So it’s almost week 3 of January, and if you’re like me you’re still in denial about the “fact” that THIS is the year you’ll actually stick to your healthy eating/exercising more resolution. Then you go to the gym you just joined for $10 with three thousand other people who did the same and you become overwhelmed and annoyed. (I ate a salad today, so I’m still on track, right?)
Your resolutions are obviously yours and I hope you reach all your goals this new year! However, think about bringing your kids into the picture on this one. (Like they don’t take up enough of your time, right?) Stay with me. Make YOUR healthy habits THEIR healthy habits! In my experience kids are great accountability partners because they remember literally everything. To promote healthy and safe habits as a family, here are some activities to get your little ones thinking about and beginning healthy habits:
Go for a walk!
Colorado Springs is FULL of amazing scenery, walking trails, hiking spots, and typically gorgeous weather. Make it a daily or weekly goal to take your kids outside for a walk. If they aren’t big on the idea they can ride along in a wagon or stroller. They can scooter or bike as well! This is a good opportunity to talk about street safety and why wearing a helmet is important. Not to mention the vast opportunity for language input! Talk about the trees, the leaves, changing seasons, birds, squirrels, you name it! I know you brought your phone on this walk, so Google whatever type of butterfly that was and talk to your kid about it.
Let your child cut out (with supervision of course) or draw different healthy foods they like and glue them to a paper plate. Talk about them and the differences between healthy and unhealthy foods.
The “Ants on a Log” celery peanut butter combo never gets old! If your kiddo doesn’t like raisins, I recommend dark chocolate chips/chunks, cacao nibs, or blueberries. Ask your child to make up a story about the ants. Take it a step further if you’d like and have them draw pictures and make a book! Even if your child cannot read yet, drawing pictures and telling people about them is a giant leap into early literacy skills. You could write their story on the bottom of the pages for them and have them practice tracing letters.
Now you may be thinking this isn’t at all health related, but being safe is part of being healthy and honestly this is just something I think is important, so THERE. We all love furry friends, but not ALL of these furries are friendly. Teach your child to always ask a pet owner if they can pet their dog before touching it. This is good practice for social communication, requesting, engaging with different communication partners, as well as the obvious general safety concept. Practice at home by pretending a stuffed animal is a real dog. Give your child the chance to work and talk through the “yes” scenario and the “no” scenario. Teach your kids how to spot service dogs and WHY it’s important not to touch them when they’re working.
Silly Songs! I know you know this song! “I like to eat, eat, eat, apples and bananas!” Then change the vowel sounds. Do A, E, I, O, and U to either drive yourself crazy or help develop your child’s auditory discrimination skills! Eat apples and bananas as a snack and add some peanut butter if it’s a non-preferred food.
Your local library has tons of general children’s activities (THAT ARE FREE), but they also have books about health/safety and eating well! Here are some recommended by librarians and educators:
- The Things I Can Do, Jeff Mack
- Clarabella’s Teeth, Ann Vrombaut
- I.Q. Gets Fit, Mary Ann Frasier
- How do Dinosaurs Get Well Soon? Jane Yolen
- The Going to Bed Book, Sandra Boynton
- My Trip to the Hospital, Mercer Mayer
- Little Yoga: A toddler’s First Book of Yoga, Rebecca Whitford
- I Like Berries, Do You?, Marjorie Pitzer
- No Dragons for Tea: Fire Safety for Kids (and Dragons), Hean E. Pendziwol