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How can parents prepare children to wear masks at school?

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With school returning soon, Kiddies vision Magazine provides advice to parents on how to ease children into getting used to wearing masks in school.

Many parents are now asking how they can get their child to wear a mask for an entire school day if they have to return to school in-person. Thinking about this right now, rather than the day before your child returns to school is the best time to do so, because with proper preparation, most children can learn to wear facial coverings. There are several different steps parents can take to make the process more tolerable for their child.

Choice matters

A first step is letting the child choose the look of the mask they will wear. By looking online, parents may be able to find pre-made children’s masks with characters or activities that are favorites of the child. Jumia/gearbest is selling children’s masks in colors to match their their choice, so if children have favorite colors or want to have masks to match favorite outfits, that can be a possibility. kindly look get one for them!!

If caregivers can’t find pre-made masks that match any of their child’s choices, there are patterns available to make childrens’ masks, and the caregiver can then allow the child to choose material they like to make the mask. The more choice the child has in their own mask, the more invested they will be in wearing it. Your can as well check this Professional Face Mask 3-Layers for children 30% Off

Sensory issues

Some children, especially children with a variety of disabilities, are sensitive to the feeling of masks. They may have problems with the sensation of the fabric on the face or the elastic over the back of the ears. There are a few solutions for this issue. Some masks are made out of a softer jersey material that may be more tolerable on the face.

There are also neck gaiters that are popular with athletes that can be pulled up from around the neck; a parent can try one of these to see if this is more tolerable than a traditional face mask. If the ear elastics are a problem, there are several potential solutions. Many retailers that sell masks are also selling plastic ear savers, a small piece that sits at the back of the head and holds the elastic straps instead of the straps hooking around the ears.

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There are also two do-it-yourself options caregivers could choose; headbands or ball caps or other hats with buttons on the sides. If the child will tolerate wearing any of those headgear, simply attach buttons on the side right by where the ears are, and then when putting the mask on, slide the elastic straps over the buttons instead of the ears.

Gradual use

The best tip for teaching your child to wear a mask is that this is a gradual learning process.

Care givers should start acclimating the child to their mask early and do it in a way that matches their age and developmental level. Start by having them put on the mask while they are engaged in an activity they enjoy and have them wear it for only a short period of time, as long is tolerable before they start fidgeting or seem uncomfortable. Reinforce them for proper mask wearing.

When possible, point out other children wearing masks properly. Continue “practicing” mask-wearing, gradually lengthening the time they wear the mask and remembering to reinforce. Make sure that you always keep the activities and the conversation positive.

Ways to Prepare Your Child for School during the pandemic

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Life during the COVID-19 pandemic is difficult for parents and children alike. The return to school is an important and hopefully welcome step, but you and your children likely have many questions. Here’s the latest information on what to expect and how you can support your young student.

Every child is hesitant to go somewhere new, best friend,play mates and see people He/she’s never met before. Here are some helpful ways to prepare your child for his/her first day of school during the pandemic:

  1. Let your child know what his schedule will be like. Tell him what time school begins and ends each day and remind them about the pandemic once again.
  2. Parents ask the school Authorities this question  ”What steps has the school taken to help ensure the safety of students”?
  3. Teach them what social distance is all about according to WHO/UNICEF Guide line.
  4. Please buy a professional 3 layer disposable face mask for your kids, you can get one here
  5.  Buy hand sanitizer and teach them how to use it properly. 
  6. Parents remind them on how to wish their hand with soap and water regularly because the virus lives or can survive on a dirty surfaces, hand or cloth.
  7. Ask your child about his/her feelings — both the excitement and the concerns — about starting school.
  8. Visit the school with your child to see his new classroom and meet his new teacher before school officially starts to make sure it follows Covid-19 guide line
  9. Point out the positive aspects of starting school. It will be fun and she can make new friends by observing the NCDC/WHO guide. please take note this!!
  10. Let your child know that all kids are nervous about the first day of school especially after the pandemic. 
  11. Leave a note in your child’s lunchbox that will remind him you’re thinking of him while he’s at school.
  12. Reassure your child that if any problems arise at school, you will be there to help resolve them.
  13. Try to have your child meet a classmate before the first day of school so he/she will know their class mates are still alive. we are not enemies, Covid-19 will come and go. just believe!! please let try to reduce the Covid-19 stigma and observe the national and international guide line on Covid-19 prevention.
  14. Arrange for your child to walk to school or ride together on the bus with another kid in the neighborhood observing social distance.
  15. Your child should Avoid play activities for now, to reduce the spread!!
  16. Parents please remember to to dispose the face mask after school you can order as many as possible here
  17. Always wash their school uniforms, shoes and the rest daily and make sure it’s dry because the virus can’t survive hot conditions.
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What questions should I be asking my child’s teacher or school administrator?

During such a worrying and disruptive time, it’s natural to have a lot of questions. Some helpful ones you may want to ask include:

  1. What steps has the school taken to help ensure the safety of students?
  2. How will the school support the mental health of students and combat any stigma against people who have been sick?
  3. How will the school refer children who may need referrals for specialized support?
  4. Will any of the school’s safeguarding and bullying policies change once schools start to re-open?
  5. How can I support school safety efforts, including through parent-teacher committees or other networks.

Is it safe for my child to go back to school?

Schools should only be reopened when it is safe for students. Going back to school will likely look a little different from what you and your child were used to before. It’s possible that schools may reopen for a period of time and then a decision may be made to close them again temporarily, depending on the local context. Because of the evolving situation, authorities will need to be flexible and ready to adapt to ensure the safety of every child.

Even if leaders in your area have not yet decided to reopen schools, it’s crucial that they begin detailed planning now, to help ensure students, teachers and other staff are safe when they return and communities are confident in sending their students back to school.

What should I do if my child is struggling to get back into “school mode?”

Remember that your child will be dealing with the stress of the ongoing crisis differently from you. Create a supportive and nurturing environment and respond positively to questions and expressions of their feelings. Show support and let your child know that it’s not only okay, but normal, to feel frustrated or anxious at times like this.

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Help your children to stick to their routines and make learning playful by incorporating it into everyday activities like cooking, family reading time or games. Another option could be joining a parent or community group to connect with other parents who are going through the same experience to share tips and get support.

What should I do if my child has fallen behind?

Students around the world have shown just how much they want to keep learning. They have persisted with their lessons under difficult circumstances, with the support of their dedicated teachers and parents.

But many children will need extra support to catch up on their learning when schools reopen.

Many schools are making plans for catch-up lessons to help bring students back up to speed. This might include starting the year with refresher or remedial courses, after-school programmes or supplemental assignments to be done at home. Given the possibility that many schools may not open full time or for all grades, schools may implement ‘blended learning’ models, a mix of classroom instruction and remote education (self-study through take home exercises, radio, TV or online learning).

Give extra support to your child at home by creating a routine around school and schoolwork. This can help if they are feeling restless and having trouble focusing.

You may want to contact your child’s teacher or school to ask questions and stay informed. Be sure to let them know if your child is facing specific challenges, like grief over a family loss or heightened anxiety due to the pandemic.

Kindly drop you comment regarding the move to reopen schools for kids, our voice and mind can make a change to the world, let speak now!!

Depression in Young Children

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depression in Children

Depression in Young Children Is Treatable and ids more dangerous than Covid-19

Parent-child interactive therapy decreases depressive symptoms in kids.

Over the last decade, research has demonstrated that children as young as 3 years old can develop clinically serious depression. Often, depression is associated with other childhood psychiatric disorders. Young children with depression also have increased risks of clinically significant depression as adolescents and adults.

Although depressive disorders can be diagnosed in very young children, there is little empirical data to support specific therapies for this age group. In an article recently published in the American Journal of Psychiatry, Joan Luby and colleagues reported that a specific type of therapy targeting parent-child interactions is very effective at decreasing depressive symptoms in kids.

Young children have brains that are still developing and are more capable of forming new neural connections in response to external stimuli – a process termed neuroplasticity – than adults. Thus, early interventions may have better chances for success in young children. For example, when a child has a lazy eye, patching the good eye can force the weaker eye to get stronger, provided that this treatment is implemented when the child is young. As a child reaches early adolescence, the brain is less plastic and patching is no longer effective.

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Everything you need to know about washing your hands to protect against coronavirus (COVID-19)

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Respiratory viruses like coronavirus disease (COVID-19) spread when mucus or droplets containing the virus get into your body through your eyes, nose or throat. Most often, this happens through your hands. Hands are also one of the most common ways that the virus spreads from one person to the next.

During a global pandemic, one of the cheapest, easiest, and most important ways to prevent the spread of a virus is to wash your hands frequently with soap and water.

Here’s everything you need to know about how to wash your hands the right way:

1. How do I wash my hands properly?

To eliminate all traces of the virus on your hands, a quick scrub and a rinse won’t cut it. Below is a step-by-step process for effective hand washing.

  • Step 1: Wet hands with running water
  • Step 2: Apply enough soap to cover wet hands
  • Step 3: Scrub all surfaces of the hands – including back of hands, between fingers and under nails – for at least 20 seconds.
  • Step 4: Rinse thoroughly with running water
  • Step 5: Dry hands with a clean cloth or single-use towel
2. How long should I wash my hands for?

You should wash your hands for at least 20-30 seconds. An easy way to time it is by singing the full happy birthday song, twice.

The same goes for hand sanitizer: use a sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol and rub it into your hands for at least 20 seconds to ensure full coverage.

3. When should I wash my hands?

In the context of COVID-19 prevention, you should make sure to wash your hands at the following times:

  • After blowing your nose, coughing or sneezing
  • After visiting a public space, including public transportation, markets and places of worship
  • After touching surfaces outside of the home, including money
  • Before, during and after caring for a sick person
  • Before and after eating

In general, you should always wash your hands at the following times:

  • After using the toilet
  • Before and after eating
  • After handling garbage
  • After touching animals and pets
  • After changing babies’ diapers or helping children use the toilet
  • When your hands are visibly dirty
4. How can I help my child wash his or her hands?

Here are some ways you can help children wash their hands by making hand washing easier and fun for them:

5. Do I need to use warm water to wash my hands?

No, you can use any temperature of water to wash your hands. Cold water and warm water are equally effective at killing germs and viruses – as long as you use soap!

6. Do I need to dry my hands with a towel?

Germs spread more easily from wet skin than from dry skin, so drying your hands completely is an important step. Paper towels or clean cloths are the most effective way to remove germs without spreading them to other surfaces.

7. Which is better: washing your hands or using hand sanitizer?

In general, both hand washing with soap and water and hand sanitizer, when practiced/used correctly, are highly effective at killing most germs and pathogens. Hand sanitizer is often more convenient when you are outside of the home, but can be expensive or difficult to find in emergency contexts. Also, alcohol-based hand sanitizer kills the coronavirus, but it does not kill all kinds of bacteria and viruses. For example, it is relatively ineffective against the norovirus and rotavirus.

8. What if I don’t have soap?

Using chlorinated water or hand sanitizer that contains at least 60 per cent alcohol are the best second options if you do not have soap and running water. In cases where these are not available, using soapy water or ash may help remove bacteria, though not as effectively. If these methods are used, it is important to wash your hands as soon as possible when you do have access to handwashing facilities, and avoid contact with people and surfaces in the meantime.

9. How else can I help stop the spread of the coronavirus?
  • Use proper sneezing and coughing etiquette: Cover your mouth and nose with a flexed elbow or tissue when coughing or sneezing, dispose of used tissue immediately, and wash your hands
  • Avoid touching your face (mouth, nose, eyes)
  • Practice social distancing: Avoiding shaking hands, hugging or kissing people, sharing food, utensils, cups and towels
  • Avoid close contact with anyone who has cold or flu-like symptoms
  • Seek medical care early if you or your child has a fever, cough or difficulty breathing
  • Clean surfaces that might have come in touch with the virus, and generally clean surfaces more frequently (especially in public spaces)

For all of UNICEF’s guidance on COVID-19, click here.

Reviewed by: Stanley, B.sc, Dip.HSE, MPH

6 ways parents can support their kids through the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak

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A psychologist’s advice on how to help your children deal with the many emotions they may be experiencing now.

 

NOTE: Always visit: UNICEF COVID-19 portal for Covid-19 up dates

The coronavirus disease (COVID-19) brings with it feelings like anxiety, stress and uncertainty — and they are felt especially strongly by children of all ages. Though all children deal with such emotions in different ways, if your child has been faced with school closures, cancelled events or separation from friends, they are going to need to feel loved and supported now more than ever.

We spoke with expert adolescent psychologist, best-selling author, monthly New York Times columnist and mother of two Dr. Lisa Damour about how you can help create a sense of normalcy at home while navigating “the new (temporary) normal.”

1. Be calm and proactive

“Parents should have a calm, proactive conversation with their children about the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), and the important role children can play in keeping themselves healthy. Let them know that it is possible that [you or your children] might start to feel symptoms at some point, which are often very similar to the common cold or flu, and that they do not need to feel unduly frightened of this possibility,” recommends Dr. Damour. “Parents should encourage their kids to let them know if they’re not feeling well, or if they are feeling worried about the virus so that the parents can be of help.”

“Adults can empathize with the fact that children are feeling understandably nervous and worried about COVID-19. Reassure your children that illness due to COVID-19 infection is generally mild, especially for children and young adults,” she says. It’s also important to remember, that many of the symptoms of COVID-19 can be treated. “From there, we can remind them that there are many effective things we can do to keep ourselves and others safe and to feel in better control of our circumstances: frequently wash our hands, don’t touch our faces and engage in social distancing.”

“Another thing we can do is actually help them look outward. So to say to them, ‘Listen, I know you’re feeling really anxious about catching coronavirus, but part of why we’re asking you to do all these things — to wash your hands, to stay home — is that that’s also how we take care of members of our community. We think about the people around us, too.’”

2. Stick to a routine

Children need structure. Full stop. And what we’re all having to do, very quickly, is invent entirely new structures to get every one of us through our days,” says Dr. Damour. “I would strongly recommend that parents make sure that there’s a schedule for the day — that can include playtime where a kid can get on their phone and connect with their friends, but it also should have technology-free time and time set aside to help around the house. We need to think about what we value and we need to build a structure that reflects that. It will be a great relief to our kids to have a sense of a predictable day and a sense of when they’re supposed to be working and when they get to play.”

She suggests getting your children involved too. “For children 10 and 11 or older, I would ask the child to design it. Give them a sense of the kinds of things that should be included in their day, and then work with what they create.” When it comes to younger children, “depending on who is supervising them (I realize that not every parent is going to be home to do this) structure their day so that all of the things that need to get done before anything else happen: all of their schoolwork and all of their chores. For some families, doing that at the start of the day will work best for kids. Other families may find it may work okay to start the day a little bit later after sleeping in and enjoying breakfast together as a family.” For parents who are not able to supervise their children during the day, explore with your caretaker ways to create a structure that works best.

3. Let your child feel their emotions

With school closures come cancelled school plays, concerts, sports matches and activities that children are deeply disappointed about missing out on because of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19). Dr. Damour’s number one piece of advice is to let them be sad. In the scope of an adolescent’s life these are major losses. This is bigger for them than it is for us because we’re measuring it against our lifetime and experience. Support, expect and normalize that they are very sad and very frustrated about the losses they are mourning.” When in doubt, empathy and support are the way to go.

4. Check in with them about what they’re hearing

There is a lot of misinformation circulating about the coronavirus disease (COVID-19). “Find out what your child is hearing or what they think is true. It’s not enough to just tell your child accurate facts, because if they have picked up something that is inaccurate, if you don’t find out what they are thinking and directly address the misunderstanding, they may combine the new information you give them with the old information they have. Find out what your child already knows and start from there in terms of getting them on the right track.”

If they have questions you can’t answer, instead of guessing, use it as an opportunity to explore the answers together. Use websites of trusted organizations like UNICEF and the World Health Organization for sources of information.

Many children are facing bullying and abuse at school or online around the coronavirus disease (COVID-19). It’s important your children know that you’re always there for them should they experience bullying. “Activating bystanders is the best way to address any kind of bullying,” says Dr. Damour. “Kids who are targeted should not be expected to confront bullies; rather we should encourage them to turn to friends or adults for help and support.”

5. Create welcome distractions

When it comes to processing difficult emotions, “take your cues from your child, and really think a lot about balancing talking about feelings with finding distractions, and allow distractions when kids need relief from feeling very upset.” Have a family game night every few days or cook meals together. Dr. Damour is using dinner time to connect with her daughters. “We’ve decided that we are going to have a dinner team every night. We mix it up in pairs, so we rotate who is in charge of making dinner for the family.”

With teens and their screens, allow for some leeway, but not a free-for-all. Dr. Damour advises to be up front with your teenager and say that you understand they have more time on their hands, but that it’s not going to be a good idea to have unfettered access to screens or social media. “Ask your teen, ‘how should we handle this? Come up with a structure and show me the structure that you’re thinking about, and then I’ll let you know what I think.’”

6. Monitor your own behaviour

“Parents of course are anxious too and our kids will take emotional cues from us,” explains Dr. Damour. “I would ask parents to do what they can to manage their anxiety in their own time and to not overshare their fears with their children. That may mean containing emotions, which may be hard at times, especially if they’re feeling those emotions pretty intensely.”

Children rely on their parents to provide a sense of safety and security.  “[It’s important that] we remember that they are the passengers in this and we are driving the car. And so even if we’re feeling anxious, we can’t let that get in the way of them feeling like safe passengers.”

Reviewed by: Stanley chinedu Eneh, Bsc, Dip.HSE, MPH

Weekly meal plan for your children as they resume School

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Young toddler boy eating messy pasta
Once schools have resumed after a long break of corona pandemic and to some mothers, it is good news on one side and not too pleasant on the other hand. The thought of waking up very early in the morning to think of what to prepare for the children to take to school can be worrisome.
You are expected as a woman to be organized and also make the food attractive to them before they can eat it.
Take these few nuggets before we make the food time table for a week
Nugget 1: You don’t need to wait till the morning before thinking of what to cook, you will wear yourself out
Nugget 2: pre-plan what you want to give them to school
Nugget 3: don’t allow your children to dictate for you. If you allow them, you will only see that they are mentioning food that will sap your energy
Nugget 4: Be organized, don’t be disorderly. Orderliness will make your work easy and in no time you are done cooking
Nugget 5: Always bear in mind that you don’t really need much to make a healthy meal
Nugget 6: prepare for tomorrow today. By this I mean, for those things that you can arrange before the next day, like washing their lunch boxes, arranging their socks, shoes or sandal and put in a safe place. This will simplify your work the next day
Now, to the main thing; here is a food timetable for your children
Monday: apple, white rice with diced carrot and stew with boiled egg or beef
Tuesday: watermelon, boiled sweet potatoes and fish stew
Wednesday: pineapple, vegetable mix spaghetti with fish stew or Jollof spaghetti
Thursday: apple, boiled yam with garden egg stew
Friday: pineapple, vegetable pottage with fish stew
That is just it and the week ends on a good note. For the fruits, you can make do with what you have available and for the food, make it interesting and not boring. You can tweak the following week and add other delicacies to it.
Cheers to a super you as you try these out.

School Lunches

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You’re sitting in class and your stomach is starting to rumble. Finally, the bell rings and it’s time for lunch — woo-hoo! After all that time in class, you deserve a chance to head to the cafeteria and sit down, relax, and enjoy the company of your friends over a lunchtime meal.

But wait a minute — what exactly are you eating?

More than at other meals, kids have a lot of control over what they eat for lunch at school. A kid can choose to eat the green beans or throw them out. A kid also can choose to eat an apple instead of an ice cream sandwich.

When choosing what to eat for lunch, making a healthy choice is really important. Here’s why: Eating a variety of healthy foods gives you energy to do stuff, helps you grow the way you should, and can even keep you from getting sick.

Think of your school lunch as the fuel you put in your tank. If you choose the wrong kind of fuel, you might run out of energy before the day is over.

So what is the right kind of fuel? What does a healthy lunch look like? Unlike that killer question on your math test, there are many right answers to these questions.

To Buy or Not to Buy

Most kids have the choice of packing lunch or buying one at school. The good news is that a kid can get a healthy lunch by doing either one. But it’s not a slam-dunk. Chances are, some meals and foods served in the school cafeteria are healthier than others.

That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t buy your lunch, it just means you might want to give the cafeteria menu a closer look. Read the cafeteria menu the night before. Knowing what’s for lunch beforehand will let you know if you want to eat it! Bring home a copy of the menu or figure out how to find it on the school website.

A packed lunch isn’t automatically healthier than one you buy at school. If you pack chocolate cake and potato chips, that’s not a nutritious meal! But a packed lunch, if you do it right, does have a clear advantage. When you pack your lunch, you can be sure it includes your favorite healthy foods — stuff you know you like. It’s not a one-size-fits-all lunch. It’s a lunch just for you. If your favorite sandwich is peanut butter and banana, just make it and pack it — then you can eat it for lunch. Or maybe you love olives. Go ahead and pack them!

If you want to pack your lunch, you’ll need some help from your parents. Talk to them about what you like to eat in your lunch so they can stock up on those foods. Parents might offer to pack your lunch for you. This is nice of them, but you may want to watch how they do it and ask if you can start making your lunches yourself. It’s a way to show that you’re growing up.

10 Steps to a Great Lunch

Whether you pack or buy your lunch, follow these guidelines:

  1. Choose fruits and vegetables. Fruits and vegetables are like hitting the jackpot when it comes to nutrition. They make your plate more colorful and they’re packed with vitamins and fiber. It’s a good idea to eat at least five servings of fruits and vegetables every day, so try to fit in one or two at lunch. A serving isn’t a lot. A serving of carrots is ½ cup or about 6 baby carrots. A fruit serving could be one medium orange.
  2. Know the facts about fat. Kids need some fat in their diets to stay healthy — it also helps keep you feeling full — but you don’t want to eat too much of it. Fat is found in butter, oils, cheese, nuts, and meats. Some higher-fat lunch foods include french fries, hot dogs, cheeseburgers, macaroni and cheese, and chicken nuggets. Don’t worry if you like these foods! No food is bad, but you may want to eat them less often and in smaller portions. Foods that are lower in fat are usually baked or grilled. Some of the best low-fat foods are fruits, vegetables, and skim and low-fat milk.
  3. Let whole grains reign. “Grains” include breads, cereals, rice, and pasta. But as we learn more about good nutrition, it’s clear that whole grains are better than refined grains. What’s the difference? Brown rice is a whole grain, but white rice is not. Likewise, whole-wheat bread contains whole grains, whereas regular white bread does not.
  4. Slurp sensibly. It’s not just about what you eat — drinks count, too! Milk has been a favorite lunchtime drink for a long time. If you don’t like milk, choose water. Avoid juice drinks and sodas.
  5. Balance your lunch. When people talk about balanced meals, they mean meals that include a mix of food groups: some grains, some fruits, some vegetables, some meat or protein foods, and some dairy foods such as milk and cheese. Try to do this with your lunch. If you don’t have a variety of foods on your plate, it’s probably not balanced. A double order of french fries, for example, would not make for a balanced lunch.
  6. Steer clear of packaged snacks. Many schools make salty snacks, candy, and soda available in the cafeteria or in vending machines. It’s OK to have these foods once in a while, but they shouldn’t be on your lunch menu.
  7. Mix it up. Do you eat the same lunch every day? If that lunch is a hot dog, it’s time to change your routine. Keep your taste buds from getting bored and try something new. Eating lots of different kinds of food gives your body a variety of nutrients.
  8. Quit the clean plate club. Because lunch can be a busy time, you might not stop to think whether you’re getting full. Try to listen to what your body is telling you. If you feel full, it’s OK to stop eating.
  9. Use your manners. Cafeterias sometimes look like feeding time at the zoo. Don’t be an animal! Follow those simple rules your parents are always reminding you about: Chew with your mouth closed. Don’t talk and eat at the same time. Use your utensils. Put your napkin on your lap. Be polite. And don’t make fun of what someone else is eating.
  10. Don’t drink milk and laugh at the same time! Whatever you do at lunch, don’t tell your friends a funny joke when they’re drinking milk. Before you know it, they’ll be laughing and that milk will be coming out their noses! Gross!

Be a Fit Kid

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There’s a lot of talk these days about fit kids. People who care (parents, doctors, teachers, and others) want to know how to help kids be more fit.

 

Being fit is a way of saying a person eats well, gets a lot of physical activity (exercise), and has a healthy weight. If you’re fit, your body works well, feels good, and can do all the things you want to do, like run around with your friends.

Some parts of this are up to parents — such as serving healthy meals or deciding to take the family on a nature hike. But kids can take charge too when it comes to their health.

Here are five rules to live by, if you’re a kid who wants to be fit. The trick is to follow these rules most of the time, knowing that some days (like your birthday) might call for cake and ice cream.

1. Eat a Variety of Foods

You may have a favorite food, but the best choice is to eat a variety. If you eat different foods, you’re more likely to get the nutrients your body needs. Taste new foods and old ones you haven’t tried for a while. Some foods, such as green veggies, may taste better the older you get. Shoot for at least five servings of fruits and vegetables a day — two fruits and three vegetables.

Here’s one combination that might work for you:

  • at breakfast: ½ cup (about 4 large) strawberries on your cereal
  • with lunch: 6 baby carrots
  • for a snack: an apple
  • with dinner: ½ cup broccoli (about 2 big spears) and 1 cup of salad

2. Drink Water & Milk

When you’re really thirsty, cold water is the best thirst-quencher. And there’s a reason your school cafeteria offers cartons of milk. Kids need calcium to build strong bones, and milk is a great source of this mineral. How much do kids need? If you are 4 to 8 years old, drink 2½ cups of milk a day, or its equivalent. If you’re 9 or older, aim for 3 cups of milk per day, or its equivalent. You can mix it up by having milk and some other calcium-rich dairy foods. Here’s one combination:

  • 2 cups (about half a liter) of low-fat or nonfat milk
  • 1 slice cheddar cheese
  • ½ cup (small container) of yogurt

If you want something other than milk or water once in a while, it’s OK to have 100% juice. But try to limit juice to no more than 1 serving (6 to 8 ounces) a day. Avoid sugary drinks, like sodas, juice cocktails, and fruit punches. They contain a lot of added sugar. Sugar just adds calories, not important nutrients.

3. Listen to Your Body

What does it feel like to be full? When you’re eating, notice how your body feels and when your stomach feels comfortably full. Sometimes, people eat too much because they don’t notice when they need to stop eating. Eating too much can make you feel uncomfortable and can lead to unhealthy weight gain.

4. Limit Screen Time

What’s screen time? It’s the amount of time you spend watching TV or DVDs, playing video games (console systems or handheld games), and using a smart phone, tablet, or computer. The more time you spend on these sitting-down activities, the less time you have for active stuff, like basketball, bike riding, and swimming. Try to spend no more than 2 hours a day on screen time, not counting computer use related to school and educational activities.

5. Be Active

One job you have as a kid — and it’s a fun one — is that you get to figure out which activities you like best. Not everyone loves baseball or soccer. Maybe your passion is karate, or kickball, or dancing. Ask your parents to help you do your favorite activities regularly. Find ways to be active every day. You might even write down a list of fun stuff to do, so you can use it when your mom or dad says it’s time to stop watching TV or playing computer games!

Speaking of parents, they can be a big help if you want to be a fit kid. For instance, they can stock the house with healthy foods and plan physical activities for the family. Tell your parents about these five steps you want to take and maybe you can teach them a thing or two. If you’re a fit kid, why shouldn’t you have a fit mom and a fit dad?

 

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