Let’s be honest, staying on track and sticking to your goals is HARD. I’d be lying if I said I haven’t slipped up in making changes in the first 20-ish days of the new year. (Donuts are my favorite thing on this earth). BUT hopefully my next round of tips and activities can make your journey a little easier!
What are some vegetables sitting in the back of your fridge from the “I’m going to be super healthy” trip to the grocery store this year? Cut off the bad parts and throw them in a soup! Include your kids in the cooking process. This is a great time for them to learn the fundamentals of cooking and how to use measuring spoons, cups, and follow a basic recipe even if it’s out of your brain. Also, HELLO LANGUAGE INPUT! Think of all the vocabulary they can learn! If you don’t have enough ingredients, draw all of them you’d put in your soup and play pretend. If you feel so inclined, research composting to lessen food waste! Something I learned this week: the majority of food waste in this country happens IN OUR HOMES. If you’d like to learn more check out this podcast from NPR: https://www.npr.org/2019/12/10/786867315/how-to-reduce-food-waste
Talk to your kids about the importance of limiting sugar in a positive way. Explain that it’s okay to have sugary things sometimes, but not all the time because too much of some things can be bad for you. Think of other examples of things that are bad for you in large amounts to help solidify this concept. Things such as:
-Too much sun will give you a sun burn
-Too much to eat can give you a tummy ache
-Too much caffeine can make you shaky
-Too much TV time can make your brain “mushy”
Have a “no sugar day” and think about making these days a weekly occurrence. Here’s a momma who tried it and succeeded!
Sorry, I’m a millennial, so BuzzFeed is everything.
Have the kiddos exercise by giving them two things to do at a time such as: jump up and then sit down. Use jumps, running, crawling, crab walks, lunges, etc. Increase to three things, then maybe 4.
Following 1-2 step directions is one of the most common goals on my caseload right now. Teaching kids to listen is difficult, but a game like Simon Says is the easiest way for them to learn when they’re young.(Plus this disguises the fact you’re actively parenting by trying to TEACH them things *scary music*)
Sing Head Shoulders Knees and Toes to keep up their energy!
Play tag or jump rope. (This is good cardio for parents too, don’t just watch!) If it’s too cold outside, have a dance party inside! If your child is a baby bounce them on your knees while you sing the alphabet or count.
During bath time talk about why it’s important to be clean. Make up your own bath time song or find one on YouTube you like.
Side note: Since we’re talking about safety as well as health this month, I’d like to stress the importance of teaching your child the anatomically correct names for their body parts and who is allowed to see/touch those parts. ESPECIALLY if your child has difficulties communicating. If a kid tells me someone touched their (schnooty, muffin, tee tee, thingy, etc.) I have no idea what that means.
Here is a podcast from NPR talking about how to talk to your kids about their bodies, consent, and the language to use when they ask questions about their bodies in the future; all backed up, researched, and supported by doctors and psychologists who have been published in the American Academy of Pediatrics. The title of this podcast is scary, but trust me, I’ve listened to it and it has lots of good information. It’s obviously not required you do anything talked about in this podcast because they’re YOUR kids. You do what works best for YOUR family. https://www.npr.org/2019/12/12/787466794/the-birds-and-the-bees-how-to-talk-to-children-about-sex
Make an evacuation plan in case of a fire
You could draw a map of your house and practice–make it a race. A good meeting spot is the mailbox, but if you don’t have one in front of your house use your best judgement for a safe location.
Local Fire Department websites have additional resources for talking about fire safety in a way that isn’t scary.
PLUS, did you know if you don’t know how to install your car seat they’ll do it for you?
Here is a link to the Colorado Springs Fire Department’s page on fire safety in the home:
Talk about LAST Year
Make a list with your child of their favorite memories of last year.
Have them draw some of the memories to share with friends and family.
Make it a book! Add your own pictures!
This is really great for memory skills, story re-tell, and sequential/temporal concepts.
These concepts are another very common goal on my caseload so get your kids practicing using language such as first, next last, before, after, etc.