3 Tips to Honor National Child Health Day
Hmmm… a day set aside to observe child health? If the Powers That Be were serious about child health, they’d ban the sales of junk food for the day, or at least ban their advertisements so parents would be less inclined to pick up junk for their kids. Or, how about this? Create an advertising campaign for National Child Health Day that begins a month before the date!
Be that as it may, it’s up to us. How would you like to observe National Child Health Day? I have a suggestion (of course I do). Take a baby step in the direction of raising awareness in your kids.
Tell them about it and ask them to brainstorm with you all the healthy practices the whole family can do for the day. Brainstorm the unhealthy practices you can let go for just that day. Set up a jar competition where every family member has their own to track what they do throughout the day. The winner gets to pick the menu for tomorrow’s dinner.
Here are 3 stellar ideas you can share when you brainstorm (No, that’s not cheating. That’s… um… research.)
Start making WATER your #1 household beverage. How? A little bit at a time.
- Pick a non-water drink you and your kids enjoy and read the ingredients.
- Then look up one of its ingredients that doesn’t grow out of the earth. Search for “Health Problems with [ingredient]”
- Approach your kids. “I’ve been having [symptom], and I just read that [ingredient] causes it. AND, it’s in [household beverage]. I’m going to ask that none of us have it in the house for 3 weeks so I can see if I feel better. Then we can test it.”
- If they argue, send them on their own research project to prove you wrong.
- Invest in a Brita Pitcher so you can filter your water. Grocery chains like Stop&Shop carry them.
- Replace that drink with water, and only water.
- In 3 weeks, reintroduce the beverage by having it three times in one day, and see how you feel.
Then, keep the momentum going. Repeat with another non-water drink. I realize this first tip changes National Child Health Day into National Child Health 3 Weeks, but aren’t your kids worth it?
Start by ditching anything with artificial sweeteners in it (including Stevia). If you don’t do chemical sweeteners, drop a sugary drink. Even if all you drink is fruit juice, its sugar floods your body in high amounts at once without the benefit of early digestive juices. (Our body is designed to add saliva to food while you chew to break down sugars and starches. Drinking juice skips that step.)
Get Up and Play With Your Kids! An hourly 5-minute break of rolling around and giggling with them provides these benefits for you all:
- Movement and laughter increases blood flow to the brain, which provides more oxygen.
- Breathing deeply while laughing massages your organs and strengthens your core muscles.
- Smiling and laughing produce your happy hormones, the effects of which last long after your 5-minute wrestling match, or game of tag, is over.
- Your kids will feel closer to you as you build warm, loving memories with them.
- The interruption will break any negative cycles being created by schoolwork, especially with middle and high schoolers.
This simple technique converts National Child Health Day into National Child Fun Day. What the heck? Why not make it National Child Health Year and do this every day?
Tip #3 (Optional)
Educate yourself on why you should eat organic. I showed the movie “Food, Inc.” to every class when I taught Environmental Science. However, it is quite disturbing, so you might only want to share segments of it with your middle schoolers. And definitely view it before you share it with your high schoolers so you’ll know what to expect.
The bottom line is it’s healthier for your kids to eat organic foods (not foods labeled “natural”). During a time where we are trying especially hard to stay healthy, eating healthy boosts the immune system. When you consume junk foods or processed foods, your body has to devote its resources to removing the bogus ingredients. When germs find us, we don’t want our body busy fighting the food we eat. We want it healthy and ready to fight a virus.
The problem is organics are more expensive because they are not subsidized by the government the way GMO crops are. My suggestion is you devote 10% of your grocery budget to buying organic whole foods because every little bit helps.
Hey, here’s an idea. Put the money you save by substituting water for less healthy beverages toward organic veggies and fruit! Yup, that’s a win-win!
For more parenting tips and activities to do with your children, check out my book, “How To Keep Your Daughter From Slamming the Door,” and share it with another person you think might enjoy!