Help thread celebrate National Children’s Health Month this October! The month promotes health in young children and the importance of keeping them healthy throughout their lives. You can help children develop healthy habits and keep them safe in your environments with these key tips:
- Wash Hands. Learning to wash hands regularly at an early age can help children prevent the spread of germs. Teaching children to sing a song while hand washing will help meet the recommended time of 20 seconds for washing hands thoroughly.
- Eat Breakfast. Researchers have proved that eating breakfast helps children do better in school and increases their health benefits. Ask your child’s school or child care provider if they offer free or low-cost breakfast options to help your children get a healthy start to the day!
- Be Active. Children receive many benefits from being physically active – stronger bones and muscles, better sleep, reduced feelings of depression and stress, and staying focused in school. School-age children need at least 60 minutes of physical activity every day. Preschool-age children should be active throughout each day. Find ways to incorporate physical activity into your daily lives, like walking or biking most places you go.
- Protect Environments. Check your home for pollutants like lead, mold, radon, and VOC sources. Properly filter air and ventilate spaces with clean air. Use chemicals in the home/school cautiously, smartly, and according to labeled directions.
- Prepare for the Unexpected! Learn about best practices for protecting children during environmental emergencies like smoke events or heat waves.
- Sleep. Children need adequate sleep to grow and develop properly. The recommended amount of sleep varies by age, but most children need between 9 and 12 hours of sleep a night.
- Support Mental Health. Mental health is just as important as physical health. You can support children in your care by building a close relationship with them, providing structure and boundaries, fostering independence, encouraging social connections, teaching healthy habits, and modeling positive behavior.
- Oral Health. Taking good care of your child’s teeth helps freshen breath, improve gum health, and helps build strong and healthy teeth. In the mornings and evenings, prompt your child to brush their teeth.
Use these tips, share them with others, and raise awareness about the importance of protecting children, especially those in vulnerable populations, from environmental threats where they live, learn and play.