Do you know if your kids are healthy? If the answer is no, don’t feel bad! Today’s kids grow up in a very different world than the one in which you grew up, making it hard to separate the good and bad from the benign. Take a few minutes to do this healthy lifestyle check-up that will help you determine whether your kids are right on track or a little behind.
Joining the rainbow plate club
Over the course of the next week, take note of the meals you’re serving your child and ask her what she’s eating at school. If you start noticing a “beige” trend packed with foods like French fries, chicken nuggets, buttered toast, mashed potatoes, cookies, chips and crackers, it’s probably time to join the “rainbow plate club.” The American Heart Association emphasizes that it’s extremely important for your child to receive a wide variety of fruits and vegetables to remain fit and healthy. Aim to include bright, colorful foods on your menu each day by following the colors of the rainbow. If you can get your child to eat red, orange, yellow, green and blue or purple foods each day, she’ll be well on her way to a healthy, happy life! Oh, and rainbow colored Goldfish crackers don’t count!
Running for their lives
Staying active and fit will pay off huge later in your child’s life, so it’s extremely important that you make sure he’s meeting the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines of at least 60 minutes of moderate physical activity each day. It doesn’t have to all be in one bout either. Walking to school, riding bikes with friends, going to soccer practice and participating in school PE all add up toward that 60 minutes. Just remember — your child may be in soccer practice for an hour, but that doesn’t mean he’s actually running around the whole time. Keep your estimates low, and aim for a higher amount of activity to make sure he’s hitting the mark.
It’s tough to make sure your children sleep enough, especially when they’re loaded up with homework, extracurricular activities and social engagements. Just remember, children between the ages of 3 and 12 should get at least 10 hours of sleep a day, according to WebMD. Teens should get at least eight hours a day. Even if you can’t always control the time your child goes to bed or wakes up, you can help cut down on sleep distractions by removing cell phones and TVs from your children’s bedrooms.
Limiting screen time
Between computers, cell phones and televisions, your child probably spends a lot of time in front of a screen. While television and video games can actually be positive influences on your child’s health and well-being, they can go overboard. Too much screen time may prevent your child from being active or pursuing face-time with peers. KidsHealth suggests that children over 2 years old spend no more than two hours watching TV or playing video games each day.