I hope everyone had a wonderful summer break!
Now that a new school year is beginning, whether or not your child is starting his or her very first preschool year, going back for another year, or transitioning to kindergarten, First 5 San Diego would like to keep reminding every parent the importance of early literacy. In our July – August newsletter, we provided a list of summer reading programs and tips for parents to make your child’s summer full of literary fun, and I hope you had taken those tips and had your child participate in some of the programs. With the start of a new school year, it is important to keep talking, reading, and singing to your child every day – build good reading habits so your child can do better in school and have a successful career later in life.
The first five years are also critical periods for the development of healthy eating habits, which can lead to a child’s lifelong well-being. In 2013, First 5 San Diego kicked off the Healthy Start Campaign to get families to adopt healthy eating habits at home. The Healthy Start website offers nutrition tips, recipes and activities for parents and caregivers to provide healthy food choices and developing healthy eating habits to children at an early age. Check out our Healthy Start page for more information. Here are some tips on developing healthy eating habits for your child during the new school year:
- Make half of the plate fruits and vegetables – the National Childhood Obesity Prevention Program recommends that every child should eat 5 or more servings of fruits and vegetables every day
- Make at least half your grains whole – eating whole grains as part of your daily foods consumption will help to reduce the risk of heart disease, type 2 diabetes, obesity and blood cholesterol levels
- Limit portion sizes. Don’t insist your child cleans the plate, and never use food as a reward or bribe
- Drink more water instead of sugary drinks and other beverages
- Spend 1 hour or more on physical activity every day
Remember, being a good role model is important to help your child develop healthy habits early in life. When your child sees you reading, eating right and being physically active, he or she is more likely to imitate you and start a positive and healthy lifestyle.