag is not harmful if the food is healthy, but can be frustrating for parents to deal with, especially when we want to promote a healthy, diverse menu. Try offering the same foods, but include other foods alongside to encourage variety and have them slowly try new or different foods. Most times, the child will grow tired of the food they've been asking for. If your child rejects whole categories of food for more than two weeks, talk to your child's doctor or a registered dietitian and create an action plan.