Tips for Healthy Childhood Development Leading Up to Healthy Kids Day
YMCA of Greater Kansas City locations across the metro are holding free community events to inspire more kids to keep their minds and bodies active all summer long. Healthy Kids Day®, the Y’s national initiative to improve families’ health and well-being, features games, arts and crafts and more to motivate and teach families how to develop healthy routines at home.
One in three U.S. children is obese, and when summertime hits, kids will be more idle. Research shows that without access to out-of-school physical and learning activities, kids fall behind academically and gain weight twice as fast during summer than the school year. Healthy Kids Day is an opportunity for the community to focus on what kids need to grow and achieve all summer long.
In celebration of YMCA’s Healthy Kids Day, the Y offers the following tips to help families develop healthy habits this summer that can have a lifetime effect:
- High Five the Fruits and Veggies – Make sure kids get at least five servings a day, the minimum number nutritionists recommend to maintain healthy childhood development. And to keep kids’ taste buds evolving, have everyone in the family try at least one bite of a new fruit or vegetable at least once a month.
- Read Together – The summer is a great time to enjoy books with summer program participants—and 30 minutes a day goes a long way! Take trips to the local library or create a family reading challenge to see who can log the most minutes of reading. Encourage youth to create their own stories as well.
- Get Moving! – Activities that require movement also help kids flex their mental muscle. Use materials in unique ways: ask youth to build models, manipulate tools or develop their own theatrical scenes.
- Play Together – Play may be the best way to prevent childhood obesity. By putting more play into your family’s day, you will soon find yourself getting the activity that will have your family feeling energized and strong.
- Make sleep a priority – Doctors recommend 10-12 hours of sleep a day for children ages 5-12 and 7-8 hours per night for adults. Sleep plays a critical role in maintaining our healthy immune system, metabolism, mood, memory, learning and other vital functions.